Book Review: L.O.V.E.

There’s no shortage of books on marriage: Amazon currently lists over 14,000 under the search term “marriage help.” And there’s no shortage of books by the married psychologist couple Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott: they have already written over a dozen.

So what does this book add that is useful? It is a good discussion of personality temperament psychology as it applies to marriage. Originating in ancient Greece, temperament theory poses that there are four basic flavors of personalities, that cause people to desire and react differently. In the ancient system, these were known as choleric, melancholic, sanguine, and phlegmatic. Forty years ago then young Christian writer Tim LaHaye re-popularized this theory with a series of books including his classic Spirit Controlled Temperament. In the 1990s psychologist Gary Chapman repackaged the four temperaments concept in his popular marriage book Making Love Last Forever using the animal word pictures of lion, beaver, otter, & golden retriever.

In L.O.V.E, the same basic breakdown is used, but repackaged as “love styles” with the labels Leader, Optimist, Validator & Evaluator (that spells out L. O. V. E. in case you weren’t looking.) There are chapters that explain each of the four types, and then chapters on how to best relate to each of the four types in a relationship.

The material is well written and organized, and provides some useful insights both into yourself and your mate. Reading through L.O.V.E. I had some new “aha!” moments even though I have read other personality typing books in the past.

A few qualms: I didn’t appreciate that the four “styles” are presented as original, even though they are obviously based on previous typing systems. Second, I was bugged by the book’s repeated references to the extra cost online typing test that the Parrots’ have on their website. Lastly, except for a few generic Bible verses, this shouldn’t be considered a “Christian” book— there is no talk of grace, no talk of the role of the Spirit, no talk of God’s plan for marriage or the differing roles of husband and wife. Overall, however, L.O.V.E. is a good read that should be useful for any marriage.

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