Toothpaste rollers grate their teeth at the mid-tube squeezers. Confrontational people chase the withdrawn away. We self-protect, only to cause more harm in the end. Fear and conflict weave barbs into interpersonal dynamics throughout the world. It’s amazing relationships have not dwindled to extinction altogether.
Yet, even prisoners balk at solitary confinement, preferring the company of other inmates to isolation. Loneliness has been blamed for insanity in such cases as the prairie madness epidemic of the late 1800’s. The lack of human nurturing in the early months of an infant’s life can prove fatal.
I believe an inborn drive sustains our continued pursuit of friendship and marriage. Community has not vanished due to a fundamental human need for fellowship. We’re created for relationship.
While we need to connect, the process bewilders us. How does this work? Is there hope for relating to others well?
This week, I’m recommending two of my favorite books on relationships. The authors are, in fact, related. Dr. Gary Smalley authored a general book entitled The DNA of Relationships. This ‘parent’ edition covers a gamut of interpersonal dynamics, addressing how to optimize relationships with friends,coworkers, and family members. Dr. Smalley’s son, Dr. Greg Smalley, co-authored a niche book with his business partner, Dr. Robert Paul. Smalley and Paul’s DNA of Relationships for Couples examines the typical and effective dynamics in marital relationships. Dr. Paul contributes techniques used successfully in his work with couples at The National Institute of Marriage, where Dr. Greg Smalley served as a board member.
Interested in smoothing the rough edges of your interpersonal life? Check out one or both of these practical guides, and let me know what you think. I look forward to reading your comments.