cover image Secrets to Lasting Love

Secrets to Lasting Love

Gary Smalley. Simon & Schuster, $23 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-684-85050-4

Well known in the Christian market, where most of his books and videos have been sold, Smalley now brings his expertise in what he calls ""the skills of relationship science"" to the wider public. His latest book will appeal primarily to couples in traditional sex roles who are willing to experiment with structured exercises for improving communication. Advising partners on how to argue better and how to nurture each other, the book aims to refresh stale relationships by unburdening them of clich s (""How was your day?"") and helping couples inject their conversations with facts, opinions and feelings, and ultimately reveal their innermost needs. A practiced hand in the self-help genre, Smalley weaves remarkably candid anecdotes from his own marriage throughout the text; he also refers to his other books and to some authors who may not be familiar to mainstream audiences. Some of the exercises that are successful in his seminars might backfire without supervision, such as a key technique, dubbed ""drive-through conversation,"" that's patterned on how fast food personnel repeat customer orders. A quiz in which readers assess the ""color personalities"" in a relationship is an engaging digression without analysis. Despite the book's limitations, this enterprising author will no doubt capture a broader following. Agent, Jan Miller. (Feb.)