We all have them. We can’t live without them. Because of them life can be difficult and even painful. Without them existence would be dull. I’m talking about relationships, and individuals have myriads of them to wade through. Our lives span a wide spectrum of relationships: parents, children, spouses, friends, co-workers, bosses, employees, church-folk, acquaintances, strangers, mentors, protégés, teachers, students, God, and other interests.
Obviously, each relationship is unique and has different dynamics. You wouldn’t communicate the same way to your spouse as you would to fellow co-workers. And your affinity with God should be distinctive compared to your conversation with a stranger. Because we travel through such a wide range of relationships, we have to learn the different dialects of each one to enjoy them fully. This book provides the useful tools needed to enhance yourself and your daily relationships to be healthy, vibrant, and connected.
We interact with a variety people who play different roles in our lives, but here’s the problem: many of our relationships are unhealthy. We don’t often practice the deftness necessary in building strong, lasting, loyal, and trusting interaction. The main reason we don’t develop our relationships to their optimum is because we don’t know how and because we already have ingrained in us examples set by our parents, friends, or some authority figure. We don’t have to continue destructive or damaging habits though. When we educate ourselves on how to gain, protect, and enhance our relationships, frustration dwindles while understanding and compassion begin to bloom.
Each relationship role has exclusive rules to be adhered. But to succeed in those there are basic tenets that can be followed and practiced.
Who wants a lifetime of shallow, meaningless relationships?
Who wants to be so consumed with success and wealth that you neglect all who are dearest to you? When a person’s terribly ill or
despondent, they never ask for the company of their sports car or a pile of their cash piled around the table lamp. In times of need, you would like to know there are people by your side who care about you and love you. No material good can comfort you; therefore none should supersede your daily closeness with people.
That is the issue: closeness. We deal with people everyday. We live with spouses and children, or with parents, relatives or guardians. We make important decisions that affect the very lives of other individuals. But is there any semblance of closeness, of trust, or of emotional vulnerability? Sadly, for the majority of people the answer is No.
Richard Marks, PhD (“Dr. Rick”) and his wife, Louella, met in 1981 when he served as a chaplains assistant in the United States Navy. Having built a friendship for 2 years they were married in 1984 and have three adult children. Both he and Louella come from broken homes as children and found themselves lacking in the healthy skills for intimacy and connection. Their journey in healing and growth has led them to impart their knowledge of hurt, pain, growth, healing and maturity into others. Dr. Rick earned a PhD in Psychology and Counseling, a Master or Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy and an M.A. in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to being a Licensed Professional Counselor, he is also an ordained minister. Dr. Marks is the founder and Executive Director of ConnectUS 4 Life, Inc., a marriage and family development organization seeking to help business, social service agencies, government and the faith community enrich and strengthen marriages and families through education, prevention, and public awareness, seminars, classes, consulting, retreats, and one-on-one coaching. Dr. Marks is the developer of the Enriched Relationship series of relationship materials. These relationship skills programs for couples, youth, and the workplace, are focused on teaching core skills for bonding and intimacy and healthy relationships. Dr. Marks is also a trainer to Prepare Enrich and an instructor of various programs such as PREP, PAIRS, 7 Habits of Healthy Families, Compassionate Parenting, and others. Dr. Marks served as a Commissioner on the Florida Commission on Marriage and Family Support Initiatives from 2003-2007. Dr. Marks has been a keynote and conference speaker in conferences such as Smartmarriages, AACC, North American Conference for Divorced and Separated Catholics, and Association of Marriage and Family Ministries. He writes articles for local publications in the Jacksonville, Florida area and has been on national and local radio and television shows such as the 700 Club.