WMU News

WMU professor tapped for new book on love

Feb. 9, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Why do fools fall in love?

That age-old question is explored by 32 authors, including a Western Michigan University professor, in the new book "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," published by Jossey-Bass books and products.

Dr. Karen R. Blaisure, associate professor of family and consumer sciences, was among a large group of marriage and family experts and therapists sought out for their input on the timeless question of why people fall in love and the nature of love. Editors asked experts to write 1,000-word essays and then chose those that are included in the book. Besides the essays, the book contains quotes from celebrity couples about their relationships.

The book was edited by Dr. Janice R. Levine, an author and clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Howard J. Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Denver and a leading marital researcher. It is sold in bookstores nationwide and at various Web sites like amazon.com.

In addition to her teaching duties, Blaisure is a licensed marriage and family therapist and regularly facilitates couple education classes throughout the state. Borrowing from a 1997 interview with poet and author Maya Angelou, she wrote about how being in a successful relationship demands our own personal growth.

In her chapter, titled "Thriving, Not Surviving," Blaisure explores the concept of couples bringing out the best in each other as an important underpinning of a successful relationship. She contends that underlying that concept are four important components: passion, which transcends lust and romance; compassion, which calls us to commit deeply to each other while recognizing the other person's imperfections; humor, which builds a shared rhythm and minimizes life's daily distractions; and style, which requires us to be ourselves and celebrate our own unique way of being while accepting our companion "as is."

"I wrote about how we become our best in a relationship," Blaisure says, "and how a relationship brings out the best version of ourselves and forces us to mature emotionally and spiritually."

The book is divided into four broad sections: Magic, Meaning, Marriage and Mastery. Blaisure's essay falls under the latter section. Interspersed throughout the book are pearls of wit and wisdom from celebrity couples on love and what makes a relationship successful. Blaisure's essay is accompanied by a quote from Annette Benning on her relationship with Warren Beatty. Other celebrity couples include Cokie and Steve Roberts, George and Barbara Bush, Christopher Reeve and Dana Morosine, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Ronald and Nancy Reagan and others.

The book's authors attempt to define what love is and why it is so compelling. The 32 marriage and family experts set aside their professional personae to explain the mystery of love in a simple, warm and illuminating way. Though relationship experts routinely instruct couples on how to find a mate, save their marriages or improve their sex lives, the book's editors contend that all this advice is meaningless unless people experience or master the underlying, magical and powerful emotion that binds couples together "no matter what."

Blaisure says it was a pleasure to be part of the book.

"This was a wonderful opportunity for researchers and practitioners to share some ideas from their hearts," Blaisure says, "and those hearts are informed by research, good practice and their life experiences."

For additional comment, Blaisure can be reached daily at (616) 387-3663.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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