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The DNA of Relationships Hardcover – September 24, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gary Smalley is one of the country's best known authors and speakers on family relationships. He is the author and co-author of 16 best-selling, award-winning books along with several popular films and videos. He has spent over 30 years learning, teaching, and counseling. Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 40 years and live in Branson, Missouri. They have three children, Kari, Greg and Michael, and six grandchildren.

Dr. Greg Smalley is President of Smalley Marriage Institute, a marriage and family ministry located in Branson, Missouri.

Michael Smalley earned a Master's Degree in clinical psychology from Wheaton College and a B.A. in Journalism and Photography from Baylor University.

From AudioFile

A religious teacher and author of more than forty books uses social science methods to understand what helps married couples handle conflict effectively. He notes that unproductive communication has a pattern that married couples repeat as a matter of habit. Once individuals recognize their contribution to the pattern, they can choose to communicate at a higher level and with more love and commitment. The author's insights show how faulty values, needs, and communication styles repeat themselves in our relationships, disappointing us with the same unsatisfying results again and again. The smugness in this writing--found too often in Christian relationship advice--is almost imperceptible in Chris Fabry's upbeat reading. T.W. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; X-Library - Book Club edition (September 24, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0842355308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0842355308
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The Smalleys are changing the landscape of relationships in America with straight forward and no nonsense advice. Michael and Amy's message is inspiring, motivating, and challenging people to thrive in their most important relationships. Michael and Amy both earned a Master's Degree in clinical psychology from Wheaton College in Chicago, Illinois.

For the past ten years they have spoken live to millions of people around the world. They teach with entertaining stories and illustrations to allow their audiences to enjoy their time and learn through laughter.

Michael is currently the marriage and family director at their hometown church in The Woodlands, TX. Michael and Amy are also starting a new center in The Woodlands called The Smalley Marriage and Family Center that will provide local pastoral counseling, special intensive retreats, and training for professionals and lay-people.

Michael and Amy have authored or coauthored relationship advice books like Communicating with Your Teen, the Men's Relational Toolbox, and Don't Date Naked.

They have three children, Cole, Reagan, and David. They have been married for 11 years.

Customer Reviews

Very helpful information.
He calls the most destructive pattern the fear dance.
C. Stephans
I loved the book, it was helpful to my relationships.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 110 people found the following review helpful By C. Stephans VINE VOICE on December 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In The DNA of Relationships, Christian author and seminar leader Dr. Gary Smalley offers solutions to some of the key problems that couples face in their marriages. He offers his book as a response to the high rate of failure among marriages in North America. He notes that the divorce rate among Christians equals that of non-Christians.

Although Dr. Gary Smalley authors the book, he draws on the expertise, lessons and experience of his family and associates that are involved in the Smalley Marriage Institute and Smalley Relationship Center. His sons, Michael and Dr. Greg Smalley, along with associate Robert Paul, contribute heavily to the substance of the book. The wisdom learned about marriages from marriage seminars called Marriage Intensives conducted by the Smalley Marriage Institute provide the foundation for the themes of the book.

Dr. Smalley claims that certain recurring patterns in marriages undermine the quality of the relationship and can devastate the marriage. He calls the most destructive pattern the fear dance. Dr. Smalley writes that this is a destructive dance that couples routinely act out due to core fears influencing their actions. Identifying and eliminating the fear dance becomes a primary goal for couples.

Another lesson that Dr. Smalley teaches is that the apparent problem for couples is rarely the real problem. He advises couples to look beyond the surface and the arguments to the feelings behind the words. This is a process that he suggests will contribute to better communications and fewer arguments between spouses.

Readers will learn what Dr. Smalley calls the "power of one.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Shephard on September 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I thought this would be a really stupid marriage book when our church started this study (and I'm single so I didn't want a stupid marriage study), but I have really enjoyed the videos, the book, and the downloadable study guide. I decided to take the study seriously and discovered this book is a practical guide to how to make ANY relationship better. The review at the end of each chapter is a quick way to refresh your mind on the main points of what the previous chapter taught.

The quiz at the end of the book is great and helps you to identify your core fears - what sets you off in what Smalley calls the "Fear Dance," when you have conflicts with others. Each conflict boils down to one of two core fears - fear of loss of connection, or fear of loss of control. Women usually have the first fear, and men the second, though there is overlap. ALL fears we have boil down to one of these two.

I have learned that I need to take responsibility for my buttons and allowing people to push them (the chapter "The Power of One"). No one can make me do or feel anything.

This book has also forced me to take a hard look at myself and how I treat others, and whether I have created an environment where they feel safe to share their heart with me.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By on December 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
By virtue of his many books, videos and speaking engagements, Gary Smalley has gained a nationwide reputation as a "relationship expert."

Early on in this latest book, he explains its title. We are all created with a certain "relationship DNA code . . . made up of three simple yet profound strands: 1. You are made for relationships. 2. You are made with the capacity to choose. 3. You are made to take responsibility for yourself."

But the book quickly moves to a different metaphor, of a relational dance in which one's steps or moves are predicated by one's fears. The anecdote introducing this metaphor is about husband and wife "Dan and Celeste." Precariously unemployed Dan has just received an out-of-state job offer, but Celeste vehemently resists moving away from her friends and extended family. The "surface problem" or conflict is about whether they stay or go. But "the external problem is rarely the real problem." Rather, conflicts are usually rooted in core fears: for women, usually some variation of fear of disconnection; for men, "of helplessness or feeling controlled."

The rest of the book explains how to "break the rhythm of the Fear Dance" by taking responsibility for oneself and learning "new dance steps." Though the strategies apply to any close relationship, the major intent is improving marital dynamics.

Like Smalley's previous books, THE DNA OF RELATIONSHIPS is engaging, largely because he sprinkles his teaching points with anecdotes in which he presents himself as the jerk who has taken years to learn lessons he wants to pass along; the "relationship expert" is just a regular guy.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Melissa on August 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The book is easy to read, and the exercises really make you think. My ex and I are going through this book with our pastor to see if there's any hope of reconciling and so far it's helped us realize all the things we did wrong in our marriage and why. It's helping us to take the focus off who's to blame and refocusing on what's the right thing to do. We're about 2/3 of the way through the book so we haven't finished it yet, but I expect the rest of it will be as helpful as what we've already covered. I'd recommend this book for anyone considering a serious relationship, in the middle of a relationship, or trying to rebuild one. It does a good job of covering them all.
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