Special Guest: Mark Sharp

Where you can find Mark:


[Jon Dabach] 00:00
Today on the relationship Revival Show I’m joined by Dr. Mark sharp Dr. Mark is a psychologist and relationship coach with a practice in the western suburbs of Chicago, the iKey relationship Institute he works primarily with couples and singles who are struggling with relationship problems. Dr. Marks first book, not lonely at the top of relationship guide for courageous successful singles who haven’t found the love they want can be found on Amazon and everywhere books are sold. And he’s currently working on a second which is a guide to help people select a relationship or marriage counselor or therapist.

[Jon Dabach] 00:36
He lives with his wife Debbie and two delightful dogs. And an interesting fact is he named his practice after the martial art Aikido, which he’s been practicing for almost 30 years. You’re listening to the relationship revival podcast with Jon Dabach, also known as Mr. Spirituality. That’s me.

[Jon Dabach] 00:55
I’m your host giving you insights and guidance from over 10 years in the field of this amazing journey we call romance on this show, I go over everything you need to know about how to get into a relationship, how to get the most out of a relationship, and sometimes even how to gracefully end a relationship without pulling your hair out and going crazy. And occasionally, I’m even joined by new and old friends who are also relationship experts to bring you guidance and wisdom with new perspectives. Thanks for stopping by. Mark sharp, thank you so much for being here.

[Mark Sharp] 01:30
Thank you for inviting me. I’m, I’m looking forward to our time together to

[Jon Dabach] 01:34
Why I think we should jump right in. You are you’ve written a book and you have another one that’s being published soon or is it out available now?

[Mark Sharp] 01:45
In Process? No, it’s it should be published by I am aiming for the fall.

[Jon Dabach] 01:52
Okay, great. And taking on writing a book is an it’s a pretty big undertaking. So I kind of especially when you’re a therapist, you know, it’s like there’s no illusions of grandeur of being the next Tom Clancy. So

[Mark Sharp] 02:05
This is true, you heard that a little hesitation, my voice when I was giving you a commit, right. But still, it’s like, there’s a lump of Valiquette, you can’t actually put it out there for public consumption.

[Jon Dabach] 02:22
So what, you know, when I hear a therapist, a psychologist, or anybody in the mental health space, or relationship space, who wants to write a book, and they have a, you know, a practice, and I mean, at the end of the day, it takes time away from helping people. So I’ve found that 90% of the time, it’s because there’s something so important that they that they feel like they owe it to the world to kind of tell, you know, the story and kind of share the information. So first, let’s talk about your first book that’s actually available for people

[Mark Sharp] 02:58
To check out and available. Yeah, it’s, it’s got a long, long title. But you know, the first piece is not lonely at the top. And it’s actually it’s geared for singles, who are happy with their life, and usually pretty successful, but haven’t really been able to find the kind of relationship they want. So it’s people who really want to be in a relationship, but haven’t been able to do it. There. It was, I think it came out to December 2015. So it’s

[Jon Dabach] 03:30
Still current, though, it’s like postdating apps. You know, it’s

[Mark Sharp] 03:33
It’s not right. Yeah. I mean, I got to be I didn’t put anything in it about dating apps. Because, you know, you know, that stuff changes. It’s basically it’s basically about I mean, the, the gist of it is, most people go out and say, you know, I gotta find the right person. And the first two thirds of this book is about how to make yourself the right person, right. And then there’s sort of some process to go through about how to date and choose people and whatnot, but a lot of it’s really sort of look at yourself, be honest with yourself, figure out what’s really important to you. And, and there’s one section, I mean, piece of is really, you know, people who are really successful, are used to controlling when you

[Jon Dabach] 04:18
Think successful, you’re talking about business success.

[Mark Sharp] 04:21
I’m talking about life success, business success, you know, whatever, right? I mean, artists, right. I mean, I talked about people who really have achieved and they’re usually they’re used to being really in charge and controlling stuff. And a lot of the skills that make people really successful actually don’t work particularly well. When it comes to relationships, you got to be a little bit more open, a little bit more flexible. So there’s, there’s at least one chapter in the book about that. So

[Jon Dabach] 04:48
What about people who aren’t successful? I mean, I, you know, I recently had a, I mean, she’s successful, but it’s, it’s always fascinating to me, especially when I see people in their 40s people in their 50s DS who’ve never been married, and kind of dissecting why, especially when especially women when they get into their 40s, or even sometimes their late 30s. And they realize I do want to family and what’s happening, and now it’s now they’re dating different types of guys. Sometimes they end up dating, divorced guys, when they never did a divorce guys. Why do you think that happens? I see it happening more and more lately?

[Mark Sharp] 05:26
Well, I think yeah, I mean, let’s be honest, women, I think have it harder, right? Because they have to carry the burden of reproduction, which is important for our society. Right. And I think and they have is a lot of people, right, that’s a big part of what they want out of life. And women have much more of a timeline on that. And so they really invest men and women really invest in in themselves and their work and whatnot and building that up. But then all of a sudden, women realize if I’m going to have kids, I I got to do something about that. I mean, the last couple years, I’ve had several conversations with clients who’ve talked about freezing their eggs, because you’re right, yeah, really, that really is a it’s a big thing for them. And, yeah, I mean, I’m I’m an old dude, right? I’m actually 60. So, and I got married in my 40s. And my wife got married in her 40s. And it was a first marriage for both of us. So we’re like the weirdest cup.

[Jon Dabach] 06:31
Oh, wow. That’s super interesting. I didn’t know that going into this so that you’re kind of like the prime person that would?

[Mark Sharp] 06:38
Yeah, and so it’s like, why did

[Jon Dabach] 06:41
You stay single for so long?

[Mark Sharp] 06:44
I it’s a really good question. I really wasn’t, I mean, part that’s part of where this came out of, right? I mean, I really wasn’t ready for it. I had, I had, I had dated some but not alive. But I was working a lot. And I was just, I guess I was smart enough to know that it wasn’t really good for me to do that just yet, then I figured it out. It kind of

[Jon Dabach] 07:10
That brings up another good question, which is you said you weren’t ready yet. What does that mean being ready for marriage?

[Mark Sharp] 07:21
You got to sort of be balanced in yourself enough, right? To be ready to be in a relationship with somebody else, right. And so there’s a lot that kind of goes I’m, I’m a slow bloomer at everything. So you know, I got to tell everybody, they need to wait until they’re 46 to get married. But that’s, but that’s a piece of it. Right? I mean, you need to oftentimes, people choose partners based on something they feel like they’re lacking, or if they wouldn’t tell you that right. But it’s like, it’s to fill a whole,

[Jon Dabach] 08:01
An entire release of a Mago. Therapy.

[Mark Sharp] 08:04
Right, exactly. Right. And so, in you, I mean, you really do well, if you are whole enough, that you that you’re really looking for somebody and you know how you want somebody to kind of expand your life, I think good relationships make your life bigger, right? Which I think is true, but you need to be able to the way I think about is if you have too big of a hole, right? You’re leaning on the person to fill up that hole, and it makes it hard for the two of you to move. Yeah. Makes sense. That may be too, too weird of a metaphor. But anyway, yeah.

[Jon Dabach] 08:41
Yeah, I you know, it’s so funny. There’s so many books, on relationships and on psychology, that deal with being in a cave or being in a hole or digging yourself and but it feels that way. I think when you’re single, it feels like you’re in this well, sometimes or and sometimes when you’re in a marriage, you feel locked in a well, if it’s a bad, right, if it’s a bad relationship, or you’re dealing with some struggles, I think it’s appropriate, but it is, you know, kind of confined walls kind of no way to kind of get out Sure.

[Mark Sharp] 09:13
In the in, I think it’s useful to distinguish between you can be, you can be sad about being alone, and still have a happy life. Right? We’re human beings are complex, complex creatures, we can experience multiple emotions at the same time. And so sometimes people I think, kind of confused that and they put life on hold until they get that piece and part of what that does is it shuts you down and makes you less attractive to because

[Jon Dabach] 09:44
In a similar vein, I’ve noticed especially with some of my clients who’ve come through the door who are in their 40s, maybe one time in their 50s and have never been married. You closed off you know your life becomes so routine, that you’re not even open to it. Certain relationships. And I’m not saying that happens across the board. But I think that is a challenge that some people have, especially women who I’ve had a few clients who are divorcees or even widows at a young age. And they just never get married, remarried, and they get so used to being alone, that it’s scary, kind of to the idea of sharing their life again. Do you do you see, since you got married in your 40s, and I shared, this isn’t what I wanted to talk to you about, but just kind of went there?

[Mark Sharp] 10:32
They always take their own path. Do you

[Jon Dabach] 10:34
Use? Do you find that there are different challenges at that age, when you’re dating than there are when you’re in your 20s? And 30s?

[Mark Sharp] 10:43
Um, yeah, I mean, not all of my wife. And I didn’t experience all of them, right? Because it was a first relationship for us. And so there wasn’t like entanglements, or kids or anything like that. I mean, a lot of people, most of the time, that most of the time, maybe most, a lot of the time when you’re if you’re in your 40s, and you’re dating someone, it’s somebody who’s got children or has an X or right. And that always makes things more more complicated. And so, so there’s that, that it’s also it’s just, I mean, I think the piece you were talking about, right? The longer you live, the more established you get in your routines, and it may be more difficult to play him. But I don’t think that’s the biggest thing. You know, most reasonable people can work that I don’t

[Jon Dabach] 11:36
Know, I’ve had some clients.

[Mark Sharp] 11:42
There was that adjective reasonable.

[Jon Dabach] 11:44
If you’re, if you’re, if you’re thinking of ending a relationship, because someone wants a different type of dresser, you might want to start you know, seeing a professional. Yeah, well, let’s talk about your new book. Okay, what you’re working on.

[Mark Sharp] 12:01
So, the new book, I need a sexy title, right? I mean, its working title is a consumer guide to relationship counseling. And that’s like a right. But really, what it is, is it’s focused on helping people be able to choose a good counselor if they need to get into relationship work counselor therapist, and then also sort of an overview of some other stuff that might be available for

[Jon Dabach] 12:30
That. So what’s your approach? I think that’s a great topic. I always compare it to dating. So when I when I have my initial calls, because I turned a lot of people away that I just don’t think I’m a good fit for. And I always tell people, it’s a lot like dating, you know, you’re we’re going to have this first little quick call. And you have to feel me out just as much as they feel you out. Might be a good book title for you. Speed dating your therapist.

[Mark Sharp] 12:53
Speed dating your therapist. Yeah. But I’m specifically about real because about relationships. Because I, I got, I got some strong opinions here. So I hope Yeah, and that’s what I love to hear. One of my one of my pet peeves about my profession, psychology and mental health, is it really, at least in our country, it’s really individual youngest. Right. And so a lot of people who are therapists don’t have a good skill set at working with relationships.

[Mark Sharp] 13:22
So part of part of what my book is about is, right. It’s, it’s, you need to get somebody I mean, and you do a lot of relation. Yeah, that’s the same. I’m the same thing, right? And so you need somebody who’s either like that, or makes it a big chunk of what they do, because it’s a different way of thinking, right? I mean, I tap, part of my thought is traditional psychology sort of looks for what’s wrong inside people and tries to help you hear it. Right?

[Mark Sharp] 13:55
That stance in a, with a couple, you’re usually just enhancing each other’s negative views of each other. Up to have somebody who, who works with what happens between you, I mean, I’m not saying that that stuff, right? I mean, if you’re depressed or you’re anxious, so you’ve got ADHD, you’ve got whatever diagnosis that that’s not going to impact your relationship in some way. But that’s not it’s fixing that’s usually not what it is.


[Mark Sharp] 14:26
It’s helping people cope with the differences that they have. And so that’s a piece of it and I walked through some questions to talk to your therapist about but then the last one is right, don’t choose too quickly. Right. You got to you’ve got too actually because there’s a fit. I mean, I’m I have a style that works really well for some people

[Jon Dabach] 14:45
Does not work for if you had to describe your personal style of working with couples, what would it be?

[Mark Sharp] 14:53
Um, so style working with couples, I tend to be more active and we’re engaging. I tell people that what they do between sessions is more important than what we do in sessions that our job really in therapy is to help you understand what you need to do differently. And then we set up ways for you to be able to do that outside. I mean, there’s a lot of emotional processing stuff you need to do as well. But it’s really about changing stuff outside.

[Mark Sharp] 15:23
And then I tend to be I tend to have kind of a snarky sense of humor, and some people don’t. I mean, that’s, that’s much more on a personal level. Some people appreciate that a great deal, right? And so if somebody comes in and can’t crack a smile during a session, and I know, I think it’s just who they are, rather than they’re just so sad, they can’t crack a smile. We’re probably not going to be a good Yeah,

[Jon Dabach] 15:47
Yeah, I had my very first therapist had had that going for him, Dr. Durham, and he was great. And it was very early in my marriage. And he was a short, you know, Jewish guy from New York, told me, he used to get in bar fights. And like, when I walked through his door, he’s like, we’re not going to let you get away with anything. And he cracked jokes and called me on my bluffs. And, you know, it was exactly what I needed.

[Jon Dabach] 16:12
But at that, on the other side of that coin, if my wife went to him, I don’t think she’d last the full session. You know what I mean? Like you really do. And it’s so my wife is a therapist. So she’s, she’s on her way to becoming a psychologist as well, she has been a therapist for 15 years, I think, now at this point, and she doesn’t do couples at all. And she, she refuses, she just can’t handle it.

[Jon Dabach] 16:35
And it’s and I think what you what you wrote about in your book is so pertinent, I, I’d love to have a conversation about this, because I think there are two factors like one on the business side, for a lot of individual therapists, it’s just easier to deal with one person than two, they tend to stay longer. So there’s less incentive to become a couples therapist because you have longevity in your business.

[Jon Dabach] 16:56
And then the second thing that I found is that when you go through becoming a mental health counselor or therapist or psychologist, there’s so much schooling and then there’s the 3000 hours or depending on your state even more. And then if you’re going for your doctorate, and you’re working for book kiss for a long time, you know, to to actually get licensed. By the time you get there.

[Jon Dabach] 17:19
The idea of going and learning Gottman therapy on top of that, or EFT or Margo, it’s like I’m done, I’m spent, I’ve spent the last, you know, 10 years, I just want to start practicing. And like it really does. It’s a very specific way of looking at things. So it’s, it’s an and again, there’s not a lot of incentive unless it’s a passion of yours. Right. Right.

[Mark Sharp] 17:41
You’re right. And there’s not many academic settings where you get a thorough grounding in that, right. I mean, I used to work in the community mental health system, and I had I had a woman who was, you know, I mean, over the last 20 to 2030 years, most states have LM FTEs. Well, you’re in California, right.

[Mark Sharp] 18:03
So you guys have had em FCC for ABA. That’s right, you were sort of leaders. But now most states have it right. So supposedly merging. So I had a woman who I hired on my team, who had a master’s degree in marriage and family therapist and had never been in a therapy room with more

[Jon Dabach] 18:21
Than one yes. My wife is an MFT. So even LMFT Okay, she right. But she didn’t waver in all of her training did couples I don’t, I don’t believe I mean, I’m speaking for but I don’t think that was the focus at all. And she started doing a little bit just because people were coming in for it. And very quickly, I mean, we’re talking like four sessions with or four different clients. And she’s like, I’m not doing this anymore.

[Jon Dabach] 18:46
And she started just referring to me when I started making, you know, when I started saying, I can take some of those, you know, and, and it works out because she just, she’s like, it’s a whole different dynamic, you need a strong enough personality, to interject and like, mediate sometimes it’s and you have to like it, I really think you have to like it.

[Mark Sharp] 19:04
You have to like it, you got to be comfortable with conflict. And yeah, I’ve worked in Office suites with therapists, you see couples and who, let me give you some quotes, who see apples, right? Notice that most of the time where they’re working with couples, one of them sitting in the waiting, oh my god, like, Oh, please don’t do that.

[Jon Dabach] 19:29
Half of a pair individually as part of couples counseling.

[Mark Sharp] 19:34
I do but rarely, right? My thought is if there’s sometimes one person may have some kind of blind or something, and it’s usually really around a particular skill or something that makes it difficult for them to engage like they need some specific work on some sort of some nervous system soothing techniques so that they can actually sit and have a conversation right, but it’s not. It’s um, but that’s it. And it’s, it’s the exception rather than the rule. I don’t do that most couples, I know that there’s the kind of four session assessment model


[Jon Dabach] 20:12
Where they do one together

[Mark Sharp] 20:15
With the other money together, and I’m like, you know what? I hope by the time we hit four sessions, we’re running hard, right? So yeah,

[Jon Dabach] 20:25
I find that couples but I’m, I’m with you, like, and it’s the exception, not the rule. Like if they’re constantly interrupting each other, and I need to get clarity and they feel like they’re not being heard. You know, certain things, certain instances. Right? Yeah, for sure.

[Mark Sharp] 20:40
But they’re constantly interrupting each other, you have your first target for intervention. Yeah. Yeah, but yeah, but sometimes what’s your

[Jon Dabach] 20:51
Do you have a specific kind of framework that you work in? Did you kind of learn Gottman? Or have you developed it just through years of your own practice?

[Mark Sharp] 21:03
Um, I’m not certified by anybody. Right? I actually grew up, grew up in the field really doing family therapy stuff, so more kind of structural systems family. And when I worked at the community mental health center, I ran the child and adolescent therapy team there, and we did a mostly family thing. And I’ve had an interest in couples. And so that’s really built and now I’ve had my practice for what 17 years and it’s been all couples.

[Mark Sharp] 21:36
But that’s been so I’ve studied Gottman. I’ve studied EFT Johnson. There’s a guy around here who doesn’t have a big model, but he’s got I’m blanking on the name of it. So yeah, I’ve studied just a lot of stuff and I blend things. I mean, when I think of, I mean, Gottman, and EFT and Johnson are the big ones. Right? I mean, I think Gottman does really a much better job of kind of how to do structured stuff around information exchanges, yeah, softening

[Jon Dabach] 22:08
Techniques and stuff. But the EFT

[Mark Sharp] 22:11
Gives a much better framework for sort of understanding and dealing with some of the a lot of the emotional stuff because I blend

[Jon Dabach] 22:20
Yeah, you know what the truth is, unless you are a diehard fanatic of one, I find that everybody blends them. I use like a touch of a Mago. I can’t I don’t think I’m the kind of guy that can have two people facing each other for a full hour, a nice length apart. And just like whispering suggestions, which is a lot of like, what, but it works for people, you know, and it’s but the philosophy behind it, I love so I use it.

[Jon Dabach] 22:46
And I mean, I’m big on GM and I love I love their approach. But again, you there’s so much of an art form to it, in terms of of working through it. And you mentioned that you’ve had a practice now for 17 years, and you also volunteered that you were 16 Is that right? Well, before

[Mark Sharp] 23:10
Well, actually, no, I’ve been this has been my profession. I mean, I had I moved into my full time, practice 617 years ago, before that I was in a community mental health

[Jon Dabach] 23:22
Or for for so what how did you end up in therapy in the first place? Then?

[Mark Sharp] 23:29
I followed my nose basically, right. I mean, I started I, I started college, somebody told me I should go premed. So I went premed right. And I was bored to tears. I learned in freshman chemistry, it is possible to dream. Big, right? And so then I was like, well, what’s the class that I really enjoyed the most was my psychology class. And then I started taking more and more and more and, you know, a bachelor’s degree in psychology. If you follow that, usually people end up working in marketing again.

[Mark Sharp] 24:06
And so I went to graduate school. Somehow, I don’t even remember how it happened. I got exposed to kind of family’s family thing and systems theory. And so I follow that and came to Chicago because one of the best internships in that field at that time was that way and I think you know, I’ve always I when I was younger, I always thought the idea that our own pathologies lead us in the direction that we go, you know, as therapists but I am a relationship marriage specialist who didn’t get married until he was 46 years old. Is there some connection there?

[Mark Sharp] 24:48
Yeah, probably. And so I was just learning and it’s interesting. I let my wife teases me now right? She says you know, six Do you have an account retirement conversation? She says you’re never going to retire, you’d like what you do too. Well, that’s one

[Jon Dabach] 25:05
Of the things. Media too is like, I could do this well into my 80s. I can sit in, you know, talk to people and give guidance and stuff. That’s it doesn’t require lifting boxes,

[Mark Sharp] 25:16
Doesn’t require lifting boxes. You know, the mind may go at some point. And I hope, I hope if and when it does, I’m aware enough to let it go before it starts affecting what I’m doing. But right, but yeah,

[Jon Dabach] 25:28
And you left a couple of books in your week. So that’s the’s yeah, there we go. Yeah, well, did you I know, you’re in the Chicago area, right? Yeah. Did you grow up there?

[Mark Sharp] 25:41
No. Ah, no, actually, I, I grew up in Africa, really have a weird background. So my, I grew up in Kenya, East Africa. My My parents were missionaries. They went overseas. They went overseas for the first time when my mom was six months pregnant with me. Wow. Right. So I was born and a little hospital in rural Kenya. And I grew up there came back for college. So our, the, the church that they were part of, had a school in Indiana. So I went to college there and then went to graduate school in Texas. Now, I have lived in Chicago, or this area longer than any other type place in my life. So it feels

[Jon Dabach] 26:32
Like what was growing up in Kenya? Like, especially with missionary parents. That sounds fascinating.

[Mark Sharp] 26:37
Yeah, you know, it, I thought it was normal, because everybody else that I knew was doing exactly the same thing, right. But in looking back, I wouldn’t change it at all exposure to cultures. Incredibly beautiful country. I went away to boarding school when I was eight years old. So that can be hard. And I know, I think probably the walls that I put up to sort of be protective early on are part of what kept me from getting married until I was 46 years old. Right.

[Mark Sharp] 27:09
But very self-aware. I still write but I still wouldn’t, wouldn’t change any of that at this point. Right. Yeah. And so it’s, it’s a really hard question to answer or, you know, what was it like? Because it was like, the only thing? Yeah, I think I mean, I think the missionary life is interesting that I probably, I mean, on the way to boarding school, so I was away from my family a lot.

[Mark Sharp] 27:39
But when I was with them, I probably spent more time with them that a lot of kids do simply because their life wasn’t as structured around, you know, a nine to five day or something. As other people do. So there’s, there’s, there’s, there’s you.

[Jon Dabach] 27:54
I mean, missionary work, a lot of that is putting the good of the community or other individuals in front of your own. Do you think that’s kind of a good training ground for relationships? Or is it does it have like the diametric opposite, where you’re just kind of sick of it? And you want to be selfish?

[Mark Sharp] 28:12
No, I think yeah. No, I think it’s a it’s a good training ground for that. I mean, there’s a there’s kind of a double I mean, I think that now there’s kind of a double edged sword of missionary done right, there’s a there’s the service of others, but there’s also this sort of we’re coming in to help the people who are less often us so there’s this sort of hierarchy type thing that I think a lot of missions are becoming really much more aware of kind of the distance and the superiority that missionaries went in with and that’s changing a lot.

[Jon Dabach] 28:44
Yeah, it’s something I never even thought of. As a Jew we don’t mission eyes at all. It’s I always tell people like if someone wants to become a Jew, that tradition is we turn them away three times.

[Mark Sharp] 28:59
I love that about us. Why would you want?

[Jon Dabach] 29:05
Three times? And then if you bug us enough, we’ll be like, All right. All right. All right. It’s funny, I had another therapist on who specializes in high demand religions, like Mormonism and different things and you know, some people when they leave their church or and she even does it like for people who are who’ve been in any kind of high demand culture, like an MLM pyramid scheme kind of thing, where you kind of sacrifice your individuality for this bigger cause and so there’s a lot of recovery that goes in and she says, There’s something like missionary guilt. And like when you when you’ve grown up in that way, if you decide not to continue in that path, there’s this kind of guilt and shame that comes this it’s so loaded. It’s so interesting.

[Mark Sharp] 29:50
That Yeah, that’s interesting. I mean, perhaps I don’t have this self-awareness yet, but you know, perhaps I became a therapist to assuage my missionary guilt and though I’m services Serving in that way. But yeah, but who knows missions is an interesting thing. I, you know, I, as I said, I grew up, I thought that was normal. I went to boarding school 90% of the people at the boarding school were also kids of missionaries. Was it

[Jon Dabach] 30:16
Also in Kenya, boarding school? In Kenya? And it was, would you? What was the structure like you would sleep there for how many months of the year

[Mark Sharp] 30:27
we had the nine month school year was broken down into three, three month terms, and then we’d have a month off between it, which is pretty much the schedule that the school system in Kenya used and it was more of a timing wise on a British type system, even though it was an American curriculum.

[Jon Dabach] 30:45
Interesting. Yeah, I have I have four kids ones, eight ones, nine, the two middle kids, the idea of them going to boarding school is don’t get me wrong. It’s very tempting. Right? Just to clean your room, clean your room. I don’t have to do that anymore. But yeah, I could see that, you know, the family dynamic would just change overnight. I mean, that’s it’s so you grew up in Kenya, you specialize in therapists, and you’ve named your practice iKey after a martial art. So if you’re a martial another little, there’s another little unfolding that

[Mark Sharp] 31:23
Right? So I practiced aikido for, I think it’ll be 30 years this year. So I started when I was right. And Aikido is the peaceful martial art. I mean, philosophically, the idea is you do you handle attacks without harming you neutralize attacks without harming you.

[Jon Dabach] 31:44
I didn’t know that. That’s interesting.

[Mark Sharp] 31:45
Yeah. And

[Jon Dabach] 31:48
Do that. First of all, if someone’s attacking you, how do you neutralize them without harm? Like,

[Mark Sharp] 31:53
Here’s what’s very interesting, right? It’s there’s a lot of stuff that you do in the martial art that I found was really metaphorical for what you do in relationships to be healthy, right? And so the idea is, instead of opposing the force that’s coming at you, as you blend with it, you get off the line, you move with it, and then you join with it, and then you move it in a different direction. And so I Aikido It’s Japanese, so I is harmony, Qi is energy.

[Mark Sharp] 32:20
So basically, I named my practice the harming energy, the harm, not harming. Harmonizing. Right. And so it comes out of that. But there’s, there’s a lot of principles you learn, you really need to extend into your partner, you need to learn to keep your own balance, you, you blend with them, you stay connected, if you stay connected to your partner, it allows them you don’t get so surprised by them and you’re less likely to get hurt.

[Mark Sharp] 32:48
There’s a lot of really beautiful martial art that that sort of make metaphors for. For relationships, and so the dough piece, right is a Japanese thing. It’s it’s applied to practices that you use for growth, right? So there’s a, there’s Judo all the martial arts really are about a personal growth thing. And one of my philosophical points ideas is that in a, in a healthy relationship, your partner really helps you grow. You help each other grow. And that’s what you’re really out

[Jon Dabach] 33:25
Of use. Yeah. And you allow them to influence you in that way. Right, right. Absolutely Interesting. Well, if you want to get in touch more with Dr. Mark, Mark sharp he you can find him at Facebook is facebook.com/ikki relationship Institute and iKey for those of you like me, who would never spell it right to begin with is AI K AI. So AI K AI relationship Institute on Facebook, or you can find them at on Twitter.

[Jon Dabach] 33:56
His handle is Dr. Mark Ikki. And Mark is Ma RK so Dr. Mark, Dr. Ma, RK AI K AI, and whatever the title of the book is when you finally when you finally land on it, I’m excited. But I’m sure you can find his first book on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Yep. Dr. Mark, thank you so much for joining me. If you’re interested in learning how to get the absolute most out of your romantic relationships then you’re in luck because I have put together a free workshop or masterclass if you will about three secrets that people in happy relationships have discovered.

[Jon Dabach] 34:41
You can view the workshop and mister spirituality.com/three secrets again, it’s completely free. Just go there and watch it it’ll help you on your journey give you some wisdom. Some things to think about. The website again is mrspirituality.com/three secrets. That’s mrspirituality.com Last the number three the word secrets it’s all yours enjoy


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