The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

Co-authors of thirty books

Co-founder and co-director, Center for Relationship Development, 1991

Les is a professor of clinical psychology at Seattle Pacific University

Leslie is a marriage and family therapist at Seattle Pacific University

Newspaper/Magazine contributions: :USA Today, New York Times, L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, Women’s Day, Family Circle, Brides, Men’s Health, Marriage Partnership, Psychology Today

Television appearances: Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, CNN Today, Home & Family Show, Fox News Channel

Center for Relationship Development
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle, WA 98119
Web Site
Visit to take the Love Talk Indicator, or purchase the Love Talk book and get the Love Talk Indicator as a bonus!
Love Talk
(Zondervan, 2004)
A Closer Look Fact Sheet

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott Help Couples Communicate Love

The 700 Club
February 4, 2005


Married 20 years, Les and Leslie Parrott say they’ve been on a twenty-year quest for good communication in marriage for themselves and for other married couples. Les says that the quality of a relationship can be easily measured by the quality of the communication in that relationship. The Parrotts have looked at their own relationship communications and those of others around them, and they have developed what they believe are the ultimate keys for improving communication.


The Parrotts point out that each and every one of us has a fear of losing something we value in the daily exchanges of our lives. We fear losing time, approval, loyalty, or quality. Our fear factor contributes positive and negative influences to our communication. Identifying your fear factor and your partner’s fear factor can allow you to address conversation in such a way as to protect what the Parrotts call your emotional safety zone.

The Parrotts say couples can achieve a level of conversational intimacy once they learn how to eliminate the fear factor and operate in the emotional safety zone. This kind of conversation is satisfying and productive. Once you’ve identified your fear factor, these four questions will help you build your own emotional safety zone.

The Parrotts say once you answer these questions, you’ll know your own talk style, and from there you can establish real love talk.


The Parrotts have developed an online tool to aid couples in identifying their fear factors. The assessment tool provides a detailed assessment of each person’s fear factors. Then it compiles the two sets of information into a practical, tangible document describing how couples fear factors interface and how they can work to create the emotional safety zone in which strong, positive communication can take place.


The Parrotts insist that good communication requires ongoing practice. Even these communication gurus still slip up, as evidenced in what they call the “buck up” story. Les was to fly out one morning recently for a speaking engagement. The night before, their youngest son got sick and was running a high fever. The weather forecast was for heavy snowfall. Leslie mentioned several times that the family needed to leave early enough to get gas in the car since she knew the level was low. The next morning, as time went by quickly, the snow deepened, the child’s fever raged, and the time for a gas stop evaporated. As Leslie puts it, after dropping Les at the airport, she coasted into the gas station on fumes. That’s when she discovered that she had no cash in her purse, and because of a large credit card purchase Les had made, the credit card company was requiring an information verification before her credit card would work. With her patience waning, she called Les on the cell phone to obtain the needed credit card information to reactivate their card. What Leslie hoped for was to hear her husband acknowledge what a difficult and scary position she was in with her child crying and the snow flurrying and no money for gas. Instead, what Les said to her was, “Buck up, you can handle this.” Leslie’s fear factor was engaged. She went home and fired off an e-mail to her less-than-empathetic husband. He received it and shared it with the room full of people who all got a hearty laugh at his expense.

The Parrotts point to this and other personal anecdotes to show couples that the more knowledge they have about their spouse's emotional safety needs, the more likely their communication will be satisfying and not damaging. The ultimate result will be an improvement in the quality of their relationship.

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