Despite the fact that the Christian market offers thousands of books on marriage and how to deal with the conflicts that arise, L.O.V.E.: Putting Your Love Styles to Work for You stands out from these as a practical, useful guide to making a marriage (or any other relationship) run as smoothly as it can. Working from a biblical basis, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott look at how God has uniquely designed each of us to give and receive love. They then synthesize this information into four different “love styles.” Overall, the result is a concise and readable discussion book, useful both for couples and for any other close relationship.
One of the greatest strengths of L.O.V.E. lies in its careful organization and in the pertinent detail that is given for each of the four love styles: the Leader (the Take-charge spouse), the Optimist (the Encouraging spouse), the Validator (the Devoted spouse), and the Evaluator (the Careful spouse). Two preliminary chapters introduce what a love style is, why people express and understand love the way they do, and how to understand what love style primarily fits your personality.
The second section of the book helps you understand yourself. Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott devote a chapter to people of the four love styles, going in-depth into what their deepest needs are, how they behave at their best and worst, and how they are hardwired to love. Each love style’s unique approach to five specific areas of relationships is also covered (communication, conflict, intimacy, finances, and free time).
The third section shifts its emphasis to practical matters of how to live with someone who is most likely opposite to you in love style. Again giving one chapter to each love style, L.O.V.E. covers what is to be expected from each style, and what a person with that style most fears. It also offers specific suggestions on how to show love to him or her and how to stay emotionally healthy within the relationship.
Each chapter in the book concludes with discussion questions designed to help you dig deeper into the idea of a love style, understand how it relates to you, know what the benefits and challenges of a specific love style are, and evaluate which of the suggestions you find most beneficial. Also sprinkled throughout are quotes and quips from actors, writers, and other famous people, which give personal perspectives on some of the issues addressed.
For all its practical detail, L.O.V.E. has a few drawbacks. The biggest one is that it depends heavily on an online assessment which will give you a breakdown of your own personal love style, but which costs $19.95 individually, or $29.99 for a pair of assessments. While the book is by no means useless without this assessment, it does rely on it, and would be greatly enhanced if a code for accessing the assessment came free with the purchase of the book.
L.O.V.E. can also be slightly repetitive if read straight through, but if it is used as designed, this is not an issue. Additionally, the two descriptive names assigned to each love style can be confusing when they are used interchangeably.
Though aimed at a married audience and written using those terms, the principles outlined in L.O.V.E. are general guidelines of showing affection. They can be beneficial for any close relationship, such as those between siblings, between a parent and child, or between good friends. The sections that do not apply to your specific relationship are easy to skip, and the book is still useful in helping you understand those close to you.
Overall, L.O.V.E.: Putting Your Love Styles to Work for You is a thorough overview of the ways that people give and receive affection. No matter where you find your close relationships, this book comes highly recommended. – Rachel Niehaus, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
The letters L.O.V.E. represent four personality dimensions that make up your personal “love style.” Once you know your own love style and that of your spouse, you will be able to love him or her in a way that will help you get the love you need in return. Relationship experts Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott stand on a mountain of research to show you how this single insight can draw you closer together. Never before have we had such an easy-to-use and scientifically proven tool for pinpointing each person’s approach to love.
The L.O.V.E. online assessment, in combination with this book, will show you how you are designed to approach everything from communication and conflict to sex and intimacy. This is not your typical marriage book. It’s a practical tool for learning how to express love to your spouse and feel truly loved in return.