Love between the covers


Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 1:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 1:29 p.m.

Marriage counselor DeeDee Locascio recommends plenty of relationship books to her clients. She only wishes she could get couples to read them sooner.

"When you work on your relationship before you're having problems, you're putting chips in the bank making an investment in the relationship," she says. "Then when tough times or arguments do come, it's not as bad."

One book Locascio recommends frequently is M. Scott Peck's "The Road Less Traveled."

"He talks about the word 'love' being a verb, an action, not merely a state of euphoria," Locascio says. "When we engage in the hard work of loving someone despite tough times, that's real love. That's what's necessary for a lifelong commitment."

Locascio also recommends Harville Hendrix's "Getting the Love you Want: A Guide for Couples," part of a series that also includes "Keeping The Love You Find: A Guide for Singles."

"The books are based in very sound theory," Locascio says. "He uses family-counseling theories to explore the phenomenon of love and lifelong commitment. It's a book I've recommended to a lot of clients."

Hendrix advocates that couples become "passionate friends," and offers a detailed 10-week relationship-therapy exercise that couples can follow to learn how to avoid confrontation and criticism, opting instead for growth and support.

Communication between partners in a long-term relationship goes far beyond the spoken word. That's why Locascio offers "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate." Gary Chapman's book, which tops Amazon's rankings in the Marriage and Love & Romance categories, explains how people offer and receive displays of affection in five distinct ways: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. A partner showing love in the language he'd like to receive it may not connect with the spouse who's looking for affection in another language, Chapman writes.

"About half of my clients find it really helpful. For others, it doesn't speak to them," Locascio says.

For couples that want to approach their relationship with their religious values as a framework, Locascio recommends a set of books by Stormie Omartian, "The Power of a Praying Husband" and "The Power of a Praying Wife."

It gives couples a step-by-step approach for how to turn your focus back on your partner," Locascio says. "It's really useful when couples have encountered conflict or have grown apart."

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