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Hello.  I wanted to share with you a recent book review by Bettie Corbin Tucker from Independent Book Reviewers.  To view the review online please visit the following link:

“Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage” Book Review


If you would like to pick up a copy of the book you can get it for a 20% discount at the following link:

20% Discount on Book


Equality
The Quest for the Happy Marriage
Tim Kellis
Gilgamesh Publishing
ISBN:  978-0-9799848-0-8
440 pages 

When I began reading Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage, by Tim Kellis, I expected to read a typical counseling book such as those that fill the shelves of bookstores. Most of these are written by experts in the field of counseling who have degrees in psychology, psychiatry, or pastoral ministries.  I was totally wrong in regard to the word “typical.”  This book delves deep into the mind, reminding readers of historical happenings, successful businesses, politics, education, religion, family backgrounds, and the scientific work of many individuals, all which, according to the author’s findings, can unlock some of the mysteries as to what is behind the 50 percent divorce rate among couples who promised to love one another “for better or worse.” 

Although written for couples, this is also a self-help book for individuals who may find answers as to why happiness has always seemed to elude them. The author stresses that individuals must be happy within themselves before they can be happy in a relationship.    It is not a book to be read in one setting since it is scholarly, philosophical and informative—a book that needs to be studied with an open, fervent mind.  Much of the book is autobiographical as Mr. Kellis describes his early home life, education, successful career, various dating experiences and finally what happened when he met Suzanne who captured his heart—someone he truly believed that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.  At first the relationship was wonderful…it was beautiful…it was exciting…it was passionate…it was everything they both wanted.  Tim and Suzanne got engaged, fought, went to therapy sessions, and eventually broke up.  How could such a perfect beginning end so badly?   There had to be answers, and he would find them! 

The words “common sense” and “logic” are the threads that connect the chapters of this book through the author’s insightful research and obvious intellect.  Let’s take a look at the word “equality” and its role in a couple’s relationship.  Though Mr. Kellis talks about past traditions, he emphasizes that the movement toward equality between men and women was, and continues to be, a progressive move that is morally and legally justified.  He states that in a relationship both individuals must share equally in the feeling and thinking side of the psyche of the relationship. Men do feel and women do think; also men do think and women do feel! The author also believes that common sense leads a couple to take on the world together, rather than arguing with one another.  Instead of becoming involved in faultfinding, both parties need to concentrate on problem solving by using logic and common sense to help resolve issues.   

Among the many resources for his research, the author uses and critiques relationship books written by various authors and also studies the findings of scientists and health professionals—those from the past as well as those considered to be experts in today’s society.  Mr. Kellis has concluded that most of today’s therapists do not actually understand the problems in a relationship, or if they do, they don’t go far enough to actually find answers.  He also believes that they don’t know how to stop disagreements from turning into arguments. As someone who has done considerable counseling, I, too, believe this is true and that something is amiss with the training these professionals have received. The author emphasizes that faultfinding and simply defining a negative relationship does not lead to happiness; problem solving, on the other hand, gets to the root of problems and can save marriages. Readers are given a lot of information as to how the mind works, including how we all too often fall in love with someone because of looks and money, not understanding that we stay in love because of character. A very important lesson to be learned is that we must choose to get over our past experiences—including anger toward parents—or we will transfer such negative emotions onto our spouses. Face and forgive are two key words to avoid such transference.  When an individual first falls in love, this is experienced in the conscious as happiness; however, if there are unresolved issues in the unconscious that have not been dealt with, the result will be fear and unhappiness. The author, through the help and advice of friends, was able to forgive his parents for negative childhood memories that he had carried around for years; only then did he find the key to experiencing real happiness.  Suzanne, on the other hand, had never confronted her past and subsequently found fault after fault with him, a man she had loved so much—in the beginning.   

Tim Kellis touches briefly on the works of Dr. Sigmund Freud whose hypothesis was that our behavior is determined by the brain we are born with.  This leads to the conclusion that we can do nothing about our troubles. The author does not accept this theory but does embrace the work of Dr. Carl Jung who theorized that we have minds that develop and that we can correct our insecurities through the impact of our unconscious on our conscious. Dr. Jung spent his entire life delving into the workings of the mind.  

This book encompasses a vast amount of information for the reader to digest; however, it is a book for those who have chosen to find the path to real happiness—perhaps to turn their backs on many established therapy practices and think for themselves. Think, feel, and behave! Equality: the Quest for the Happy Marriage will help make this possible. 

At his last therapy session, the author received permission from his therapist to record the conversation.  Readers are given a word-for-word transcript of the session and can reach their own conclusions as to what was accomplished. 

It is my opinion that this book is unique and could prove to be a very helpful resource for individuals, couples, and professionals involved in counseling.   

Bettie Corbin Tucker
For Independent Book Reviewers
www.bookreviewers.org 

March 12, 2009


Tim Kellis

HappyRelationships.com

HappyMarriages.com 

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WendyK Says:

I don’t really have any questions. Sounds boring I guess. But we seem to be doing good. After nearly 13yrs of marriage we have our rough stops, our fights but honestly we can’t imagine NOT being married to each other. We both agreed when we got married, it was forever. No divorce option is there. We agreed it doesn’t exist to us. So we try to talk out our issues. I’ll admit we have times…………LOL but honestly we are best friends as well as lovers and we make a choice to be in this together. I think that’s a big thing for us. I think I’ll try to get your book, because it never hurts. And I honestly think that early in our marriage we read the FIVE LANGUAGES OF LOVE and it helped us ALOT to see that we had different ways of showing our love. Didn’t make it less, just that he saw love one way and I another.

hugs,

WendyK

Tim Kellis Says: 

WendyK

And congrats on your marriage. Sounds like you address conflicts in the appropriate manner. There are 2 paths taken with conflicts, arguments and disagreements, and the one I am trying to teach is through disagreements, which are logical discussions, even over emotional issues. Arguments, which are emotional discussions, are not resolvable. If you cannot address logically the why with conflicts then you have issues that become unresolvable which lead to what are referred to psychologically as “psychic lesions”, issues that become mental blocks because they are not resolved.

And to address your comment about “The 5 Languages of Love”, if this concept is addressed positively then it can be very helpful. This book has been a huge success. I was at a marriage conference about 6 months ago and Gary Chapman was one of the speakers. He spoke intelligently, eloquently, and very humorously. The languages (acts of service, physical touch, quality time, gifts, words of affirmation) do encompass a wide perspective of the different needs within relationships. If you could understand which one is more important then you can comprehend how best to understand your spouse.

The only problem with this approach is in reality it promotes a quid-pro-quo relationship in negative relationships. “If you give me physical contact then I will buy you things”, and this doesn’t work in negative relationships. Quid-pro-quo never works, the notion of conditional love. What is needed for successful relationships is unconditional love. In reality this concept is an extension of “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”, which promotes that the key is to appreciate the differences between men and women, and unfortunately the notion of “separate but equal” didn’t work as we have seen with our racial struggles.

And the other problem with that book, and this problem also shows the materialistic approach of the professionals, is its materialism. The reality is he is promoting labor, sex, behavior, money, and communication, but he misses the most important languages, internal languages. The reality is the 2 pillars of happiness, and really the key languages to success are respect and empathy. Unfortunately you will have difficulty finding professionals discuss these 2 concepts because they have yet to breach the ivory walls of the psychology industry.

Please keep in mind with my critical words about the pros, but we as a society expect them to solve our marriage problems and they have yet to do it.

Again, thanks for your comments.

Tim Kellis

www.HappyRelationships.com



Here is an excerpt from the book “Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage”  


A life-altering conversation

Only about a month later I would have a conversation with my friend Kent that would change my life forever.  I call this day the most important day of my life.  I had an epiphany. 

My plan with buying a house was to find roommates to help with the mortgage payments.  I had done this in Virginia.  I had two roommates which made my mortgage payments quite low.  In Dallas I convinced Kent to move in one of the two spare bedrooms I had.  I had bought a large three-bedroom house with two living areas on the west side of the Dallas/ Ft. Worth Airport. 

Shortly after Kent moved in we stayed up late one night talking about our different upbringings.  We sat up literally for hours in a tête-à-tête; each of us trying to prove who had the more difficult childhood.  The only problem with my argument was that every time Kent mentioned his problem he ended by saying he still loved his father.  And the point of his comment was that his father had to be more difficult than mine because it was written in the article in the pool house.  Plus, except for my dad’s many prejudices he is really a nice guy, which is the best way to describe him.  Today my dad gets along with everybody even my mom.  When he is not mad he is like a big teddy bear. 

Just like my conversations with Laurie I went through the litany of complaints about my bad parents.  I started out by saying my parents did “this”, explaining one of the many faults I had found with my parents, and he would respond by saying that “my dad sent me to military school, and I still love him”.  And I would say, “but my parents did something else”, and he would say his father never showed any love for him, and he still loved his father.  I would bring up something else my parents did that destroyed my childhood, and he would respond with “my father never had the time to attend any of my school events because he was so busy at work, but I still love him”.  This one really hit home because my dad never missed any sporting event I had ever played in.  He loved his sports and seeing his kids involved in them.  Like I said, this went on for hours.  He broke me down.  I ran out of arguments, and for probably the first time in my life I admitted I was wrong. 

The conversation brought me to tears.  Ten years would pass before I would cry again.  What Kent taught me that wonderful night was the pain I had as a child didn’t matter.  They were my parents and they taught me what I needed to know about life to be successful.  They did the best that they could with their limited resources and we turned out to be pretty good kids.  I actually got on the phone with them in tears telling them how much I loved them and thanked them for being such great parents.  I even called up Laurie in tears telling her of my epiphany about my parents. 

This was important to me because it opened up my mind to my future.  I no longer had the anger of my childhood clouding up my conscious and unconscious mind.  I could look at life objectively.  I learned what is probably the most important lesson in life.  I believe that maturity actually begins when you come to this realization.  Mental growth really begins when you let go of the painful memories of the past.  The difference between a truly healthy positive mind and an unhealthy negative mind is the healthy one has forgiven his or her parents for being parents.  There have been no rulebooks on raising kids.  My parents thought the best way was with the belt, but they did it in love. 

The reality is most parents love their children, they just might not be able to show it but you cannot live the rest of your life blaming your parents or anyone else for the problems in life.  If you think about your parents from their perspective you would probably have to understand that your parents love you, regardless of how they treated you, they brought you into this world.  Think about that!!! 

I have looked back at that lesson for many years and have been forever grateful for the lesson Kent taught me.  This lesson brings me to the point of this book.  I have learned the most important thing you can teach yourself to have a healthy mind, which is an absolute necessity for a healthy relationship.  If you can forgive your parents for the way they brought you up then you can get over the past and begin to live for the future. 

Again, it is faultfinding vs. problem solving.  Faultfinding is having those negative experiences of the past and then having you interpret that they may occur in the future, except this time it is not by your parents but by someone else, your partner.  If you want a happy and healthy relationship then it is absolutely essential that you look at your partner for who he or she is, not by who your parents are.  Your partner is obviously not your parent. 

Problem solving is looking at each problem as it occurs objectively, with an open mind, without the painful experiences caused by someone else.  Life is actually quite simple today; we are the ones who make it more difficult.  We can eat.  We have houses over our heads.  We have cars, cellular telephones, all of the trappings in life.  But getting along with our partner is actually easier than not getting along.  We don’t need to make life more difficult than it really is. 

Since that conversation with Kent I have never found fault in anything my parents have ever done to me.  I have actually looked at all of the good things they have taught me.  I am not a bad person, and it is thanks to them.  I like to joke that my goal in life is to simply stay out of jail, though seriously speaking my parents have taught me how to live a morally good life. 

If you can get over your past you can live your future!!!  

by Tim Kellis

www.HappyRelationships.com

Relationship Rescue 
by Phillip C. McGraw, PhD.

Introduction:

A book that clearly demonstrates the lack of understanding of the successful relationship is Relationship Rescue by Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D. What is so sad about this book is that he is so close to the answer yet still unable to understand. Today he is the highest profile psychologist in the industry but that doesn’t mean he comes close to really helping troubled relationships.

Because of his profile, though, he is the most colorful in his words and his writing. Unfortunately for his audience, he is even more emphatic about his beliefs, which turn out to be even more illogical than many of his competitors. This fact is most obvious in his section defining the myths of the relationship. Yes, even the esteemed Dr. Phil falls into this trap with his relationship book. In the book Dr. Phil first assumes that yes every relationship includes arguments. 

Details:

For example, he explains that it is “completely naïve and fanciful thinking” to believe serious disagreements can be resolved and that “In the twenty five years that I have been doing work in the field of human behavior, I have seen few if any genuine relationship conflicts ever get resolved.” Yes, it appears he is admitting that he has not solved one conflict in twenty-five years of practice!

So is he saying we just move on without any possibility of reconciling differences in relationships? His “logic” is that “If arguing is done in accordance with some very simple rules of engagement, it can actually help the quality and longevity of the relationship in a number of ways.” He cites numerous times throughout the book this belief. “…Whether you have arguments is not what determines the long-term success or failure of your relationship. It’s how you argue.”

In most of the rest of the book he elaborates on these very simple rules of how to argue as his new revelations. Without a platform of common sense, the logic of arguments is followed by suppression of the negative feelings behind the discontent, without any psychological explanation for the source of these negative feelings.

He also mentions, “Men are going to be men and women are going to be women, and no therapist can change it.” Dr. Phil actually reveals that therapy is not directed towards men by stating in a letter written to men at the back of the book, “I’m assuming that this letter is the first thing you’re reading in this book.”

On the positive side, this book begins his quest to help individuals become happy by explaining the path to overcome the troubles is the responsibility of the reader. Individuals must be happy with themselves before they can make the relationship happy.

In a section where he comes oh so close to discovering the positive relationship is a section entitled “Make yourself happy rather than right”. Ironically, in this section he cites one of the few case studies of a chief master sergeant father and a rebellious son in exhibiting the differences between being right and happy. Again, this is one of the few case studies cited. 

The father comments his son should obey him “because I’m the father, by God, and as long as he’s living under my roof, eating my food, and spending my money, I’ve got the right to tell him what to do and how to do it.” Does Dr. Phil follow up with successfully helping the father’s perspective? No. Two and a half weeks after this session the son dies playing basketball. Now of all of the examples he must have seen in his “twenty five” years in practice this is the only example he could come up with? Why wouldn’t he give an example of an unhappy man and wife with whom he was able to convey this message?

Dr. Phil has given up on relationship therapy as he mentioned on Oprah, though, because he realizes there isn’t anything he can do. He does try sometimes now that he has his own show. David Letterman even ribs Dr. Phil nightly on his show: Words of Wisdom From Dr. Phil, “I don’t know what I am doing,” “I’ll beat the crap out of you.” “Call your wife a bitch.” “90% of people are stupid.” Apparently Dr. Phil has now become an entertainer instead of a psychologist, sort of a Jerry Springer with a diploma.

Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus                       
By John Gray, PhD.

Introduction:

Prejudice. One of the greatest gifts that has been discovered because of our wonderful system of democracy is the problem caused by having prejudicial beliefs. Prejudice breeds ignorance and contempt, results in anger, produces an overwhelming urge for power, blinds individuals from seeing the path to happiness, and in reality is the cause for the troubles within our relationships. Unfortunately, this concept has not yet breached the walls of the ivory tower of the psychology industry.

The very theme of the granddaddy of modern relationship books, Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus by John Gray, Ph.D., is the prejudice that men and women are different. In essence, what Dr. Gray is claiming is the key to the successful relationship is that men and women are different, if you want to be happy then you must realize this and simply get over it. Sadly, he couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Ah yes, say the critics of this prejudicial perspective.  The formative Dr. Gray is merely propagating a perspective that men and women should simply accept these differences, that tolerance will lead to loving and caring for each other through the understanding of these differences.  The only problem with this perspective is that it promotes prejudices between men and women.  Unfortunately Dr. Gray isn’t a fan of history, or he would have known this. We have a perfect example that completely debunks his platform, the famous “separate but equal” decision in 1896 that kept African Americans and White Americans “separate but equal” until it was overturned in 1954 with the Brown v The Board of Education decision. 

The only difference is instead of different drinking fountains and restaurants we have different households, with our current culture of divorce. In fact, this book has probably done more than any other to help propagate our culture of divorce. 

Yes the idealism of tolerance and acceptance makes sense intellectually but unfortunately is impossible to implement. Promoting the difference between people only promotes the underlying fear of those differences.

Overview:

Ironically, he begins the book by claiming, “I do not directly address the question of why men and women are different,” which would add profound insight as to how to overcome those differences. Throughout the book it becomes extremely clear what those differences are. In his world, men only think and women only feel, which may be true of relationships in the nineteenth century but does nothing to help relationships in the twenty-first century.

In fact, to really help troubled relationships requires an understanding of the reverse that men can also feel and that women can also think. He does, though, contradict this logic, as he does with much of his “circular” logic, by stating that sometimes men do learn to feel “in order to become more loving and nurturing,” and that women do learn to think, “in order to earn a living in a work force.” His logic goes something like this; “Men mistakenly expect women to think…women mistakenly expect men to feel.” But can’t men feel and women think?

In fact, if this book is read with a critical eye the reader would actually feel incredulous over his logic. For women his comment that “Their egos are dependent not on looking ‘competent,’” says it all. He is asking women not to think as part of the relationship. So his advice for women is to forget their ability to think. After all, that is man’s work.

And he does the same for men with feelings. “When having a conversation with him at home, it seems as if only 5 percent of his mind is available for the relationship while the other 95 percent is still at work,” the place where men are supposed to think. In other words, Dr. Gray is trying to convince the reader men have only 5 percent of their brains available for feelings. He goes even further by stating, in essence, if men are not thinking then “he is drawn to solving little problems, like reading the news, watching T.V., driving his car, doing physical exercise, watching a football game, playing basketball, and so forth,” all behaviors that replace his feelings within the relationship. He even goes so far as to say that when a woman wants to engage in a discussion of feelings with a man, asking him “What’s the matter, honey?…he may feel insulted or repulsed.”

His advice for the reader then follows the logic that “Men need to remember that when women seem upset and talk about problems is not the time to offer solutions,” while “women need to remember that unsolicited advice or criticism…make him feel unloved and controlled.” In other words, the key to the happy relationship is for men to do their thinking but not associate with the women’s feelings and women can feel but helping a man think makes him somehow weak.

He uses this same logic when he explains that a man needs to periodically sink into his cave when he is upset while a woman retreats to her corner. What is true about his logic is when a couple argues a man does revert into the mode of thinking while a woman reverts back into the mode of feeling. Explaining this does not help couples overcome arguing. And again, he defends this point when he claims women want respect, respect for their feelings, while men want trust, trust that they can think. But don’t men want respect, and women want trust as well. Not according to Dr. Gray. This circular logic is repeated throughout the entire book.

The rest of the book is spent giving behavior advice, just like all of the others. Dr. Gray even goes as far as explaining a point system, both positive and negative, that men and women should use to keep score of their different behaviors. Does he explain the causes of behavior? No, like he states initially he doesn’t even discuss the “why”. He doesn’t even attempt to! So without the why, how can he provide an inkling of a solution? Again, he doesn’t.

Well, he did sell over 20 million copies. Why did his book sell so well? People in troubled relationships identify with his description of the problem. How many copies do you think he would have sold if he wrote a book entitled, Men Are From Earth Women Are From Earth?


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