The very best gift we can give our families is what has sometimes been called "whole-hearted love."

I'm Dr. James Dobson with Focus on the Family.

Two friends of mine, Gary Smalley and Dr. John Trent have written a wonderful book called, The Two Sides of Love. They point out that love has two parts: a hard side and a soft side--and most of us favor one or the other.

People who lean to the hard side tend to be tough, firm, critical and confrontational when a wrong has been committed. They are good problem solvers, but they can be tough on people who deal with them. Those of us who lean toward the soft side are sympathetic, sensitive and forgiving. They care deeply about people, but they have a hard time confronting a problem.

Smalley and Trent make the important point that relationships need both sides of love. The best thing we can do for our spouse and children is recognize our tendencies and strive for balance. If we're too far over into the hard side, we need to learn sensitivity and compassion. If the soft side comes easy to us, perhaps we should learn how to lovingly confront.

We should make the decision to love whole-heartedly. By understanding and modifying what we were born with, we can bond together better and increase our intimacy with one another. This is Dr. James Dobson for Focus on the Family.

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