Chris Hart is a psychologist specializing in relationship issues and social skills coaching for individuals and organizations. He is well known for his relationship articles in the Sunday Nation. You can read all his articles here.
Now although Pendotalk does not agree with all that he says, for example about divorce, (My great grandmother lived for several years..you’ll understand this statement after you read the post)…I felt that I should be completely honest and give my readers the entire, unedited two cents of this relationship expert.
Pendotalk: What inspired you to be a psychologist?
Chris Hart: I read about psychology but at first I didn’t think of going into it. I actually qualified to be a chemist. I had always been a Scientist from a young age but somehow I always won the English prize. So as a chemist I worked in a multinational company for a while but then I did not like their products. I started studying psychology in my 30s! I then started off my psychology career by working with individuals who were dealing with trauma.
Pendotalk: How did you end up specializing in relationships?
Chris Hart: The specialization happened by accident. Many people would come to me seeking advice about relationships. You see since I had been working with individuals who were dealing with trauma, I also had the skills to advise people about relationships because both require cognitive behavioural therapy. More and more people started coming to me for relationship advice and I ended up specializing in it.
Pendotalk: Other than the famous articles you write for the Nation newspaper, what else do you do as a relationship expert?
Other than writing for the Sunday Nation newspaper, I sometimes give advice on radio on Nation FM and Good news broadcasting. I am also featured on KTN and NTV shows. I have also been featured in True Love and Drum magazines and I contribute to many relationship articles. I also do events.
Pendotalk: On radio shows and relationship advice, what do you think about the popular radio shows which expose different couples’ relationship issues?
I think those shows are purely for entertainment. However it may also help some people because when people hear others talking about the same issues that they are facing, they become consoled by the fact that they are not alone.
Pendotalk: How many years have you been working as a relationship expert?
For over 25 years now
Pendotalk: Does this choice of work influence your personal life?
Well sometimes I deal with some issues which can be traumatizing
Pendotalk: Tell us about a bad experience in a relationship that you learnt from…
I got married when I was 20 years old and we had two children. We were very young, we had no money and we lived in a small, simple flat. We eventually got divorced. People change a lot as they grow older and wiser. I would discourage anyone from marrying too young. Another thing I learnt from this marriage is that expectations are not always met and one needs to know how to cope with this.
For me, now, I teach people the techniques that work in a marriage
Pendotalk: Are you currently married?
Chris Hart: Yes I am married to a lovely lady called Caroline. She is Kenyan. We actually met on the internet which is something I highly discourage! However, I was lucky. We started chatting on the internet and despite my many online interactions, this one was special, we connected. We have been married for over 10 years now.
Pendotalk: What do you think is the reason for an increase in divorce rates around the world?
Lifetimes used to be shorter, therefore marriage used to last a lifetime. Back then there were all kinds of ways people would die young: being killed by wild animals, infectious diseases, homicide and so on. Now people live longer.
Also, back then, people knew each other well because people rarely moved far from home. Now most people around us are strangers, people live far from home. It is hard to choose the right person because they are so many people and they are all so different! Life is more complicated now. Along with iPhones and Youtube came difficult marriages.
Pendotalk: What advice would you give to couples to make their relationships last long?
Chris Hart: It is important to TALK! Talk an enormous amount! Explore each other’s feelings. It is important to know what you both value. One of the most important things in a marriage is children! You must agree! When it comes to children, if you want children and your potential partner does not, do not pursue the relationship any further.
Here are some other general tips:
- Choose the right person
Don’t marry the first person you meet. Also learn that you will not marry “the one”, you will marry a person you get along with. So break-ups help you to learn what you want and know what to avoid. Spot those people that are perfect in the first six months and monsters thereafter.
- Learn the skills that make a relationship work
First of all, 100% honesty from day one is important. Some people have a little hidden box in the beginning. If so, do not proceed.
- Define the relationship
There is a man who was seeing two women at the same time then he dumped one the moment the other defined the relationship. They got married and had children. Many years later his wife found out that when they were dating he had been seeing someone else at the same time and it caused problems. So define the relationship from the beginning.
If you have to say, “we’re just friends,” Then you’re not.
Penodtalk: Pendotalk has a campaign to encourage African women to be proud of their natural beauty. (Read the letter from a drop dead gorgeous lady here and see pictures of Kenya’s natural beauties here) To what extent do you think a woman’s looks affects the kind of man she attracts?
Chris Hart: Both men and women pay attention to appearance. Beauty is a strong indicator of hormones and health. Men look for features in a woman that indicate she is fertile. For example, the hip to waist ratio. Most don’t even know it, but that’s what they are attracted to. That is why sometimes you find an old man yearning for young women, because they look more fertile than the older ones.
Women can be attracted to two ‘types’ of men: low testosterone or high testosterone.
The low testosterone man is a good husband and father. He is responsible. Most of them are bank clerks or accountants. The high testosterone man will have heavier bones, a bigger chin and be more aggressive. If there is a fight among the men, he will win.Even in other factors he is the general “winner” among men. Most women are attracted to the high testosterone man, but they marry the low testosterone man. Choosing to have a high testosterone man is risky! He is more likely to be unfaithful or violent.
Pendotalk: For how long do you think a couple should date before getting married?
2 years. In about 12 months you should know everything you need to know and then there should be a proposal. The wedding will probably then take place after another 12 months. In most cases, women will start talking about the proposal, not the man. If she doesn’t, it may not work. The man needs an indirect command, he needs an “invitation”.
In terms of age, men tend to get married 3 years after college.
Pendotalk: Tell us something that most people do not know about you…
Chris Hart: What I mentioned before (above) which is that I have been married before. My current wife is called Caroline. She is a Kenyan lady from Kisumu city and she does Karate. Caroline is amazing! One day there were two men who tried to rob us. They didn’t know what was coming. She beat them up!