Cover image for The love list : eight little things that make a big difference in your marriage
Title:
The love list : eight little things that make a big difference in your marriage
Author:
Parrott, Les.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : Zondervan, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
124 pages ; 21 cm
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9780310248507
Format :
Book

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HQ734 .P213 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Includes insert with peel-off, his-and-hers "Clings" listing the eight items of The Love List.This little book will make a big impact on your marriage. Start right away applying its hands-on concepts. You'll immediately increase intimacy, gain new direction, enjoy more laughter, and much more. You'll love how The Love List unites purposefulness and spontaneity. "A few small actions-practiced on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis-can change everything for a couple," say relationship experts Les and Leslie Parrott. "Little, deliberate behaviors quietly lavish love on a marriage." Drawing on their professional insights into successful couples and sharing candidly from their own marriage, the Parrotts give you eight simple-but-powerful, instantly usable principles that will lift your marriage out of the doldrums into everything you've wanted it to be. Plus, it's also fun! Especially when you start seeing noticeable results right away. Discover the importance of tender touch. The bonding power of a clean slate. The secret to building your partner's self-esteem. The key to putting the sizzle back in sex. The Love List isn't so much a to-do list as it is a map for your journey together-one that takes you down the most scenic roads toward meaningful, joyous love and a truly fulfilling marriage. Keep this book handy-and get started today!The Love ListOnce a Day . . .#65533;Take Time to Touch (If Only for a Minute)#65533;Find Something That Makes You Both LaughOnce a Week . . .#65533;Do Something Active That Lifts Your Spirits#65533;Boost Your Partner's Self-EsteemOnce a Month . . .#65533;Rid Yourselves of Harmful Residue#65533;Fire Up Passion in the BedroomOnce a Year#65533;Review Your Top-Ten Highlights#65533;Chart Your Course for the Coming Year


Excerpts

Excerpts

Once a Day ... Take Time to Touch (If Only for a Minute) Skin cells offer a direct path into the deep reservoir of emotion we metaphorically call the human heart. Paul Brand Four years ago we gave birth to our first child, a little boy. And when we say "little," we mean it. After a difficult pregnancy that included two months of bed rest at home and several weeks in the hospital for Leslie, John came into the world-early. Three months early, to be exact. He weighed just over a pound. He was so tiny Les's wedding band easily slipped over John's entire hand, up and over his elbow, and clear to his shoulder, where it still had lots of wiggle room. John was rushed immediately to the neonatal intensive care unit where he was hooked up to more medical machinery than we knew existed. Doctors thought he might be blind and have numerous developmental problems. He was there for three weeks before they finally released him, tethered to an oxygen tank-the smallest baby ever to be released from Swedish Hospital in Seattle. Today, John is four years old, and aside from a large surgery scar on his tummy, you would never know he had such a challenging start. We think of him as our miracle baby. Many in his condition don't survive, and precious few who do have as few health concerns as John. We don't know how else to explain it but to say that God worked a miracle in his tiny body. Of course we did our part too. John rested in a plastic isolet, designed with small portals where we were eventually allowed to reach in and touch him. On occasion the nurses let us change his tiny diapers (known on the preemie ward as "wee-pees"). And as John grew accustomed to our touches, we learned more about the importance of touching him. With a university library at our disposal, we researched how we could help our son make progress. And our studies brought us to a conviction we hold even more firmly today: There is power in human touch. Study after study revealed how valuable touch could be for our struggling son. At the University of Miami, for example, researchers found that premature babies who were massaged had a forty-seven percent increase in weight gain and went home an average of six days earlier than infants who were not massaged. At eight months of age, these babies were also better able to calm themselves and continued to show better weight gain and intellectual and motor development compared to babies who hadn't received the massages. Today John is one of the happiest and most loving little guys. And one of the lasting lessons we learned from his ordeal is the immeasurable value of human touch. Not just for premature babies, but for all of us-and especially for our soul mate. What a Tender Touch Will Do for Your Marriage Press the rewind button on your marriage for a moment. Backtrack to some of the most romantic and meaningful moments the two of you have ever shared. Can you picture two or three? Chances are that those most memorable moments are etched into your memory bank because they involved a tender touch from the one you love-the holding of your hand, a gentle caress on your cheek, or an arm around your shoulder. And that touch sealed the moment in your memory, never to be forgotten. Touch does that for couples. It is a way of writing in our collective diary to recall the moments we treasure. Anthropologist Helen Fisher, in her book Anatomy of Love , describes the importance of touch this way: "Human skin is like a field of grass, each blade a nerve ending so sensitive that the slightest graze can etch into the human brain a memory of the moment." Without a doubt, physical touch is critical to building romance and intimacy in your marriage. And we don't mean touch only as it relates to sexual play. We are talking about a tender touch while your partner is doing almost any ordinary task. A gentle squeeze on your partner's shoulder as she is preparing a meal, or a soft rub on his back as he is reading a book can communicate loving messages in ways our words never can. There is simply no way to say more persuasively "You are not alone," "I appreciate you," "I'm sorry," or "I love you" than through touch. Touching your spouse is a language that often speaks more eloquently than words. Sheldon Van Auken, writing about his marriage to Davy in the book A Severe Mercy , illustrates the profoundness of touch: "Davy had crept near to me still crouching and I put my arm about her, and she snuggled close. Neither of us spoke, not so much as a whispered word. We were together, we were close, we were overwhelmed by a great beauty. I know that it seemed to us both that we were completely one: we had no need to speak." For this reason, we dedicate this chapter to helping you make a tender touch a daily habit-if only for a minute. Ensuring a Tender Touch Each Day of Your Marriage No one can dispute the value of tender touch between husband and wife. The trick is cultivating this valuable practice on a daily basis. In an effort to bring this important habit into our marriage, we asked dozens of couples how they do just that. Here are a few of their suggestions. Talk about touch. Because physical touch is so important to building an intimate marriage, we urge you to talk about it with each other and evaluate your attitude toward it. Why? Because everyone has a unique touch factor. Explore how touch was used in the home you grew up in. Did your mom and dad touch much? Has their model of touching shaped you for better or worse and in what ways? Assuming, like most couples, that you don't always have the same level of need for touch, do the homes you grew up in help to explain why this is so? Or do you think it is more a gender issue? Talk to each other about how you like to be touched and how you don't like to be touched. Be specific. Maybe paying the bills makes you uptight, and you want to have your space during that time. Claim your "no-touch zones." Knowing when not to touch a spouse is just as important as knowing when to touch. Let your partner know when you really appreciate a good shoulder massage. Maybe it's while you are reading the paper or while you are standing at the kitchen sink. Or maybe because paying the bills makes you uptight, it is an especially good time for a nice caress. You get the point. Make your wishes known. Take the guesswork out of physical touch by communicating. Have you had a hug today? Several years ago as graduate students living in Pasadena, California, we attended a lecture on Valentine's Day by the acclaimed Leo Buscaglia. A professor at University of Southern California, Dr. Buscaglia was wildly popular at the time with several best-selling books, a PBS series, and a national speaking schedule. We enjoyed his inspiring and lively lecture, but what amazed us the most was the huge line of people that formed at the conclusion of his talk. It wound around the entire auditorium. "What are they lining up for?" we asked a fellow attendee. He looked startled that we didn't know and simply said, "A hug." And he was right. Several hundred people queued up for a quick hug from the "the hug doctor." We haven't seen anything like it before or since. And it certainly made an impression. Some weeks later, by coincidence, I (Les) happened to cross paths with Dr. Buscaglia in a gourmet grocery store. I couldn't help but ask him, "Why do all those people line up to be hugged by you?" He laughed, but replied seriously, "A hug helps people make it through tough times and lifts the spirit of anyone who is already flying high." It was a question he'd obviously been asked before. As I was about to say thanks, he leaned toward me and gave me a hug-right there in the frozen food section! Truth is, I'm not the huggy type. And I didn't really need a hug from the famous doctor, but I'll take a hug from my wife any day. Would you believe there is a World Hug Week? It's true. The sponsoring group believes the world would be a better place if there were a massive movement to embrace our loved ones for five seconds at some point during this week. Silly as it sounds, they're probably right. A five-second hug goes a long way-especially when it comes to getting your daily requirement of touch in marriage. Have you made hugging a habit? If not, we offer a simple suggestion: Ask for one. "May I have a hug?" is all it takes. Say thanks, hello, or good-bye with a hug. Soon you'll have the hug habit. Get a massage without the high-priced spa. A few months ago we were guests at a banquet in a ballroom at an Atlanta hotel. In the standard mingling that follows such an occasion, a friend introduced us to a woman who writes for the legendary comedian Bob Hope. Well into his nineties, Mr. Hope doesn't call on his writers like he used to, but she still has contact with him and obviously shares his renowned sense of humor. "So tell me something about Bob Hope I don't know," Les asked her. She thought for a second, then replied, "He gets a massage every day." Wow! How interesting. The conversation immediately turned to how luxurious it would be to have a personal masseuse that works magic on sore muscles every day. Of course most of us don't have the financial resources of a celebrity like Bob Hope to hire such a person, but if you're married, you do have a spouse that can serve as a pretty good stand-in on occasion. We have some friends that celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary at a resort in Maul. One of their highlights was a "couple's massage" where a professional trained them to massage each other so that they could enjoy this gift even when they weren't at the spa. Not a bad idea. Bottom line, as a husband and wife, you don't have to employ a personal masseuse or pay a high-priced spa to enjoy the benefits that come from a massage. Remember the two most important minutes of your marriage. Let me (Les) speak to the husband for a moment. How do you greet your wife at the end of the day when you have pulled into the driveway and walked through your front door? Are you like me? "I'm home!" I shout out-as if the house is to come to attention and someone is supposed to play "Hail to the Chief." Next, I usually ask, "What's for dinner?" Then, "Did you get the mail?" And the final question in my ceremonial homecoming is "Any calls?" Maybe you don't do that at all. Good for you. But if you are like me, then you are also like the majority of men who enter their domicile at the end of a work day and head straight for the most comfortable chair to unwind. At least you're like I used to be. A couple years ago I had an awakening when I read some research on the two most important minutes of your marriage. What are they? You got it-the first two minutes when you walk in the door after a day at work. Experts agree that how you greet each other at the end of your day, after walking through the front door, sets the tone for your entire evening together. What's more, if you greet each other with a tender touch, you immediately release biochemicals in you and your partner that make both of you feel better. Sounds too good to be true, but it's not. So the next time you announce your return to your castle, whether you are the husband or the wife, do it with a gentle touch, and you'll reap the reward almost instantly. Catch a kiss-even on the run. Some years ago we wrote a little book that plucked thirty-one relevant verses for couples from the book of Proverbs. For each verse we wrote an accompanying meditation and prayer, and we titled the book Like a Kiss on the Lips . Why that title? Because, as Proverbs says, "An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips." And with that book's publication we have had dozens of couples write us about kissing, even to this day. Sounds a bit strange, but it's true. As one woman recently wrote, "We used to take kissing for granted, but no more." That's because study after study reveals the good that comes from a kiss between husband and wife. For example, did you know that those who kiss their loved one each morning miss less work because of illness than those who do not? Those who kiss have fewer auto accidents on the way to work. They earn twenty to thirty percent more monthly and live approximately five years longer. And if that weren't enough, scientists have also found that kissing produces a hormone in our brain that elevates our mood. So pucker up and don't neglect kissing as a terrific way to meet your daily requirement of touch. A Final Thought on Touching Your Spouse The value of human touch is almost incalculable. Studies have shown it to be an asset for calming anxiety, alleviating stress, and treating arthritis, back pain, cancer, blood pressure, depression, headaches, and on and on. A study at UCLA estimated that if some type-A driven men would hug their wives several times each day, it would increase their life span by almost two years, not to mention the way it would improve their marriages. That same study reported that eight to ten meaningful touches each day help us maintain emotional and physical health. It's indisputable. So why not take advantage of this gift that is built right into your marriage-the relationship that provides the opportunity for more touch than any other. In fact, of the couples we interviewed about this important quality, they mentioned one behavior more than any other that has helped them include touching on a daily basis: holding hands. Remember doing that? If you've been married a few years, you may have forgotten this little gem. So simple. So easy. Why is it that so many married couples no longer hold hands? Probably doesn't matter why. What does matter is that you not lose touch (pardon the pun) with this trademark method of connecting. It could very well be one of the most important things you do all day. Continue... Excerpted from THE LOVE LIST by DRS. LES AND LESLIE PARROTT Copyright © 2002 by Les and Leslie Parrott Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.