UW News

January 30, 1998

How do I love thee? Instead of counting the ways, ‘The Love Test’ offers couples 32 scientific quizzes to measure their relationship

Imagine what might have happened if Paul Simon had been a social scientist instead of a song writer. Somewhere along the line he would have stopped counting those “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” and focused on finding ways to keep his lover around.

The result might have turned out like “The Love Test,” a new book filled with 32 romance and relationship-oriented quizzes created by psychologists and sociologists. Compiled by two University of Washington sociologists, “The Love Test” is designed to help individuals and couples explore the dynamics of their relationships by using scientifically validated self-quizzes. The book was created for the general public — people in happy relationships, in unhappy relationships, those thinking about getting into a relationship and those trying to figure out what went wrong in their last one.

While the book is being published in time for Valentine’s Day, co-author Virginia Rutter says it is designed for year-round use, self awareness and fun. Quizzes in the book are divided into six sections: falling in love, staying in love and being close, key emotional areas, sex with someone you love, getting a fair deal, and serious relationship issues. (Portions of a sample quiz are attached.)

“The difference between the tests in this book and those found in magazines is that ours actually measure attitudes and communication patterns between people. They are research tools that have been tested and validated so we are sure they really measure what they claim to,” says Rutter, an author and Ph.D. student in sociology. Her co-author is Pepper Schwartz, a UW sociology professor.

There are no pass/fail quizzes in the book. Instead, the tests are designed to “open people’s minds to all the ways they can have a happy relationship,” says Rutter. People in relationships also can look at their partner with empathy and learn what the relation- ship means to their partner. “I’m amazed at how even in a good active relationship people don’t completely know the universe of the other person.”

She adds that the quizzes also offer people an opportunity to look singly or together at their relationship. “It’s important to take time to care about how your relationship is doing.” Equally important is that the quizzes appeal to both sexes. Men will like them because they are “concrete, and don’t treat them like they are cave-men or Martians,” Women will appreciate quizzes looking at getting a fair deal on practical issues and emotions, as well as the focus on identifying the common ground between men and women.

Rutter and Schwartz emphasize that their book is built around a theme of matching.

“We know from research that couples tend to be better off if they match on emotional styles, values and ambitions,” says Rutter. “The quizzes in the book are an opportunity for people to learn where they are compatible and not compatible. It’s useful to know what the differences are between partners, and also to know a couple is not doomed because of differences. Understanding and valuing differences in your partner can help a couple stay happy.”

“The Love Test” is published by Perigee, an imprint of Penguin Putnam.


For more information, contact Rutter at vrutter@u.washington.edu or (206) 706-8413.

For a review copy of “The Love Test,” contact Colleen Lindlar at Penguin Putnam at (212) 951-8912 or lcolleen@putnam.com.


Review the 11 traditional romantic activities below and indicate how important each is in your ideal romantic relationship using the scale of one to five.

1 — not at all important.
2 — unimportant.
3 — neither important or unimportant.
4 — important.
5 — extremely important.

Your score

1. Saying I love you _____
2. Lying about in front of a fire _____
3. Cuddling _____
4. Walking on the beach _____
5. Walking in the moonlight _____
6. Hearing “I love you” _____
7. Receiving a special card _____
8. Sharing hopes and dreams _____
9. Touching each other _____
10. Finding love notes from each other _____
11. Being together out in nature _____

Total score _____

The range of possible scores, if you marked everything is 11 to 55.

In research on romantic activities, about two-thirds of respondents scored between 41 and 53 on these traditional romantic items. If your score was below 30 then you are not particularly interested in traditional romance, but you may be interested in other kinds of romance. These questions were taken from “The Romantic Top 20 Quiz,” which was based on research by Daniel Prentice, Nancy Briggs and David Bradley. The entire quiz, which also includes nine questions about sexuality and romance, is printed in “The Love Test.”