Read an Excerpt
L.O.V.E.Putting Your Love Styles to Work for You
By Les Parrott Leslie Parrott
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2009 The Foundation for Healthy Relationships
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePART ONE
WHAT'S A "LOVE STYLE"?
THIS SECTION SETS the stage for digging into the details of your specific Love Style. It reveals how your marriage is unique. No two people with your specific combinations of qualities have ever been married before. As a result, we'll make several vitally important points about your personalities and how they shape your marriage.
The second chapter in this introductory section sets you up for taking the online L.O.V.E. Style Assessment. It gives you a solid understanding of how the unseen hard-wiring of your unique personality can become tangible by answering two big questions. These questions reveal the starting point of your Love Style.
WHY YOU LOVE THE WAY YOU DO
All weddings are similar, but every marriage is different. John Berger
"WHY IN THE world wouldn't you want to know this?" Les asked.
"Because some things are better left unknown," I replied.
"You're telling me that if you could have your personal DNA spelled out in detail for you, you wouldn't want to know?" he asked. "I mean, you wouldn't want to know what traits you've inherited and what diseases you are most at risk for?"
"No. Not really."
"I don't get it - information is power. This information puts you in the driver's seat of understanding your own genotype."
"Well, for now, I feel more comfortable just being along for the ride."
This animated exchange lasted a good thirty minutes. We had tucked our two little boys into bed, and it was the quiet of the evening. We were sitting in Les's study, when he said with enthusiasm: "Listen to this."
He began reading an article about one of TIME magazine's "Inventions of the Year"-a retail DNA test that provides you with an online summary of your own genetic makeup (once you provide them with a saliva sample).
Les was gung-ho, ready to plunk down our hard-earned cash on a spit kit that would tell him whether he was prone to Parkinson's Disease, male-pattern baldness, back pain, restless leg syndrome, and ninety-two other bits of biological information.
Me? Not so much. I'm content not to know-and I made that seemingly bewildering fact known to him.
"That's probably one of the things your DNA report would reveal."
"What?" I asked with genuine curiosity.
"Maybe it would show you why you're not more proactive and curious on these matters," Les said, just partly kidding. "Maybe it would show you why you tend to be more passive and why I'm more proactive."
"That's a report I would be interested in."
"What do you mean?"
"I'd like a report that reveals my personality traits and compares them with yours-to show us how our two personalities intermingle to shape our marriage relationship."
It was that conversation that became the catalyst for writing the book you hold in your hands. We'd been researching and studying the topic for years. But in that moment, both of us instantly realized how valuable such an assessment could be, not only to our own relationship but also to so many others. After all, if you could accurately understand how your spouse is hardwired for love, not to mention your own hardwiring, wouldn't it almost instantly curb the number of conflicts you encounter? Of course! Wouldn't it create quicker and easier ways to understand one another and bring you closer together? Absolutely!
That's why we dedicate this first chapter to explaining why you love the way you do.
It's All in Your Genes
We need to tell you up front that we are both psychologists. We've been counseling couples and conducting research on marriage for more than two decades. But never have we seen a sophisticated assessment of how two people's personalities combine to create a personal "Love Style."
Of course, there are numerous personality assessments that are effective for individuals. And there are several very good marriage tests for diagnosing relationship issues. But a thorough integration of both has been sorely missing. That's about to change.
We, along with a team of experts, have dedicated a considerable amount of time and effort to developing a valid and reliable online assessment to accompany this book-the L.O.V.E. Style Assessment. We'll have more to say about that in the next chapter.
At this point, we want you to know why we believe this can be revolutionary for your relationship. You see, your DNA-that molecule found in almost every cell of your body-not only encodes the basic blueprint for your biological traits and predispositions, but also it includes much of the encoding for your basic personality. And your personality is central to your love life. In fact, the fundamental premise of this book is to say: You love the way you do because of your genetic disposition.
Allow us to say it another way. Your "Love Style" is a cluster of mostly genetic traits that cause you to love the way you do. Your genes, along with the environment you were raised in, shape your desire to be loved in particular ways. Your genes also shape specific ways you go about loving your spouse. When two people marry and combine their individual genetic makeups, differences are inevitable. No husband and wife, no matter how much they have in common, ever have the same personality. Some of the personality differences are clearly evident. Some are so subtle they can baffle even the most astute of couples, leaving them scratching their heads:
"Why would he say that?" a flustered wife wonders.
"How could she feel that way?" a confused husband questions.
Now here's the surprising fact: Humans have about 99.9 percent of our DNA in common. Think about that! This means that only 0.1 percent of each person's DNA is unique. Whether you hail from Algeria or Argentina, Zaire or Zimbabwe, your genetic makeup is strikingly similar to that of every other person on Earth. Your genome and the U.S. president's are 99.9 percent identical. In the famed double helix of our two intertwined DNA strands, only a very small fraction makes us unique from one another. Yet that minuscule proportion is enough to create seeming chasms of dissimilarity, causing consternation for almost every married couple.
Why Your Marriage is One of a Kind
What is that 0.1 percent difference that makes every person unique? Some call it your temperament. Some call it your nature or your character. Mystics call it your spirit. Whatever you call it, we all have it. Like a fingerprint, that tiny genetic difference makes each one of us totally and completely one of a kind. How? Because we inherit three billion pairs of nucleotides, or chemical bases of genetic information, from our mom and our dad. All unrelated people have approximately one change, or difference, in every thousand pairs of nucleotides. So even a 0.1 percent difference makes 300 million chemical distinctions. And that's a lot!
It's tough to comprehend. Think of it this way. There are more than 300 million differences between your genome and anyone else's, and these 300 million different sources of genetic information make your personality exceptional.
Of course, the same holds true for your spouse. Your marriage brings together two completely unique and special personalities. There has never been a combination like you two before. In all of human history, marriage has never witnessed your inimitable combination of personalities. Your relationship is unprecedented. It is unmatched.
That's why you may have found that what seems to work wonders for another couple doesn't seem to help the two of you much at all. We have some friends who married about the same time we did, almost twenty-five years ago. If you ask them what keeps their marriage strong, they'll tell you that they have learned to never fight.
"We have frank discussions, but we never raise our voices," one of them will say. "We've learned to discipline ourselves, and we always count to ten when that starts to happen."
THE FOUR LOVE STYLES
AT THIS POINT, we will assume that you have taken the online L.O.V.E Style Assessment. You now know which of the four styles best describes you. We are also hopeful that your spouse has done the same thing. However, whether he or she has taken the assessment isn't vital to your progress. You can keep moving forward, and your spouse can eventually catch up.
This section is devoted to taking an in-depth look at each of the four specific Love Styles: Leader, Optimist, Validator, and Evaluator. You may be motivated to move straight to the chapter that describes you most. That's fine. Each of these chapters stands on its own. Feel free to do exactly that. However, we strongly encourage you also to read the chapter that focuses on the Love Style of your spouse. In fact, this is imperative for you to get the greatest value out of this experience.
LEADER: THE TAKE-CHARGE SPOUSE
It is better to have one person working with you than to have three people working for you. President Dwight D. Eisenhower
WITH A LEADER Love Style, you are Project-Oriented and Fast-Paced. The combination of these two dispositions makes you a spouse who likes to be in charge. Note where you land in the four Love Style quadrants:
We'll begin this chapter by exploring your deepest needs. These are the needs you must have met to function at your optimal level-especially in your marriage. Speaking of your optimal level, we'll move from there to "You at Your Best," looking at the five traits that emerge from within you when you are doing well and operating in your groove. Of course, we will also take a look at "You at Your Worst." We'll look at the five traits that come into view when your deeper needs are not being met.
Next, we'll turn to "How You're Hardwired for Love." In other words, we'll explore how your unique combination of personality traits blends together to create who you are as a spouse and what you are looking for in your relationship.
This will take us to how you function within "The Five Domains of Real-Life Marriage." These include communication, conflict, sex, finances, and free time. We'll take a close look at how you approach each one.
Finally, we'll give you some practical ways to "Better Love Your Spouse." After you understand your own deep needs and how they shape your approach to your marriage, you are poised to become much better at loving your partner at a deeper level.
Before we jump in, we want you to keep in mind that you will likely read something here or there that you don't agree with. In other words, you might think that a particular trait doesn't come close to describing you. That's okay. Don't let that interfere with the content you find helpful. Assuming you've taken the online L.O.V.E. Style Assessment, you already know that your personality is too complex to fit neatly into one box. In all likelihood, you are a combination of Love Styles where one is more dominant than the other. That being the case, we don't expect every description in this chapter to fit you perfectly. Now, take a deep breath. Keep an open mind. And take your time as you discover your own Love Style.
Your Deepest Needs
As a Take-Charge Spouse, you crave control. It's one of your strongest and deepest needs. Whether you know it or not, you've adopted Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as your personal anthem. In fact, you've adapted the lyrics a bit for your marriage. You're not only singing, "I did it my way," but you've added, "and you'll do it my way too."
Your hardwiring not only propels you down the "My Way" Highway, it also makes you like living in the proverbial "fast lane." You live your life with urgency. You think fast, move fast, and make decisions fast. That's why your spouse sometimes feels a bit like roadkill when he or she isn't keeping up.
Your need for control and speed leads to a third need: conformity. You want your spouse to fall in line and, by all means, not slow you down. In a sense, you want him or her to increase your productivity. Or at the very least, not impede it. It wouldn't hurt, you think to yourself, if your spouse would recognize your extraordinary efforts to be productive.
There you have it: The compulsion for control, the need for speed, and the call for conformity. When these three needs are being met, you're a happy camper.
The Take-Charge Spouse's Motto: If it's worth doing-do it now.
Excerpted from L.O.V.E. by Les Parrott Leslie Parrott Copyright © 2009 by The Foundation for Healthy Relationships. Excerpted by permission.
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