The Quest for the Happy Marriage
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