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An Interview with Carol Ritberger, Ph.D.

1. What is the difference between your book and other books about love?

In researching other books on relationships and love, I found while there were many that promised to provide the secret to creating mutually satisfying relationships or explained what to do and not to do to get love or told you how to find Mr. or Ms. Right, none really got to the core of why we define love the way we do, express love the way we do, or why we are attracted to some people and not others. The more I read about love, the more I realized how important the role of personality is in our finding, creating, and sustaining the relationships that not only meet our love needs and expectations but our partner's love needs and expectations too. You see, love means different things to different people, and it's those differences that ultimately leave us asking, “How can relationships work at all?” However, once you understand personality, both yours and your partner's, it's easier to understand why you may not see things the same way and, consequently may not react or respond the same way when you don't see eye-to-eye. Another way to say it is – it helps you see that they really aren't trying to make your life miserable as you might sometimes believe. It's just that they are different.

2. How much does personality impact the comprehension of love?

There is a tremendous price we pay in our hearts and in our love relationships when we don't understand that it's personality that basically drives everything we do, even to the point of determining how we think, why we act the way we do, the words we use to communicate, how we love, who we love, and the expectations we have around love. It is helpful if we remember that personality isn't only the result of our experiences and conditioning. It's an inherent part of our neurological genetic hardwiring in the brain. As a result, it's what directs how we gather information, process information and determines how we make decisions and it's this hardwiring that determines how we define love and the perception we have of it. It even drives how we express love through what I call the Splendors of Love – the expressions we use to say, “I Love you,” “I care about you,” and, “I'm glad you're in my life.”

3. What are these Splendors of Love?

The splendors of love are romance, passion, intimacy, sex, communications, and commitment. Each personality not only views these splendors differently, they express them differently and have different needs around them. Each of these splendors is a necessary component of what sustains a relationship and are what makes it easier for us to give ourselves and our partner the kind of love that feeds the needs of the heart and forms the sacred union between two people. They also provide the greatest opportunity for us to make sense of this thing called love.

4. You define different personality types by color. Why did you choose to go this route rather than using name descriptions as most other personality assessments do?

My personality behavioral psychology background is based on the work of Carl Jung, and the use of the Myers-Briggs Personality Profile, which identifies the different personality types based on the combination of letters. And, while I believe the Myers-Briggs is one of the more user- friendly personality assessments offered, it falls short in the fact that after 30 days or so, people cannot remember their letters. I also found that people are resistant to being labeled with names because it boxes them in to a particular behavioral category. To overcome some of the negativity around categorization, I followed the path presented by Dr. Max Luscher, who chose to look at personality differences from the perspective of color. This approach is effective, non-threatening and easy for people to remember. After all, color is a common language we use everyday to describe how we are feeling. The use of color also makes it much easier to deal with personality differences, especially in a conflict situation. For example, wouldn't it be better to point out that someone is being Red than calling them control freaks?

5. How does a person find their personality color?

There is a personality assessment included in the book that identifies a person's personality color. There are four different personality colors, Red, Orange, Yellow and Green. The assessment includes a series of statements that speak to the brain in a way that identifies how the person gathers information, processes information and makes decisions. It also includes a self-scoring key. Once a person knows their color, there are detailed descriptions of each of the four colors. I must warn you however, once you start to see other people through the eyes of personality colors, it will change not only the way you interact with them, it will improve how communicate with them. You may even find yourself appreciating the very things about them that used to cause you frustration in the past.

6. How then does each color perceive love?

  • The Red personality perceives love as being conditional, meaning that they'll give you their love if you take care of their needs first. Consequently, they have a lot of expectations around what love should be and what they expect from their relationships.
  • Love to the Orange is selfless, and means putting the emotional needs of others before their own needs. They see love as representing a deep emotional bond between two people and forming a commitment so strong that it can withstand the ups and downs that all relationships experience over the course of time.
  • Yellows perceive love as being complicated and hard to define. They see it as being global, meaning that there are different kinds of love and different magnitudes of loving something or someone. Love for the Yellow is a state of mind, and how they express love is solely dependent on where they are mentally.
  • Greens see love as being a celestial event, a harmonic convergence, the merging of two people to create one, the sacred union between the soul, the mind, and the body. It is a spiritual connection and they make love fun.

7. How can your book help someone find, attract, and keep the right person?

If you know your personality color and you understand the other personality colors, it will be easier for you define the qualities of the person who would be most compatible with you. It will also help you identify earlier on in the dating cycle whether this person is the right one for you, thus saving a lot of time and decreasing the potential for disappointment and heartbreak. There is an interesting aspect of human nature, and that is we seem to be attracted to people who are opposite from us. Initially, when love is new and exciting this works. However, as the relationship progresses and matures, those differences ultimately become the source of contention, misunderstandings, miscommunications, and frequently hurt feelings. Understanding personality helps you focus on the positive contributions you each bring to the relationship and in doing so, makes it easier to accept each other for who you truly are. And, acceptance is the key to keeping the relationship going.

8. How can your book help someone change a relationship that isn't working?

The process of developing and sustaining a relationship isn't an easy matter nor is it necessarily smooth sailing. Relationships demand a great deal of time, energy and work, and require the willingness to compromise frequently. They test our commitment to hang in there when we don't see eye-to-eye and when the going gets tough. However, the problem with problems isn't that we have them – it's how we chose to deal with them. We can chose to pretend the problems don't exist, or we can ignore them in hopes they will go away, or in some cases even hope the person to goes away. The understanding of personality offers the opportunity to not only learn more about each other's needs, it reveals our irritations – the things that just grate on the nerves and cause emotional outbursts. If we know what these irritations are we can work with them and avoid their pitfalls. We can heighten our awareness of the warning signs, and when they rear their head, discuss them in a way that deals with the issues and avoids personal attacks. In my book, I look at each of the common conflict issues such as money, sex, values, and responsibility all from the perspective of personality color. Then I offer Dos and Don'ts in how to handle each of these sensitive areas.

9. What would you consider to be the number one problem common in all relationships?

Communication without a doubt. In fact, in my surveying couples, I asked this specific question and they all said that the most difficult part of their relationship was keeping the lines of communication open, especially in difficult times when the tendency is to stop talking. I heard a quote that really rings true of the communication process. It is “The problem with communication is the illusion that it has been achieved.” We all want to be heard, to responded to, and evenly more importantly, to be understood. However, different personality colors use different words to communicate what they are thinking or feeling. For example, the Red and Yellow personality will ask their partner “What are you thinking?” and the Orange and Green personality will ask their partner, “Why do you feel that way?” While, both imply the same thing, the words don't elicit the same response. The word what is logical and requires a person to respond. The word why is emotional and rather than getting a logical response, you'll end up getting an emotional reaction. When this happens to the Red or Yellow it's like being a deer caught in headlights. The Love book offers many other tips and suggestions on how to improve communications and it even teaches you how to speak Red, Orange, Yellow or Green. The bottom-line is the more you understand personality the easier it is to keep the lines of communication open.

10. If there is one thing that you want the reader to leave with after reading your book, what would that be?

I believe it would be that intimacy has many facets to it and if your needs around intimacy are different than your partner's then it's going to not only be difficult to keep the flames of love burning bright, it's going to be difficult to keep the relationship alive. You see intimacy is what connects us at the deeper level with someone. It's the glue that binds two people together and makes it possible for them to weather the stormy times. It is what creates a mutually satisfying relationship where the needs of both people are fulfilled. Yet, intimacy has four facets to it: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, and each personality color has a preference from the most important to the least important. For example, in the understanding that opposites do truly attract, especially in the initial stages of creating a relationship, those differences will ultimately become the points of contention that can cause a relationship to whither and die. Let's look at a personality color (both male and female), whose needs begin with physical intimacy. This means they need the touching, the physical foreplay and the sex in order to feel that bond with their partner. However, their least important expression of intimacy is emotional. What happens when they are paired with a partner whose intimacy needs begin with emotional? There is a very good chance that their emotional needs will not be met, which can cause them to feel insecure in the relationship or feel they cannot express their emotional needs. This book looks at and prioritizes the intimacy needs for each color in a way that every color can immediately apply the information to their relationship and immediately improve the quality of it. Just that information alone is worth the time to read the book.