Love Sense Book Summary - Love Sense Book explained in key points
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Love Sense summary

Sue Johnson

The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships

4.4 (349 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

'Love Sense' by Sue Johnson is a guide to understanding and improving romantic relationships. Drawing on scientific research and her own experience as a therapist, Johnson offers practical advice for developing deeper connections and resolving conflicts with your partner.

Table of Contents

    Love Sense
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Love, though hard to define, is an essential part of human experience.

    Have you ever been in love?

    If you have, then you know how it is: Love is a powerful force that captures us, overwhelms us. It can make us feel weak and giddy, light and elated, or even trapped and desperate.

    As humans, we all yearn for this thing called love – but we don’t really understand it. Love is a beautiful riddle that no one has ever been able to figure out. 

    Here’s the key message: Love, though hard to define, is an essential part of human experience.

    Throughout the ages, people have struggled to define love. The Greeks, for instance, identified four kinds of love. One of these was eros – the name given to passionate, or sensual, love. However, the Greeks could never quite decide whether this involved sexual desire or not.

    Countless poets have made love their theme. Shakespeare, for instance, dramatized star-crossed love in Romeo and Juliet – a play about two lovers who are thwarted by their warring families.

    Then there’s the view of evolutionary biologists who argue that love is simply nature’s way of encouraging reproduction.

    Love may always elude precise definition – and this can be frustrating for those of us trying to find love, or to keep it. One thing we do know for certain is that, for the first time in history, love is now the primary reason people get together in the first place.

    Let’s explain. In Shakespeare’s day, romantic love wasn’t necessarily considered an essential part of life. If anything, it was regarded as a luxury. Back in the sixteenth century, most people were focused on the struggle to survive; they tied themselves to their families and their communities to ensure they had food, shelter, and protection.

    Even marriage was all about survival. For most people, it was a means of building a family that could help with tending the land and running the farm. More affluent individuals married to increase their power and wealth, and to produce heirs that could inherit titles and estates.

    In the West, these ideas have changed dramatically over the last few centuries. In the 1990s, as vast numbers of women entered the workforce and became financially independent, marriage ceased to be regarded as necessary for survival. Today, marrying for love is the norm. 

    As sociologist Anthony Giddens puts it, Westerners began regarding love not as an economic enterprise, but as an “emotional enterprise.”

    Today, the relationships we have with our lovers are arguably the most important relationships in our lives. That’s why it’s crucial for us to understand how love works. We’ll take a look at this in the following blinks.

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    What is Love Sense about?

    Love Sense (2013) is an exploration of the science of love. These blinks suggest that humans instinctively desire to connect with each other, and that relationship problems arise when lovers no longer feel secure. They also offer practical strategies for how to develop your love sense – that is, your ability to create fulfilling and long-lasting bonds with your loved ones.

    Best quote from Love Sense

    A stable loving relationship is the cornerstone of human happiness and general well-being.

    —Sue Johnson
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    Who should read Love Sense?

    • People aspiring to form long-lasting relationships
    • Those who have been in and out of fleeting romances
    • Lovers struggling with relationship difficulties

    About the Author

    Dr. Sue Johnson is a clinical psychologist and couples therapist, and the primary developer of emotionally focused couples and family therapy. She’s also a research professor at Alliant International University, in San Diego, and a professor emeritus at the University of Ottawa.

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