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An Interview with Les Parrott: His Latest Book

Your relationships can only be as healthy as you are. That’s why this book is a roadmap to personal health and well-being. It’s the single most important thing you can read for your relationships.”

Dr. Les Parrott and his wife, Dr. Leslie Parrott, release their new book Healthy Me, Health Us on May 5th, the latest in the husband-wife team’s series of books on how to cultivate positive relationships. After having previously co-authored more than a dozen books on relationships, Healthy Me, Health Us aims to expand and deepen their central arguments about how best to ensure quality relationships. In this interview, Les Parrott joins Solomon Green to discuss the conception of their latest book, as well as to provide a few practical insights from Healthy Me, Health Us.

As we await the release of your new book, can you describe the process by which you came to write it? 

This is a cornerstone message for us. We didn’t just dream up this idea for a book and begin writing it. The concept has been percolating for more than two decades. After writing more than a dozen relationship books filled with practical tips, techniques and strategies, we wanted to go deeper. We wanted to get to the ultimate core of what it takes to build healthy relationships. And it’s an inside job. It begins with you! Your relationships can only be as healthy as you are. That’s why this book is a roadmap to personal health and well-being. It’s the single most important thing you can read for your relationships. 

Can you describe how this book complements, builds on, or is different from your more than a dozen previous books? 

In many ways, this book is the foundation to everything else we’ve written. Our books include Love Talk (about communication), The Good Fight (about conflict), Your Time Starved Marriage (about meaningful connections), Crazy Good Sex (about, well, sex). And all of these contain research and strategies to help couples improve their relationships. But in the end, if someone doesn’t get the message of this latest book, Healthy Me, Healthy Us, they will continually fall short on all other practices.  

You have described this single distillation of your wisdom to: “If you try to build intimacy with another person before you have gotten whole on your own, all your relationships become an attempt to complete yourself.” What are some of the other essential takeaways?

Well, the takeaways are very specific. First, we want you to have a deep sense of your personal significance. This is where your emotional well-being begins. And it is not something you earn. Like a $100 bill, no matter how wrinkled, stomped on, or dirty, it still has the same value as every other $100 bill. Second, we want you to have a deep sense of purpose. We call it “unswerving authenticity” because it empowers you to stay on your path no matter what anyone else says or thinks. It means being true to you and your call. And third, we want you to get a lock on self-giving love. Ultimately, your sense of well-being only matters when you begins to give yourself away: when you love at the highest levels. And that’s typically exhibited through empathy, the capacity to see the world accurately from another person’s perspective. Most of us think we do that better than we actually do. But everyone needs to be more intentional with this. And when you have two people enjoying mutual empathy, you will have created one of the safest and most fulfilling places on the planet. 

You obviously provide important advice as to how to create meaningful relationships. What are some of the biggest misconnections floating around our society about how to pursue meaningful relationships that you think are off base and potentially leading people astray? 

The biggest misnomer is that someone can “complete” you. We see it on greeting cards, in movies, love stories, and so on. Truth be told, nobody can complete you. Ultimately, you have to get healthy and whole on your own. If you’re looking for someone to be your shortcut to well-being, you’ll be disappointed, and the relationship will fall flat.  Guaranteed. We can help each other on the path to wholeness, as iron sharpens iron, but ultimately it’s our own responsibility.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing families and relationships today that might not have been present in decades past? 

We all know that technology is a double-edge sword. It adds so much value to our lives when it comes to productivity, entertainment, and, yes, connectivity. But it can also rob us of a more profound interpersonal experience with the ones we love. On top of that, especially for families, is that we have all but lost the family dinner hour. It used to be that this was a time when everyone in the home gathered and debriefed their day, raised important questions, discussed dreams, and so on. These days too many of our kitchens have turned into food courts with everyone doing their own thing. Of course, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed this for many families that are rediscovering the value of what we call “the hour that matters most.”

What do you anticipate being your next project once this book is published and released?  

Our research is leading us to drill deeper into authenticity and the value we find in a better sense of clarity. It’s difficult to get an accurate picture of yourself. And self-awareness is so essential to our relationships. That’s why we have devoted the last many years to building world-class online assessments like BetterLove.com.  When you get an accurate picture of yourself you can then, an only then, do something about it. As we like to say, awareness is curative.

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