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The DNA of Relationships

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  583 ratings  ·  61 reviews
"Life is relationships; the rest is just details." We are designed for relationships, yet they often bring us pain. In this paradigm-shifting book, Gary Smalley unravels the DNA of relationships: we are made for three great relationships--with God, others, and ourselves--and all relationships involve choice. Gary exposes a destructive relationship dance that characterizes ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published September 24th 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published 2004)
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Jan 13, 2012 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book was highly recommended to me and it did not disappoint! We were created for relationships, so I believe it is essential for us to come to a better understanding of how to deal with others and oneself. This book offers so much great information....I was highlighting on every other page.

"Will you choose to act in ways that hinder or enhance your relationships? The choice you make will affect everything about your life."

"But when I remain trustworthy to myself, I can afford to give other
Alyssa Lane
Not impressed. I got to the middle of chapter 2 and actually *gasp* don't want to keep reading. And I always finish books, even crappy ones. I have no issue with God or Christian viewed books.. But this was overkill. "God" is mentioned at least 5 times per page. And there's no science. No DNA. Not even backing any pseudo science studies. Just this guy and his son's/partner's opinions off a workshop they do.. For Christian people. My boss wanted me to read this book.. And I tried. But I just can' ...more
I just finished listening to this book as an audio book. I am always searching for ways to be a better communicator, better friend and family member and most of all the best wife I can be. The book has alot of good information to make the reader understand their communication styles and the communication styles of others. There were many instances while listening to this book that I thought, " I do that", or "I know someone who behaves that way." The biggest thing I took away was realizing that ...more
I was first introduced to this book in a Sunday school class for women. Although not overtly Christian (with lots of Bible verses, etc. tossed out to justify the author's viewpoint), this book presents a lot of information that reinforces scripture. Most useful is the explanation of how we frequently engage in what Dr. Smalley calls the "fear dance"--reacting to one another's actions and words, based on how we perceive that they touch on our deepest anxieties about our relationships. Included in ...more
This book had some really, really great techniques and tools for couples trying to work on their communication skills. (Actually, it would be good for anyone trying to work on communication skills with people in general, not just as part of a couple.)

The reason I only gave it 3 stars is because, for me, the religious aspect of this book is kind of useless. I'm not a religious person, so the parts about "turning the issue over to God" and "praying about the problem together" really didn't apply t
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Loved this book!!! Helped me learn that even though we can't always choose the people we have in our lives, we can choose how to have them participate in our lives. A lesson I needed to learn for a very long time.
Even though the author is doing a bit of self-promotion for his marriage counseling and other services, this book contains lots of practical advice about relationships of all sorts. While the author approaches the topic through a Christian lens and occasionally goes into details about one's relationship to God, it wasn't preachy or proselytizing. The Bible scriptures cited were, for the most part, relevant to the discussion and not overreaching in their interpretations. The most important lesson ...more
Fair warning, it's a God book. That being said, even though I am not religous and receievd plenty of fair warning about the religious references I wanted to read it. So aside from all the God references, the basic premises of how to actually be successful in a relationship is very valid and quite timely. In such a self cenetered time that we live in, it is too easy to always expect others to meet our needs to please us, or to let them walk all over us to prove how worthy we are for their love... ...more
Not sure yet, but I like it so far. It addresses how, in our relationships, we end up in a pattern of negative behaviors based on fear. Gary Smalley takes up relationships from a christian perspective, but you definitely don't have to be christian to appreciate the information regarding patterns and how to recognize and break them. I haven't read it all, but I appreciate the appendices which walk you step-by-step through identifying your fears, etc. Smalley also suggests that you have power over ...more
Sameh Yassin
A good book for defining problems between couples. I liked it, it is very simple to be understood, and based on real stories.
So far, this book has been very helpful. I was skeptical, because Mike Huckabee is one of those critically acclaiming this book, and the author is very well-liked in evangelical circles. In fact, this author probably wouldn't appreciate the venue in which I am reading and studying the book -- at my MCC church. Our group is facilitated by, and we are being taught the material in the book by our transgendered (female to male) pastor. He is an incredibly intelligent and wise person, IMO, so I trust ...more
Karen Stock
i liked this book. i have read lots of books on relationships but this one helps you to identify what you are really fighting about. For example it is NEVER about the socks on the floor. Each of us have core fears or buttons and those get pushed and we jump into our dance as they refer to it.

My husband being a mans man did not like to admit he has a :FEAR: so I had to reword it for him. When I rephrased it we were on our way to working on the lessons etc together.

This book is not just for couple
Melissa Bowersock
This book makes some very interesting points and does actually do a good job of digging underneath relationship problems to get to the core issues. The only thing I found annoying was the taken-for-granted premise that we all believed in a christian god and bible and the use of those beliefs as foundation for the process. I think readers (at least this reader) would be better served if the religious analogies were kept less specific so anyone of any belief system could overlay the blueprint onto ...more
Lysha Why (blairwaldork)
I struggled to finish this because it was exactly what I disliked about self-help books - it went in circles. But here was my motivation (aside from it being a reading assignment from my dad), and I quote:

"Change can begin [in this country] when we start to understand God's blueprint for interpersonal connections, the DNA of relationships. When we consistently apply these principles, our relationships will begin to heal, grow strong, and become truly satisfying." "Life is relationships. The res
Dan Oleary
Jan 29, 2014 Dan Oleary added it
Shelves: read-books
awesome book! it was easy to see the ideas in this book played out in my own relationship. it has helped me see where I had gone wrong and how I could do better next time, and helped me get closer and have better results in my relationships!
I am on page 91 of this book and I happened to see him on tv and was intrigued by what he had learned in his life from his children. They are a father and two sons and all are in the relationship, counseling profession. If a 60 something man can learn new things I thought it would be helpful to read and grow as well. I am challenged by his perspective and hope I can apply some of these new truths.

I think I should read this one every year. I like how at the end of each chapter, he summarizes the
Emi Keiser
A great read
Good book for healthy marriage first, but relationships in general. Some of it is common sense (maybe depending on your upbringing) For me the best and/or most helpful sections were on taking responsibility for yourself and respecting the walls that people put up. I find myself being the one trying to break through peoples' walls, without considering that they have it up for a reason. If they want the wall, you can only offer good relationships. Ultimately they have to decide they don't want to ...more
This book was a blessing. I chose it to read the book along with workbook and the DVD for a singles group. Typically it would be used for married couples but I found so much information is needed to discuss and know before one marries. Myself and others found the DNA of Relationships to be one to keep as a life guide. During the time of reading several others including myself were able to use it to work through current relationship issues with parents, friends and co-workers. A very good read.
Karen Fonville
I read this in a Bible study, with the dvds. It has changed how I look at my relationships, part of how God has been dealing with me. Dr. Smalley and his son, both relationship experts, share with humor and insight about how they came to realize that they also had problems even in their good relationships, and what it took to improve them. This book covers family relationships as well as marital relationships, and can be applied to work and social relationships, as well.
Kathryn Jones
I am looking at all my reviews and I always say the same thing. I almost always give the book 4 or 5 stars. I guess I am just not that hard to please. Seriously though, if I don't like the book, I just don't bother to finish it.

I loved this book. It was so easy to read, but filled with profound wisdom that can only come from God. I would recommend this book to everyone! If you want to know how to have healthy relationships, read this book!
Kevin Cullis
I wish I had read his years ago, I could have shortened the years I have learned on my own. EXCELLENT!!
Jo Ann Mooneyham
Most beneficial for married folks!
This book is a must read for humans. At the end of the day, it's simple, common sense. However, common sense is not common practice, and the dysfunction of our relationships is rooted in the inability to recognize and/or execute common sense principles.

My wife and I have been blessed to sit under this teaching with Dr. Shaun Stoever, who used to work with Dr. Greg Smalley at the Marriage Institute. Excellent stuff.
Crystal Swafford
Great relationship help

I disliked the author's tone: it was sexist and condescending at times. Despite this, it was an easy read and immediately helpful. Even reading one chapter at a time, it was easy to apply. The principles were helpful, particularly in identifying nuisance arguments and nipping them in the bud. Overall, I would recommend this to everyone who wants to improve a relationship.
Melissa J. Grom, MA
WOW!! My personal perspective of relationships sure has changed. This book was easy to read, as well as, easy to follow. I have a much better understanding of waltzing to the fear dance. I enjoyed Dr. Gary Smalley's inclusion of real examples from his family of origin. I recommend this book to everyone .... single, married, or divorced ... This book has been one of the best I have read on relationships!!
Jeffrey logan
man this comes in handy if youre having a boo boo stage in a relationship. this taught me the vicious repetitive negative habits that couples get into. next time youre shopping depressed cuz your boo made an ouchy... grab this book and gain some understanding and light. sheesh. dont gain that extra 5 pounds from stuffing ur face with ice cream and sex in the city. read something helpful damnit!
Well, this book was written before Smalley's "Change Your Heart, Change Your Life." In that book Smaley basically says that he didnt know much about relationships until God broke through to him with the ideas & Truth he shares in the book "Change Your Heart, Change Your Life." SO -- it makes all his previous works hard to read since he discounts them himself!
Michelle Brown
I think it is a good book - the premise is to improve all your relationships, but it does spend a fair amount of time discussing marital relationships. In fact, it takes a while of reading to get to the point that all relationships are involved, not just marital. It is a pretty easy read with relatable examples.
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“when they look to God for their fulfillment, it takes the pressure off of their spouses, children, and friends to fulfill them.” 1 likes
“In a relationship I can influence—but not control—the thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behavior of another.” 0 likes
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