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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book: "L.O.V.E. Putting your love styles to work for you"

TITLE: L.O.V.E. Putting Your Love Styles to Work for You
AUTHORS: Les & Leslie Parrott
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009, (224 pages).

This is another of the Parrott's books on relationships. The key point the authors makes is for one to learn to 'love it like you mean it.' There are three meanings behind the authors' intention.

Firstly, love is a style, or a way of life.

Secondly, love is in terms of an acronym, of 4 personality dimensions.
  • L - Leader: The take-charge spouse
  • O - Optimist: the Encouraging spouse
  • V - Validator: the devoted spouse
  • E - Evaluator: the careful spouse
Thirdly, love can be learned, and given away.

The Book
The authors structure the book in 3 parts. They begin by introducing what a 'love style is.' Based on their psychological background, they tell us that the way we behave is linked back to our genetical makeup. Everyone of us comes with a particular personality that is visible, given by God, predictable, powerful, and with positive and negative points. Above all, one can improve one's personality by locating and understanding one's love style.

The second part of the book comprises a lot of material with regards to the four different love styles proposed. Two vital questions help to determine the love style.

  1. Are you project oriented or People-oriented?
  2. Are you fast-paced or slow-paced?
They propose a 2x2 matrix as follows. 

Subsequent chapters are then devoted to each particular love style, with descriptions, illustrations, quotations,and various applications. They explain how each style affects the manner they handle conflicts, finances, intimacy, sex, free time and many more. They point out when each style is at their best and which is at their worst. Space is also allocated with regards to how they can better relate to their spouses.

The final part deals with how to discover one's style, and how to make it work for us and our spouses.


Books like this resemble Gary Chapman's Seven Love Languages. There is nothing really new with regards to a 'love style.' It is the Parrotts' way to help couples undestand one another better. I think the book is very clearly written. Theory is well packed with practical advice. Examples and quotes are well selected to prove the point. The use of matrices and diagrams allow the Parrotts to drive home their ideas well.

Unfortunately, I find the book a little too plastic for comfort. By this, I mean the way that the Parrotts try to box in the different love styles is like trying to make human relationships based on a mold cast. I think marriages are far too complex to be conveniently subdivided into four styles. Moreover, even with the combination of styles, I am not convinced that this approach is best. The way to benefit from this book is basically to consider one's possible style. If it works, use it. If not, do not be too worried. This book may appeal to some. It may even help couples to draw closer together. For me, I will only recommend this together with other marriage books. This book alone does not suffice. It is at best a peripheral view of a marriage. Another discomfort I have is with regards to a 'scientific' way to deal with a human relationship. That makes it even more artificial. I am also not comfortable with the epilogue heading: "Getting the Love You Want." I find it far too egotist or self-centered. Perhaps, a better title will be 'Building a better marriage together with your spouse.'

Anyway, here is how we can use the book effectively and meaningfully. Firstly, browse the love styles on the Appendix on page 209 to get a general idea. If need to, do the sample love assessment test online. Secondly, be open to a particular style that resonates with your understanding of yourself. Thirdly, speak with your spouse about your style. Let that be a conversation starter, or an opportunity to simply communicate with your spouse. At least, with something that can be easily understood, and to let it become a fruitful topic of conversation, you will have benefited greatly.


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