Dr. Gary Smalley, founder of the Smalley Relationship Center, has been counseling families and teaching about relationships for more than thirty years. He is the author and co-author of more than twenty books. In his thirty years of ministry, Gary has spoken to more than two million people in conferences and has appeared on several national television and radio programs.

Gary it’s good to talk again. What’s new in Branson Missouri?

It’s great! Actually, we’re right in the middle of a five couple, four day Marriage Intensive that my oldest son (Greg) is leading. I’m in a supporting role and it’s an amazing experience watching him in action and seeing couples turn around.

Gary about a year-and-a-half ago, something happened that changed your life.

Yes, my youngest son gave me one of his kidneys. While the transplant provided great physical benefits, I experienced a spiritual revival in my life. Almost two years later I’m still riding on that high.

I learned how to manage stress and not give that stuff — finances, people, traffic, schedule, career — permission to control my emotions. I feel I am 95% in charge of my emotions and actions. Before I allowed these circumstances to manage my life, and I’m a different person now. I’m thrilled to be alive.

And your latest book, The DNA of Relationships, is a passionate project.

In the DNA of our fibers, God designed us to be in relationship.

The essence of the book is six things my son teaches in the four day Intensives, six basic truths, that turns couples from hating each other on Monday to loving by Thursday.

Applying these concepts, we kept seeing these couples change so rapidly and instantly, that we recognized there must be a connection to what God is teaching us

One of the primary reasons couples escalate conflict is that we tend to operate from a core fear with other people; we address that concept in Chapter three.

When I think of my marriage today compared to just a couple years ago, my wife and I don’t escalate anymore. I have a wife who disagrees about everything and has for the last forty years. Think about the joy I have today — I win every argument because I help her win when I’m winning, and she helps me win when she’s winning. (laughs)

Whether we’re having a two-minute argument or a two-day argument, because we have a ‘no loser’ policy in our home, these discussions are more pleasant and productive.

Our brain has a section that from birth is wired to connect with humans on an emotionally satisfying basis. Unless a person is so damaged and wounded, everyone has a hunger to have relationship

I love the section about ‘new dance steps’…

You can’t change other people. When a person understands that, accepts it and lives it, it is a freeing experience. The only person you can change is yourself. You need to work on me and only me.

Many couples don’t understand they’re locked in to the same argument, over-and-over again, sometimes for twenty or thirty years. Most people don’t know they’re arguing because of a core fear and not the conflict issue.

No one understands why they are stuck or discouraged. It’s no wonder there is such a high percentage of divorce. They lose hope after a while.

For thirty-eight years I tried to influence how my wife ate and exercised. Thirty-eight years should be proof to me that it’s a wasted effort. Two years ago I stopped trying to change her and began on changing me. Guess what my wife is doing today?

She has two pedometers, she walks every day, she’s losing weight, eating great. She would have never done that stuff. I’ve found that people are most influenced when you get off their case and you change yourself.

I love life and I’m thrilled with that empowerment.

Read more from Gary at www.dnaofrelationships.com

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