Book Review: Falling in Love For All the Right Reasons

By | April 11, 2014

Falling in Love for All the Right Reasons” is a book by Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony. The book describes all of the dimensions which eHarmony has come up with which make for good, long-lasting relationships. I personally think this book is an excellent reference which I’d recommend to almost anyone who is dating or would like to be. This book could be your brain when your judgement is foggy due to your feelings of attraction. It contains a bunch of solid, well researched advice. It’s logic minus the feelings which can help with the perspective you may wish you had when in love. However, if you’re a person who just wants to go with whatever you feel at the moment and don’t really want to think about it, then you aren’t likely to enjoy this book.

When reading this book, I recommend skipping straight to chapter 3. I can sum up everything before this: in his counseling practice, Dr. Warren recognized things which caused conflict in marriage. In order to attempt to reduce divorce, he wants to encourage people to only marry someone they’re well matched to. In order to match people, he and a group of others started eHarmony. There are a few good nuggets prior to chapter 3 but for the most part, the remainder of the first two chapters is repetitive and sounds like a commercial for eHarmony (as one other reviewer noted).

Each chapter beginning with chapter 3 onward describes one of the dimensions of matching. Dr. Warren talks about there being 29 dimensions, but I would actually count 30 once you add in chemistry. In any case, the dimensions are divided into groups which I personally grouped a bit different than the book. There are two primary categories I saw: filtering dimensions and matching dimensions. Filtering dimensions are generally the same for everyone and involve screening out people who would make bad partners for anyone. For example, people who are dishonest, harsh, and exhibit other red flags fall into this category.

The second category which encompasses the majority of the dimensions is what I’d call matching dimensions. These are things which aren’t good nor bad, but which it is good to be relatively similar to one another in. For example, intelligence: if a very intelligent person marries someone who isn’t very bright, it’s very likely to cause tension (as well as seriously limiting their level of intimacy). On the other hand, if two people have a similar level of intellect, it will allow them to connect with one another better. There are also a few dimensions discussed which don’t fall under either of these categories, such as learning to communicate and how to deal with families.

Though I believe this book is a valuable resource, it can also give the impression that finding a match is a nearly impossible task. After all, Dr. Warren advises not to marry someone unless you match in nearly all 29 (30) dimensions! How on earth are we to find someone who matches us in that many areas? On one hand, it may not be quite as bad as it sounds. Many of the dimensions are related, and if you find someone who is kind for instance, chances are they have good character and handle their anger well. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of ways in which two people need to be similar. Dr. Warren’s answer to this problem is eHarmony which attempts to determine what a person is like and then match people who are similar.

It’s interesting to me that, at the time of the book’s writing (copyright date of 2005), Dr. Warren says the site has had six million registrants and they are aware of over six-thousand marriages (which of course means 12,000 people getting married). I did the math; this means that eHarmony is aware of marriages for only two tenths of one percent of those who’ve used eHarmony. That’s fairly stunning for a site whose goal is to lead people to marriage. Even if there have been several times the number of weddings than what they know of, that’s still only perhaps 4 to 8 tenths of a percent success rate. I don’t know if there’s a better way to match people, but that doesn’t sound very promising. Though Dr. Warren does say, it’s better to be single than in a bad marriage.

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