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The DNA of Relationships

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  735 Ratings  ·  68 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 ne ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published September 24th 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published 2004)
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Alyssa Lane
Mar 08, 2016 Alyssa Lane rated it did not like it
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
Jan 13, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 16, 2016 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was selected by accident but after reading it, I highly doubt it was an accident. I was planning to read another book but it is currently not in print, so I searched and thought I would try this one. Wow! I didn't expect it to do what it did. I have never really had a book that could penetrate the deeply protected wounded areas of my heart. We protect our wounds for a reason- to prevent us from experiencing more pain. The problem is, by not exposing them to be properly treated, we in t ...more
I didn't know that the focus of this book was God. And it threw me off when trying to read it. Some of the stories were interesting and held my attention. But when you keep bring God into the picture, nope...I don't want to read it.
Jun 18, 2012 Tamara rated it really liked it
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
Mar 28, 2011 Honeybee rated it really liked it
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
Steve Lee Sr
May 20, 2016 Steve Lee Sr rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I have often credited Dr. Smalley's book, "What I Wish He Knew" with saving my second marriage; and, indeed, it did help extend it for almost another 30 years. Looking back, I'm not sure if that was a good thing or whether I just delayed the inevitable. But, here I am and what's done is done and time to move on.

Though I viewed this book favorably and think it had some good information, a month removed from finishing it, I can't remember anything. Maybe I'm just getting old.
Feb 12, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
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
Sep 28, 2014 Tyler rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian Mitchell
The core fear section of the book is revolutionary. It helps to really consider ones actions throughout the day. It's focus on the importance of relationships is also refreshing and perspective changing. The rest of it is the 7 habits of highly effective people.
Peter Pike
May 28, 2016 Peter Pike rated it it was amazing
Excellent tips and sage advice. Some of it is stuff you "already know" but didn't apply, but the majority of it is a fresh way of looking at what's gone wrong in the relationships you've had, as well as how to fix it.
May 13, 2014 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 18, 2012 Paul rated it liked it
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
Jan 29, 2016 Sarabeara rated it really liked it
Fantastic book about relating with others and how we do what Gary calls the "Fear Dance" in our relationships and how to break the pattern. Excellent resource for all relationships :)
Apr 06, 2011 Marissa rated it really liked it
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
Jan 12, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
James Aaron Lindsey
Jan 15, 2016 James Aaron Lindsey rated it it was amazing
As always, Dr. Smalley offers real, working advice on relationships. The "No Losers" policy alone is worth the price of this book.
Sameh Yassin
Aug 22, 2014 Sameh Yassin rated it liked it
A good book for defining problems between couples. I liked it, it is very simple to be understood, and based on real stories.
Karen Stock
Sep 21, 2011 Karen Stock rated it really liked it
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
Oct 11, 2011 Melissa Bowersock rated it really liked it
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!
Mar 02, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it
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
Jan 02, 2015 Emi Keiser rated it really liked it
Shelves: life
A great read
Aug 02, 2013 Markus rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 17, 2009 Ronda rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 19, 2011 Karen Fonville rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 13, 2010 Kathryn Jones rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 01, 2015 Kevin Cullis rated it it was amazing
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!
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“You have to take control of your life, stop being a victim of your past, and start moving on to something new. You have to make a choice. You have to change. Even when the change is scary.” 1 likes
“It doesn’t matter what others do to me or what circumstances I face every day, I determine all of my feelings, sad or happy, by what I choose to think and how I choose to react to what happens to me. I love that freedom.” 1 likes
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