We're so unique because we have this complex mixture of traits and dispositions, and we bring that together with another person that God has created uniquely, and we create something that has never existed.
That sometimes is a new thought to many of us, because we think, oh, this person should be just like me, and they're not. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, Dr. Les Parrott joins us to talk about an exciting new assessment for couples to help achieve better love. We'll find out what that means straight ahead on the program, and if you want to take a peek before we get started, go to betterlove.com to find out more.
Gary, you are familiar with this assessment tool. Tell me how you got involved with this. Well, you know, Chris, I've known Dr. Les Parrott for a long, long time, and I've really admired all that he's done to help couples, especially on the online stuff, as well as all of his books and all of that. He approached me, actually, and Moody Publishers about the possibility of what we're going to talk about today, and that is linking up the Five Love Language quiz with his profiles. So I'm very excited about our conversation today.
I am, too. And here he is, Dr. Les Parrott, psychologist, number one New York Times bestselling author. Many of his books are co-authored with his wife, Leslie.
Yeah, Les and Leslie Parrott. Our featured resource today is the Better Love assessment tool. You'll find that at betterlove.com.
Again, go to betterlove.com. Well, Dr. Parrott, welcome back to Building Relationships. Gary, it's always good to be with you. I sure appreciate it. And I could hear the intonation there on our names, Les and Leslie, and for all our listeners that might be confused.
It is a little confusing. I'm Leslie, she's Leslie, and that's the way God planned it. Well, I'm glad you go by Les. I know. I should go by Frank.
It would even be easier. But it's even worse than that because I'm the third. That means my dad's name is Leslie, and my grandfather's name is Leslie, and then I married Leslie, and I'm Leslie, so I'm the third, and that's why we named our first son John. I think that your family lacked creativity.
Yeah, we couldn't think of any other names. Well, for those of our listeners who may not know, Dr. Les Parrott, what gets you up every day and causes you to do what you do? Well, probably about the same thing that gets you up, Gary, because we love helping couples, and especially couples that want to enjoy lifelong love. Do you guys know that business kind of term called a BHAG? A BHAG, you ever heard of a BHAG?
I have not. Okay, so a BHAG stands, this is something they teach in every business class at some point, a BHAG is a big, hairy, audacious goal, and ours is to see the divorce rate reduced by a third in our lifetime, particularly in local churches. I know everybody that's listening to this goes, well, good luck with that because that is a big, audacious goal, but we're more optimistic about it than ever. By the way, did you know that for every single percentage point that we drop the divorce rate, the lives of more than a million children are positively impacted? Think about that.
That's for one single percentage point. I think it would be the greatest social revolution the church has ever seen, and so that's what gets us out of the bed in the morning to put our feet on the ground and start running because we love doing what we do. What we're going to talk about here in this program is really the point of the spear of that, because it does some amazing things. We can really move that proverbial needle in the right direction when we use this tool, but that's what gets us going, Gary. Does that make sense? Absolutely, and I thank all of our listeners and anyone who may not be listening in this country who's a Christian can identify with what you just said because the concern for marriages and consequently the children of marriages when there's a breakup, it's just colossal in our country.
So I am grateful for your passion, and it certainly identifies with my passion as well. Well, now you've developed several relationship assessments through the years. What's the value of a tool like betterlove.com?
Yeah. Well, I love that question because this sets it up beautifully to say something that is so revolutionary, at least in my opinion, and that is when you have a good tool like this that we're going to talk about, BetterLove, people can find it at betterlove.com, you are doing basically two things in your relationship. You're heightening your sense of self-awareness, which is one of the hallmarks of well-being, and that's important.
Why? Because your marriage can only be as healthy as the two of you, so that's the first thing. Then the second thing, in addition to heightened self-awareness, is deeper empathy, that capacity to see the world from somebody else's perspective. As you well know, there's a mountain of research on how important that skill set is to success in marriage relationships. Now, on top of that, so those are the two skills, deeper empathy, heightened self-awareness, any good assessment will do that, but what we know from independent research, University of Chicago and Minnesota and other places, that couples that go through this tool that we're about to talk about, the BetterLove assessment, lower their chances of divorce by 31%. Let me just give that a pause, a beat there. Take that in.
Think about this. Doing this assessment lowers your chances of divorce by 31%. Not only that, it increases your capacity for positivity, for contentment, for happiness by nearly a third in the weeks that follow this. That's a pretty good deliverable, right? Not only does it lower your chances for all the bad stuff, it heightens your capacity for contentment, and who doesn't want that?
That's why we call it BetterLove. Absolutely, and I can hear some of our listeners right now thinking, oh man, if it does all of that, I need to find out about this. So stay tuned, okay? You're going to find out about it. All right. Well, now, of course, our connection with "The 5 Love Languages" and now you're integrating the five love language concept into this assessment.
What led you to do that? Well, I'll tell you something, Gary. We've been in the assessment lane for a number of years, and it was really almost serendipitous.
You'll recall this. Leslie and I were invited to host a Valentine show on a national broadcast, and well, who did they invite to be the guests that we would interview but our good friend Gary Chapman? As we were preparing for that interview, I thought, why in the world haven't we ever talked about incorporating "The 5 Love Languages" into BetterLove? It was in preparation for that little interview that I think it was almost providential in my mind, and I reached out to you and we started talking about it, and it took us a long time to develop it because we do things with excellence and both of us, and we wanted to make sure we had reliability and validity that was a part of what we were doing, and then incorporating "The 5 Love Languages" just takes it to, and then incorporating "The 5 Love Languages" just takes it to a whole new level because we can do something with "The 5 Love Languages" through our technology that you can't do with paper and pencil or by just reading the book, and even though it's so intuitive once you understand the concept of "The 5 Love Languages" , you well know, we can do something kind of magical on the BetterLove assessment with it. And I'm excited about that, Les. Of course, as you said, we've been working on this a long time. I should say, you all have been working on it a long time because you've done the hard work. I'm just watching and observing. It's been fun. Now, your assessment provides, and I'm quoting here, a highly customized roadmap to lifelong love. Unpack that for us a little bit. Yeah, we like to refer to it, to the BetterLove assessment in that way, the report, because when you say the BetterLove report, it sounds like you're getting graded, right?
It sounds like it's an evaluation and you're either going to fail it or pass it, and that's just not the case. There's no shame. There's no blame. There's no finger pointing.
There's no guilt. It's all about increasing awareness and basically saying, hey, look at this. Here's the information that you put into this, and here's what we've done through our algorithm to deliver something back to you that's pretty special. Just take, for example, "The 5 Love Languages" that we were just talking about. We not only show you in detail, here's where you rank on "The 5 Love Languages" , which you guys have done beautifully for a long time. We also look at where you are on your love tank, each of you individually. Then we take those two bits of information and we run it through an extensive process and algorithm and then deliver a plan for the two of you to love each other like you've never loved each other before because what we're doing is looking at your love language or the top couple of love languages that you have in relationship to one another's love tank and then delivering you a prescriptive couple of paragraphs so that you now go, oh, this is what I need to be doing. So many times we focus on ourselves thinking, oh, well now I know my love language and so you need to love me with words of affirmation because that's my love language and we get self-consumed in that.
That's just one example, but backing up from that. First of all, let me pause there. Does that make sense? It does make sense to me and it sounds to me like really that you're kind of taking the love languages to a whole new level.
Is that a fair statement? Yeah, we kind of had a little mantra as we were building this over a couple of years and it was kind of like we just kept referring to it as love languages 2.0 because it was taking it to a new level and the feedback that we've got, this is relatively new, just a few months here and the feedback is just incredible from couples because they're being able to apply it at a fresh level, a deeper level and then you connect that, all that information with "The 5 Love Languages" , you connect that with 10 other pages in this report. Okay, don't take that as you're getting graded, but your customized roadmap and we start with personality, how God designed you just in general, beyond your love language, how are you hardwired and that is such an eye-opener for people and to give you a sense, we have kind of these eight different personality types like the achieving spouse and the pioneering spouse and the energizing spouse and so forth and you see kind of where each of you lands and you get a little paragraph and everybody is tempted to believe, oh, so you get one of eight paragraphs there, but what you're really getting is a customized paragraph that has nearly 40,000 variables in it. Let me take a beat there again, take that in, 40,000 variables. What does that mean? That means you're never going to have the same paragraph on any other report.
That's your paragraph. That's how highly customized this is to you and so it's a pretty sophisticated thing. Now, when you look at the report, it is beautiful. It's infographic and it's really simplicity on the other side of complexity.
There's so many levers behind the scenes being pulled to deliver content that you can put into practice starting right now. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Dr. Les Parrott is joining us today and we're talking about a new tool that can help couples experience a more loving relationship in all areas. You can find out more at buildingrelationships.us. Click the Better Love banner or find the featured resource link in the program details for today.
Again, go to buildingrelationships.us to find out more about the assessment. Well, I've got news for you, Dr. Parrott. Andrea and I did this last night and we were pretty amazed at what you just said. There were some of the things in the descriptions about our personality that were so on point.
As a matter of fact, Andrea said, that just blows me away. We're both deliberating spouses. I wanted to ask you, is there a problem? Is there a problem there? There was one in her paragraph on deliberating spouse that says, socially, you tend to be a homebody preferring your house and yard to faraway places with strange sounding names. This may cause stress if your spouse wants to see the world.
And I told Gary before the program, I don't even want to see the yard. But she used to be a very social butterfly outgoing and all this, and she has changed to that homebody and she was kind of blown away by that assessment and what you picked up there. So the very thing that you just said is coming true. These paragraphs about you are like opening your eyes to how true they are. Oh, I love hearing that, of course. And by the way, you should know something. If you disagreed with anything in your paragraph, we're not forcing anything on anybody.
So if you disagree, just scratch out that sentence that you disagree with. However, before you do that, we always recommend that you check in with your spouse to say, like we had, you already understand, when we had a couple a little while ago and his first sentence said, you're often late to important events. And he goes, that's not true of me.
And he turned to his wife and she said, are you kidding? You were late to this counseling appointment. So just make sure you check in with people because sometimes we don't see things that other people see in us, but it's fair game to scratch out anything you don't agree with. Well, that was another question then when you're doing a self assessment, you're being as honest as you can, but there are things that you're blind to. And, and in my, the paragraph for me, it says you tend to dislike sudden or abrupt changes.
Boy, howdy. You prefer things the way they are. Your motto might be, if it's not broken, don't fix it. And I would change that to if it's broken, get the duct tape.
I love that. Well, we often say this tool is more of a discussion starter than it is a diagnostic. And so the point is not to argue with it. The point is then to talk with your spouse about it, right? That's all we're trying to get out of this is a deeper understanding and more empathy. You know, empathy, as I touched on just briefly, it's that capacity to see the world from each other's perspectives, right?
It's to walk in each other's shoes. And most of us, the research shows this, most of us think we do that far better than we actually do. And if you talk to a room full of couples and go, oh, you need to empathize, everybody in their minds go, yep, got that one, locked in, got it, empathy, you know? And I got to tell you, I did my doctoral dissertation on empathy.
Leslie and I have written a substantial book on empathy called Trading Places. And I'm still struggling to do even a halfway decent job on this. I know how it works. I know what involves your head and your heart. And you got to be intentional about it.
But man, it's a tough mountain to climb. And so this really makes the on-ramp to it so much easier because when you recognize how God has hardwired you and hardwired your spouse, you kind of have this shortcut to kind of go, oh, okay, no wonder she's, you know, doing this or talking this way, because that's how God designed her. So this is not a little tool that says, hey, here's how you are now changed.
Not at all. This is how you are and lean into that and understand each other. Okay. Sorry, Gary, I got one more question.
You go right ahead, Chris. There are eight categories, achieving spouse, pioneering spouse, energizing spouse, affirming spouse, they go on. Deliberating spouse is what, and you say devoted, accurate and disciplined. Deliberating spouse is where both of us landed. So is there a, are there positives to having that same trait or are there, what are the positives and negatives of being in that same category?
Yeah, great question. And the truth is there's no right or wrong combination of these. The only problematic one is if two spouses are both deliberating. And that's a joke. I got it. I got it. Boy, that was a long radio silence there.
No, there's no combination that's best or optimal and the goal is not to be the same or different. It's just awareness. So for example, the two of you both deliberating, that means that you both tend to be relative to other people, more slow paced. You take your time. You want to do things the right way. And that's what makes you good at your job. And then when it comes to being fast paid, I mean people oriented or task oriented, you guys are both right on the midline there.
That allows you some real flexibility in being able to do a lot of different things because some of us, like I'm really task oriented. When Leslie comes into my office and goes, Hey, you got a minute? More often than not, I hold up one finger.
I don't even look at her. I keep my eyes glued to the screen, to the email that I'm writing. And I hold up one finger.
And that means as it's a universal sign, give me a minute. And once I finished this sentence, then I can turn to you and give you my attention. Leslie is people oriented. If I walk into her office and say, Hey, you got a second? She drops everything instantly.
She spins around on her chair. Come on in. What's going on? And so you guys are kind of in the middle on that as deliberating spouses. And so it's these kinds of things as you understand that. And by the way, the other dimension all has to do with speed. Are you fast paced or slow paced?
And as Leslie said, I'm built for speed. I'm like, why are we still talking about this? Let's get it done. A committee meeting.
Are you kidding me? Let's get on with it. Right.
And a slow paced people. They're going to say, no, let's give it some time here. Let's make sure we're really thinking this through and we're doing the research. One is not better than the other. They're just different. But it's these kinds of insights that help us understand our combination and the unique chemistry. You guys realize there's never been a marriage like yours before and there never will be again. We're so unique because we have this complex mixture of traits and dispositions and we bring that together with another person that God has created uniquely and we create something that has never existed. And that's, that's sometimes is a new thought to many of us because we think, oh, this person should be just like me and they're not. Yeah.
Yes. And if, if you want to find out more about this, there is a cost to it. It's right there on the, on the homepage of the website, better love.com. But both Andrea and I found it really helpful as we went through it, not only a reminder of the love languages, but then to get all these diagnostic tools, you know, the report and then the action plan after that. So if you go to the website, better love.com, you'll find out more. Well, Dr. Parrott, we were talking about, you were discussing, you know, the results of the assessment, the better love assessment. And we talked a lot about personality. What other aspects are in the report that one will get when they take this assessment?
Yeah, it's pretty comprehensive. We start with your personality, like I said, how God designed you. And by the way, we do something pretty exciting with that too. Something that no other assessment in the world does and look at the chemistry between your two personalities and how that involves, you know, and impacts things like decision making. 25% of our conversations, by the way, involve making a decision together. So wouldn't it be helpful to know if your spouse is hardwired to be a cautious decision maker versus a spontaneous decision maker and things like that. So we get into personality. We apply that to many of the usual suspects like communication and conflict and intimacy and finances. You know, we look at this thing called the money matrix as it relates to how the two of you work together to manage your finances. Adaptability. Let me mention something on adaptability because this is kind of unique.
This is that capacity to adjust to things beyond your control. Don't you wish we could give that as a wedding gift to every couple in the world that gets married? Why? Because every good marriage, no matter how good it is, eventually bumps into something bad. It doesn't matter how loving you are.
You're going to encounter something that jolts your relationship. And one of my philosophies of living is that we all have our own private Gethsemane and we all have our own Judas and we wake up some morning and we go, how could he have done that? I trusted him with my money. Or how could she have done it?
I trusted her with my secrets. And we will have something in our lives, a person or an experience that really jolts us. And Gary, you know the story of our first son who was born premature and was born three months ahead of schedule, weighed just a pound. And of course we would have never anticipated that this would happen.
He'd be in the hospital with multiple surgeries and dire predictions and Leslie's life would be at risk and all that. That's a jolt that you don't expect. It might be infertility.
It might be a job loss, whatever. This capacity to adjust to things beyond your control is so important. There's a mountain of research on this. So important to predicting the success of your marriage. And so we devote a page of the Better Love Assessment to really getting a handle on this.
It's almost like the proverbial shock absorbers in your relationship, if you will, on how you can do that. And this is something that, by the way, you can work on. Many things in life are, like your personality, are a trait. But adaptability is a state. Sometimes in research we talk about state versus trait.
And if something is a state, that means it's fluid. You can do something and work on that. And so anyway, that's another thing that we bring up. And time management, it's the second biggest complaint that couples have in their relationship. We just don't have enough quality time together. So Better Love will help you reclaim some of those moments that you've been missing because you don't understand each other's time styles. Have you guys ever thought about that?
Just how God designed you and your spouse to manage time? It's such a refreshing topic to get into. Thanks for joining us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. You'll find more simple ways to strengthen relationships at buildingrelationships.us. You can hear a podcast of the program, download the Love Nudge app and see a link to our featured resource today. That featured resource, which is the Better Love Assessment tool. Click the Better Love banner at buildingrelationships.us or find the featured resource link in the program details for today.
Again, go to buildingrelationships.us. Dr. Parrott, before the break, we were talking about the feedback that you have gotten from couples. I'm wondering, have you gotten any feedback from pastors and church leaders, you know, as they've encouraged people to take this quiz? Oh, I'm so glad you asked that question because one of the things that we wanted to be able to do with this was give pastors a new way of really understanding the state of marriage in their churches. And that's never been done before in a really sophisticated and reliable way.
And so here's what we did. If a whole church does this, which happens a lot, so you have, you know, maybe a sermon series on romantic love and so forth in marriage, and the church does this, or it's an event, and Leslie and I do this all the time for churches, where a whole bunch, hundreds of couples, if not thousands, will take the Better Love Assessment. Then we can provide to the pastor and that leadership team a little report on the state of marriage in their church. It's an aggregate.
It doesn't give anybody's personal information away, of course, but it's looking at an aggregate. So imagine you're on a leadership team in a church, and now you know, here's the top three issues that couples are struggling with in our congregation. Here's the dominant personality types in our congregation. Here's the one thing that couples seem to really stumble over when it comes to cultivating spiritual intimacy together in their relationship. Isn't that incredible to have that kind of information?
Because now it shapes a sermon series, it shapes small groups, it shapes Sunday school classes, and all the rest. Yeah, I don't know of a pastor that would not want to know that kind of information on the marriages in their churches, you know. What do you say to the person who is reluctant to take an assessment? They just, in their mind, they say, I don't like assessments. I don't want to take an assessment. What do you say to those folks? Yeah, after very sophisticated research, we've discovered that 50% of the general population is more reluctant than the other 50% to take an assessment on marriage. Do you want to guess?
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