Media Review | Love Cycles: The Five Essential Stages of Lasting Love »

Linda Carroll, Published by New World Library |

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In “Love Cycles,” Linda Carroll maps out five stages of love, starting with Merge and, if couples make good choices, ending with Wholehearted Loving. In between are stages of Doubt and Denial, Disillusionment and Decision.

The author offers a quiz to help identify the stage the reader is currently in. For each stage, Carroll offers stories of couples with familiar archetypes and insights about causes of dysfunction and suggests helpful skills for dealing with conflict.

Carroll, however, overstates the nature of these cycles. “[T]hese stages are inevitable rather than a sign that we are with the wrong person.” Viewed through the lens of Religious Science, the idea that any particular life experience is “inevitable” is dubious. Rather, any experience is inescapable only if we believe it is inescapable. Carroll acknowledges that we don’t all move through the steps in one steady line.

She asserts over and over again that developing and nurturing a relationship is hard work and that learning to love another person is difficult. These assertions begin to jump off the page and beg the question, “Exactly what would I manifest in my life if I were to accept these ideas as truth?” Her overarching attitude is that every couple is predestined to this five-step journey through a minefield fraught with insecurity, misunderstandings and repressed emotions.

Although Carroll has undoubtedly counseled those who have gone through the stages she describes, generalizing these cases as an inevitable process underestimates the effect of individual choice and the power of Mind.

 — Nancy Anderson

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