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July 29, 2015
Latter-day Books
New Books: Love and Relationships
by Laurie Williams Sowby

The topic of relationships gets top billing in this week's two book selections, with high recommendations for both. I can't say enough good things about either.

The first is for those in the dating stage. Relationship building is treated with humor, insight, and practical advice in Base Hits and Home Runs: What Women Wish Guys Knew (Cedar Fort Publishing 2015, 276 pages in soft cover, $18.99). The woman speaking from experience here is Trina Boice, who enlists sports metaphors and the aid of her twenty-something son, "Coach Cooper," in rallying eligible young LDS bachelors toward more meaningful relationships with the opposite sex.

The topics are on-target as the book moves from simply playing ball to the minor leagues and then the majors. How to flirt, dress, compliment, plan dates, listen, score points with her friends, and work up to the first kiss are all covered, along with crucial aspects such as defining the relationship and continuing courtship after marriage and even after children. Boice's explanations (translations?) of what women are thinking in various situations and stages of a relationship could be a major revelation to male readers.

Interesting stats, assignments to put the principles into practice, and quotes from sports figures round out the chapters. The author is careful to reference scriptures, quotes, and research without detracting from the lively conversation. For less than 20 bucks, this book is a great investment for any young man who wants to get serious about finding--and being--"the one."

More serious in tone is Love is a Choice (Deseret Book 2015, 273 pages in hard cover, $24.99). Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy approaches the topic of maintaining relationships through modeling them on principles of the gospel and attributes of the Savior.

In the first part, "Choosing Love," he speaks of "growing in love" as opposed to the more temporary "falling in love" and teaches about the Lord's way as opposed to "the wrong way," both obvious and less so. Elder Robbins presents it all in the context of families and the eternal perspective. Scriptures and gospel-centered explanations address couples at all stages, from newlyweds to parents and eventually empty-nesters.

He goes into depth in chapters on agency and love in marriage, accepting the responsibility to repent and forgive that comes with agency, following the Savior's example and understanding how his Atonement can strengthen marriage and family, the interconnectedness of love and self-reliance, respecting children's agency, and choosing happiness.

Part II offers additional "Resources for Practicing Great Choices," with a look at financial unity in "One Heart, Mind, and Bank Account" and helps for family home evening in another chapter. Some 60 pages of appendix are devoted to "Christlike Virtues" which could individually be studied and discussed in relation to their role in creating strong, loving relationships.

Both books are solid resources for readers who want to improve their relationships by improving themselves.

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