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Love Skills

The Keys to Unlocking Lasting, Wholehearted Love

Book cover for Linda Carroll's Love Skills

Linda Carroll's new book, Love Skills, is a companion workbook to her highly regarded Love Cycles: The Five Essential Stages of Lasting Love.

Love Skills is a practical guide to help readers design their own tool kit for creating and maintaining a loving relationship.

Exercises, activities, self-assessments, and other concrete tools allow readers to understand where they are in their relationship. Thorny issues are addressed, including the loss of sexual energy, why what once seemed endearing is now annoying, and the many ways that family history and personality type can wreak havoc in relationships.

A Crash Course on Love

Here’s the truth about intimate relationships: the conflicts you face right now may never disappear. You and your partner may always hold different perspectives about child-rearing, money, the best vacation spots, and how to properly clean the bathroom. But the good news is, the ways you manage these differences can change profoundly. As you develop the emotional and interpersonal skills described in these pages, your conflicts with your partner will become less painful and destructive — and your relationship can begin to thrive again.

This workbook is a companion to my first book, Love Cycles: The Five Essential Stages of Lasting Love. This first book describes the five stages of intimate relationships in detail, illuminating the behaviors associated with each stage and strategies for successfully navigating them. This companion manual, Love Skills, is a practical guide to help you design your own tool kit for creating and maintaining a loving relationship. It’s a do-it-yourself version of the Love Skills program that you can use at your leisure. Consider it a self-exploration guide, one you can work with either alone or with your partner.

These pages are filled with information, exercises, activities, self-assessments, and other tangible tools to help you understand where you are in your relationship cycle now and how to foster the self-awareness, communication, conflict management, and empathy you need to weather all of love ’s seasons.

Awareness comes first. This workbook begins by helping you to answer critical questions about your relationship and yourself. For example: Why do I try to change the very qualities in my partner that most charmed me at the outset? Where did easy loving and juicy sex go? Does it make sense to start all over with someone else? How do my personality type and family history affect my view of myself and others?

This book then offers specific, effective solutions to the most common struggles that couples face — both the small troubles and the more serious dilemmas of communication gridlock, betrayal, and seemingly intractable differences. We will provide a clear map for moving forward with these issues and address how to most productively approach arguments, including the importance of establishing connection before dealing with conflict. We will also offer several types of quick, well-researched practices to help keep love alive and thriving during all five stages.

A key message of many of these lessons is “The wave is not the ocean” — that is, the times that feel intolerable between you and your partner do not mean the conflict is an all-encompassing, permanent state. There will always be another wave, another opportunity. When you know how to navigate the storms, conflict can lead to understanding and even closeness that makes your relationship even better than it was before. In most cases, the Love Skills process will help you to rediscover the original promise of your relationship and offer you a road map for traveling this rewarding and challenging path.

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