On Your Bookshelf: The Best Relationship Books for Couples
Whether you feel like your relationship is stuck in a rut, or you just believe there may be ways to improve an already healthy, and great relationship, relationship books are an excellent resource that can provide insight and advice for how to navigate different relationship complexities and problems. Relationship books tend to be more general, than in-person therapy sessions, but are able to provide really good advice and anecdotes for common relationship problems. And while every couple has different struggles, a lot of our problems are fairly universal and can be improved with the help of relationship books for couples. Here are a couple relationship books to check out:
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Love languages are a fairly new theory about communication that are gaining widespread popularity, because of the simplicity of the concept. Essentially, every person has a preferred way (or combination of ways) to give and receive love. The five love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. In this book, Chapman explains the different love languages, helps readers understand their preferred love language(s) and gives advice to navigate relationships with partners who have different preferred ways of giving and receiving love. This book is super instructional, and can help you and your partner navigate the challenges of mismatching love languages.
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Making Marriage Simple by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt
Making Marriage Simple is a book intended specifically for married couples, but can actually be a great resource for any serious couple, married or not. The authors are both Ph.D.’s, who specialize in marriage counseling and are a married couple themselves. In their book, they distill the ten essential truths central to every happy marriage. Each essential truth is elaborated upon in a chapter, with straight-forward and practical advice. The couple writes not only from their experience as professional marriage counselors, but also from personal experience as a couple that was on the brink of divorce. This book marries professional advice with personal experience in a relatable and practical way. Definitely worth checking out if you are looking for general tips to improve your partnership.
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman
Ever heard of the Gottman Method? The Gottman Method is a methodology for marriage counseling pioneered by Dr. John Gottman, who used clinical, scientific research to create an evidence-based therapy method. His book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” not only explains his findings and the basis of his methodology, but it also includes questionnaires and exercises to work through as a couple. This book is a great resource to use if you and your partner are considering marriage counseling, but do not have the time or money to pursue formal counseling. This book breaks down the tried and true Gottman methodology and provides interactive ways to improve your marriage in a manner similar to in-person counseling.
Married…But Lonely: Stop Merely Existing, Start Living Intimately by David Clarke
A common problem for a lot of long-term relationships, not just marriages, is the loss of intimacy over time. This can be due to a variety of different things, the end of the honeymoon stage, feeling too comfortable in the relationship or a lack of time and energy to commit to intimacy, among other things. Regardless of the reason for the lack of intimacy, there are actionable ways to increase intimacy in your relationships. Clarke is a christian psychologist aimed at tackling this problem. Clarke’s roots a lot of his methodology in the bible and in the christian religion. Clarke’s book is primarily geared towards heterosexual couples, written to the wife with ‘seven steps to a new husband’. Clarke explains how to reintroduce intimacy, both emotional and physical back into your marriage. While this book is written with wives in mind, the advice can be applied to husbands and same-sex couples experiencing problems with intimacy.
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Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
There comes a time in every relationship when you need to have an important conversation, whether it’s about a disagreement, taking next steps or planning for the future. Sometimes these important conversations can be very difficult to have, leading people to avoiding important topics which can create big problems in a relationship. This book helps provide strategies and tools to use when preparing to/having an important conversation with your partner. This book focuses on ways to discuss difficult things directly, create a safe space for sharing things with one another, and critical listening skills so that your partner feels heard when they bring things to your attention. Important conversations are often scary to have, so having a few tips in your back pocket can help the conversation go more smoothly, improving your communication and your overall relationship.
As we’ve discussed, relationship books can be a super helpful resource for couples that are looking for help navigating different aspects of their relationship. And while they can be a great resource for many couples, they don’t work well for everyone. Reading relationship books can be super time-consuming, and unfortunately, the books won’t improve your relationship unless you take them off the shelf and read them. If you don’t have the time to read a relationship book, or don’t have the energy it takes to read through and absorb the information in this type of book, you should consider other ways to improve your relationship. Relish is a great resource for busy couples that want to avoid the cost and time associated with traditional therapy, but also don’t have the time to read through relationship books. Relish is an app that is super easy to use, that provides a step-by-step approach that keeps both people engaged in the process of improving the relationship.
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