I’m very excited about today’s post as my love for books is out of this world. I know that sometimes going into a relationship can feel like going into uncharted waters because this is one area people have a hard time understanding. Some make the mistake of trying to compare their relationship with others and doing what they do hoping to get the same result.
Apart from learning from people, books are avenues to contract knowledge, but the problem most times is the fact that people do not know what to read and even when they do, they don’t understand that for every aspect of life there is a book, there is a fountain of knowledge from so many seasoned authors and writers to help you understand the concept of relationships and also help you know what to do.
I’m all about relationships and its one area I love so much especially when I had my first remarkable heartbreak(I’ve had several), reading became my new found hobby as I was desperate for knowledge. I wanted a guide to help me make the right decision and get over it quickly and so I went in search of books about heartbreak and disappointment and devoured them as if my life depended on them.
I gleaned through the contents and consumed them like a hungry soul. When I got better and I got in contact with anyone going through the same experience I was bold enough to recommend them.
So also, several relationship books bother on marriage, relationship, love and dating and other spheres of life but in today’s post, I will be sharing a few relationship books I’ve been privileged to read and have not recovered from their wealth of wisdom. They may not be popular or you may even consider them to be old school but you won’t forget the lessons that will be learned from them in a hurry.
Pulling this together isn’t easy and I know how it feels for other seasoned authors to share their struggles, pain and try to guide you from making the same mistakes. My encouragement to you, my reader, is to get interested and possibly read the relationship books I’d be sharing either online or get yourself the hard copy.
You may say you do not enjoy reading because you are always busy, you can try investing in audiobooks since you can read novels or other books.
Investing in audiobooks should be a big deal, you may have suffered heartbreak because there was information you missed, you may be having a hard time in your relationship because you have not looked into books to learn and know what to do. Anything and information you can get through the internet as well.
I’m a product of not just my experiences in relationships but also the books by seasoned authors that I have read. Want to take your relationship to the next level??? Do you want to know what it takes to make a relationship work??? Then take a seat, relax and let’s explore together some best books on marriage and relationship.
1. Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work By John Gottman And Van Silver
This is one of the best selling relationship books I know. It is a book that is loved by book lovers especially in the area of marriage. It is one of the top relationship books for men and not just women only.
The author is well known for his several years of research on the relationship and close work with several couples. With this, he was able to come up with a set of behaviors that makes relationships work and others that sabotage it. You can get a copy of it here
Why do I recommend this book?? It is a book that centers on friendship as the very foundation for marriage. He says in the book that when your partner is your friend, you become happy; by reason of friendship, you will be able to understand your partner deeply. The areas covered in the book are:
✦ Share Love Maps. What Are Love Maps?
They are part of the brain where you store important information about your partner. It comprises of their likes, dislikes, goals, dreams, and aspirations, terrible and sweet experiences. This goes further to buttress the fact that as you converse you assimilate basic details about your partner which shows you are emotionally intelligent.
The questions in this section are so elaborate and cover every area of relationship.
✦ Nurture Your Fondness And Admiration
The second principle according to Gottman in the book is that it emphasizes the two attributes above as being very important if you want to have a love-filled and lasting relationship.
✦ Turn Towards Each Other Instead Of Turning Off Away
In every relationship, there will be down moments and it’s possible for you to turn away from each other. He exposes exercises to help understand your feelings and that of your partner which will help you honor and respect each other’s feelings even when you don’t agree with it.
✦ Let Your Partner Influence You
This chapter talks about what can happen if a spouse is unwilling to share power with the other and suggest ways to work on it.
✦ Solve Your Solvable Problems
This particular sub-topic in the book reminds me of the serenity of prayer that talks about accepting what you cannot change.
✦ Overcome Gridlocks
He explains the signs of gridlock and offers a checklist to help you know if you are going through one. The way of ending gridlock according to Gottman is not solving the problem but dialoguing and you get to a point where you begin to feel no hurt but learn to live with each other in peace.
✦ Then Finally Create Shared Interests
In conclusion, marriage isn’t about just raising kids, splitting chores and making love but creating an inner life together, rituals and symbols with an appreciation of links and goals. Help you understand what it means to be part of the family you have begun, these are great lessons learned from the book that could help make your marriage work.
I love the different experiences shared by different couples.
2. Relationship Rescue By Dr. Phillip McGraw (Ph.D.)
I came in contact with this book in the mid-2000 when I went on a language course in another location. The cover attracted me as it had a smiling man face on it, I just took a quick look and read it briefly to know what it was all about.
What endeared me to this book is the exercises in it that could help you reflect and also the active exercise for you and your partner. I must say it is a must-read if you want to change in your relationship.
This book covers areas with the following sub-topics: it is your time, defining the problem, blowing up the myths, eliminating your bad spirit, and other steps you need to take to rescue your relationship.
It encourages you to take daily steps by evaluating your needs and constantly asking yourself if “what you are doing is helping or discouraging your relationship with your partner, it also contains lots of surveys and documentation to help you work on your relationship and exposes indicators that a marriage won’t last.
Dr. Phil as he is fondly called talked about a harsh startup where negativity and accusations among other things sets in. The analysis of the 4 horsemen further drives this home. They are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, stonewalling and a host of others.
He gives 4 final stages that show a relationship is close to the end:
- When you feel your marital problems are not solvable.
- You don’t want to talk and prefer to solve issues on your own.
- You start leading separate lives.
- You both become lonely.
At this point, anything is possible as either or both partners may get into an affair if your marriage or relationship seems to be dying.
Note also, that this isn’t one of those relationship books you read in a hurry but one you will have to read not just twice but severally, I’d tag it a call to action where you can take responsibility to change in your relationship.
It also helps to gain clarity on where you are with your partner and how to get out of a stalemate and move into greater depths and where it is not a relationship that you need from it you can gain the confidence to leave. The part that hit me most is when Dr. Phil takes you on a journey to not just fix your relationship but begins the journey with fixing you.
The book Relationship rescue was named #1 New York Times bestseller with millions sold. This book further uncovers that no matter what state you are in your relationship, you are responsible for where you are and also have the power to steer it back on course, he blows up popular myths about what a good relationship is supposed to be.
I wish I wouldn’t have to stop reviewing this book but I will stop here. Other books by him include; life strategies, love smart and some others. You can get a copy of the book here
3. The Five Love Languages By Gary Chapman
This is one of the relationship books that changed my perception of relationships, it’s a simple message to both genders on how to give and receive love and to understand that since we are different, our mode of receiving and accepting love will definitely be different. He explained that there are 5 love languages as the title depicts, which are;
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Receiving gifts
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
Reading this book helped me understand my love language and that of my spouse, I knew my primary love language and it helped my relationship with my man a great deal. It helped me understand how my relationship can take a new turn after “the honeymoon”, I was encouraged because I got this in the early years of my marriage.
I also learned that we can all show love in several ways but it’s best to show it in a way it will be best received by the recipient who could be your lover or spouse.
There are a whole lot of examples in the book you can learn from and that’s why I recommend it. It enhanced my marriage a great deal, if you want to understand your spouse better then it is a must-read.
A bonus– there is a quiz at the end of the book, I advise you do not skip it, take the assessment if possible before reading. The love tank analogy is a great metaphor you must not miss. You can get a copy of the book here
4. Modern Romance By Aziz Ansari And Eric Klinerberg
In life we meet people, establish a friendship, date, go in and out of relationships with the hope of finding someone who compliments us and with whom we share a deep connection, this seems to be the norm but quite different from what was obtainable over decades ago where people do not really have romantic options in a relationship.
With the advancement in technology, our abilities to connect and interact through such romantic options are overwhelming and yet many people are frustrated. Why?
Most modern relationship problems are not farfetched from technology and communication displaying questions such as “my spouse is always on the phone” “my boyfriend just got a message from another girl, should I be worried?” In the book modern romance, the author decided to take another level different from what his comic insight at modern romance was aimed at.
He teamed up with a renowned sociologist Eric Klinerberg and they designed a massive research project to analyze behavioral data and survey and they drew thousands of messages which people could relate with: “it feels comforting knowing there are people in the same situation with us.”
Basically, I would recommend the book to anyone who is confused about what love is, choice, texting, online dating, communication, and commitment. The book was extensively written and spiced with humor and clever remarks as you would find yourself laughing at the romantic experiences shared in the book.
It is not just a book about Ansari’s adventure but thoughts to provoke, often hilarious, the examination of technological development and how they affect relationships.
The chapters in the book center on searching for your soul mate, the initial ask, online dating, choice and options, international investigations of love, old issues, new forms (snooping on your partner, break up, settling down, cheating).
In chapter 3 of the book, the author talks about online dating and says although it is cool, he never got into it because of his status but talks about the experiences of others. He gave a brief history of online dating and talked about OKCupid as one of the most popular dating sites.
Chapters 5 and 6 talked about how different cultures approach dating, how a city perspective of dating differs from the other and how culture does not necessarily affect dating. He also talks about settling down, fear of settling down and what it means. I will like to call this a must-read when it comes to self-help relationship books. You can get a copy of the book here
5. Love Is A Choice: A Definitive Book On Letting Go Of Unhealthy Relationships
Dr. Robert Hemfelt, Dr. Frank Minirth, Dr. Paul Meler
Are you in a toxic relationship presently or you just left one, then this book is for you?
Unhealthy and toxic relationships have a way of draining and sapping one’s useful energy leaving you sick, confuse, weak, drained, limited and lost and we tend to use defense mechanisms to fool ourselves and wanting to believe all is well.
All this happens when we are in a codependent relationship, playing deceitful games, taking important Christian principles out of context and abused, choosing to stay in a place where you are not accepted.
In this book, the authors describe effective means of overcoming such draining relationships with topics ranging from causes, factors that prolong it, ways of overcoming it and leading you through 10 stages of recovery towards a healthier emotional life, illuminating the human dysfunctional mind which will help you realize why you tend to make a poor decision and accept what is not.
The book is not actually a total self-help book because the truth is, some issues are too complex and difficult for one to self-treat or heal which the author recognizes and recommends professional therapy. You can get a copy of the book here
6. Getting Over Mad By Judy Ford
Do you have issues in a relationship relating to anger and inability to control anger causing you to lose relationships dear to you? We all have the capacity to get angry.
Anger is inevitable in man, inbuilt but we are told to control and suppress it even when it affects communication, leaves real-life issues hanging with unanswered questions and causing dark forms such as depression and even violence and yet we are not told how to go about it.
Truth be told, in a healthy long term relationship, you will occasionally get angry with each other especially when your spouse is on a wrong course or when they do things that do not go down well with us.
In this book, Judy tells us healthy and positive ways we can deal with anger, inspirational ways of making positive changes in ourselves and our most important relationship. Its main emphases are on dealing with stress, frustration, tantrum, annoyance before they cause problems and destroy relationships.
She states in the book that the easiest way to manage anger is through honesty (from my own experience, I discovered that having an honest conversation with myself and my spouse, acknowledging that I am angry and dealing with the root cause of the anger usually helps me get over that situation unlike when I choose to remain silent and not talk or agree there is a situation on the ground that needs to be thrashed out).
Are these the only relationships books for couples? Definitely not. I have my personal relationship books list which I tag ‘ A’ list. They may not be popular but they are worth reading as they would change you from the inside out.
7. Don’t Be A Wife To A Boyfriend: 10 Lessons I Learned When I Was Single By Shonda White
This is the first on my list in this category of relationship books. The author in her tell it as it is a style of writing, she goes hard on ladies who get carried away by their emotions and begin to perform wifely duties when they are not even sure of their stand with the man in their life yet.
They do all they can to make things work at their own detriment. She exposes all shades of denial ladies go through to mask the reality of what they are going through in their relationships. Imagine how ladies lose themselves, their self-worth, bodies and even material things all in a bid to clinch the ‘ring’ but end up getting disappointed.
She comes in like a stranger on a mission to tell you what your friends are afraid to tell you in a no holds barred manner. She encourages ladies to get a life and not sit around waiting to be defined by their relationships. The stories in it are relatable as every single lady has experienced the scenarios highlighted in one way or the other.
If you are single, this is a good starter on the road of self-discovery. It will help you discover and love yourself for who you are, being in a relationship should be an added advantage and should not define you. It’s not a bulky book because it has a few chapters and can be read at a sitting.
Her sense of humor may leave you reeling with laughter as well as she hits you hard with reality, yet seeks to numb the jabs of pain with some comic relief. Go for it. You can get a copy of the book here
Now you are armed with a couple of relationship books to read, try using lessons learned to start up a conversation and while you do, don’t forget it could add to one of the couple activities you can do at home with your partner. Enjoy some cozy time together as you snuggle, feel each other’s warmth and also shift your awareness level. Its time for a change in your relationship.
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