Relationship advice is like that last piece of pizza. Everybody wants it, but no one will ask for it.
Agreed that every relationship is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to keep a marriage or a courtship alive. But the situations can be similar, and a little advice from the experts, who have dedicated their lives to studying the complexities of relationships, can make all the difference in perspectives.
If your relationship or marriage needs to change a little or has to be entirely salvaged, there are plenty of relationship books that you can consider for advice. Here, MomJunction lists a few for you.
Relationship Books To Strengthen Your Bond
There are a plethora of books offering relationship advice to couples who are dating or married. Here are our picks.
1. Getting The Love You Want by Harville Hendrix
Written by a therapist, Getting The Love You Want is one of those life-changing books that can save your relationship. This book is for those who want to be present in their relationship, become aware of the baggage they are carrying and stop it from negatively affecting their relationship. Dr. Hendrix talks about getting out of the negative patterns we may have developed during the childhood. This book may also give you some clarity about why you chose your partner.
2. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Love is universal. But the languages that we use to express it are many. Perhaps that is why there is unhappiness in several marriages, says Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages. Chapman, who worked as a couples’ therapist for more than 30 years, talks about the five different ways people express their emotions and love for one another.
Learn the many languages of love to communicate with your partner and express your love better. Gary Chapman’s advice can help improve your relationship with your partner, whether your marriage is failing or flourishing.
3. The Relationship Cure by John M. Gottman
The Relationship Cure is a five-step guide that aims at improving your relationship with your spouse, kids, siblings or friends. The book is based on years of research and introduces the readers to the innovative concept of ‘emotional bid’, which helps you form better emotional connections with the help of exercises and questionnaires developed by the author.
Highly practical in their approach, the concepts have the potential to improve and enrich even the most troubled relationships.
4. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray
One of the oldest and highly recommended relationship books, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus is a must-read if you want to understand both sides of the coin. The book aims at helping the spouses understand each other’s perspectives, acknowledge that men and women are different and learn to communicate in a way the other gender gets the message.
Based on research, the book gives you scientific evidence and examples to help you nurture and strengthen the relationship.
5. I Love You But I Don’t Trust You by Mira Kirshenbaum
Relationships take work. But is your relationship worth the effort?
This is the nagging question most couples have when their trust is broken because of a cheating or lying partner, or due to hurtful experiences from the past. When you are in doubt and don’t know how to begin trusting again, this book can help.
Mira Kirshenbaum addresses what a person goes through when they experience betrayal or hurt that leads to loss of trust. The book takes a rather practical approach to build back trust in your partner and can be helpful for those dealing with relationship issues.
6. Conscious Loving by Gay Hendricks and Kathryn Hendricks
Did you ever do or say something that you didn’t intend to and regret it later? If you did, you are not alone. We are all wired to act on our subconscious and react to certain triggers without knowing it. We do and say things that hurt our relationship, mostly because we don’t know how to change the unconscious patterns.
Conscious Loving by Gay and Kathryn Hendricks can help you change the negative patterns that could be hurting your marriage or relationship. Based on research and several years of experience and talking to married couples, the authors have come up with workable strategies that let individuals be present in the relationship to strengthen and create a solid partnership.
The strategies focus on the relationship as well as the well being and happiness of the individuals in it. The authors emphasize the importance of letting go of power struggles, sharing microscopic ‘truth’ for better intimacy and positive communication.
7. The Seven Principles Of Making A Marriage Work by John M. Gottman
A marriage doesn’t work unless you make it work. In The Seven Principles Of Making A Marriage Work, John Gottman lists down the seven key rules that keep the marriage alive and thriving. The book is based on years of research and is filled with practical exercises and questionnaires that guide you to create a lasting, happy marriage.
The author studied and followed the marriages of 640 couples who applied these principles in real life. The overall relapse rates for these couples reduced to 20% after three months and just 6-7% after six months.
If the principles worked for so many, they could work for you too.
8. Deal Breakers by Dr. Bethany Marshall
Sure, relationships need you to change and accommodate the other person both emotionally and physically. But how far must you go? Where do you draw the line?
Deal Breakers by Bethany Marshall helps you find answers to these questions and determine when it is worth it to work for the relationship and when it is time to stop and walk away. The book is basically about unhealthy toxic men that women end up with and fall into the rut of never-ending problems. The book helps women set healthy boundaries to prevent them from doing something stupid in love.
9. The Science Of Happily Ever After by Ty Tashiro
And they lived happily ever after!
That’s a rather unfair way to end fairy tales because it doesn’t tell us how they lived happily after. Worry not, for Dr. Ty Tashiro, an acclaimed psychologist and author of The Science of Happily Ever After, tells us exactly how we can achieve our happily-ever-afters. The book evaluates a person’s decision-making abilities and how they can fail when they choose a mate. Tashiro uses research-based evidence to help us make smart choices that lead to enduring, loving relationships.
The author guides you to a life of togetherness and happiness.
10. Attached by Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
Attachment is what keeps us connected to a person or thing. It is a basic human need, a tool that helps us stay in relationships and work towards maintaining them. While everyone craves for attachment or that meaningful relationship, their reaction to such relationship varies. In this book called Attached, Dr. Amir Levine, a neuroscientist, tells us about the science behind attachment and how it varies based on our experiences in the past.
The book helps you figure out your attachment style and how you must communicate to create a more nurturing and fulfilling relationship.
11. 47 Little Love Boosters For a Happy Marriage by Marko Petkovic
Everything seems fine with your relationship or marriage at the moment. But something is missing. That spark or fire that keeps it as exciting as it once was.
If you’re looking for little things to say or do to express your love, 47 Little Love Boosters For a Happy Marriage is a good book to buy. The author lists down small but necessary things that happy couples do to keep the fire burning in their marriage. Just a few minutes in a day is all you need, even if you are busy otherwise, to connect with your partner and nurture your bond.
12. Couple Skills by Kim Paleg, Matthew McKay, and Patrick Fanning
Do you need superpowers to make a relationship work? No, you’ll need a few basic skills that let you interact with your partner positively. The book talks about the right way to communicate, cope with problems and solve problems creatively. The book also emphasizes the importance of acceptance skills, which are essential to embrace the partner’s strengths and weaknesses without judgment.
This book teaches you to build better understanding and intimacy with your partner.
13. Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson
Written by one of the finest couples’ therapist, Dr. Sue Johnson, Hold Me Tight does not give you tips, guidelines, or ways to impress the partner through romantic gestures. You don’t even have to analyze your childhood or past to make the relationship better. Then how, you might ask!
Dr. Johnson focuses on the simple points that you and your partner are emotionally connected and dependent on each other. The book emphasizes the importance of soothing, nurturing and protecting the bond between the partners by being open, and better attuned and responsive to their emotional and physical needs.
Based on this theory, Dr. Johnson explains seven different conversations partners can have to create and protect a bond that lasts long.
14. Love, Sex, And Staying Warm by Neil Rosenthal
You meet someone, fall in love. The chemistry is amazing and there is a lot of sex. And then, the relationship becomes warm. If ignored, the passion fades and the relationship becomes cold and dead.
In Love, Sex and Staying Warm, Neil Rosenthal gives you practical ways to rekindle or retain that warmth and bring back the fading passion into the relationship. If the time has taken its toll on your relationship, this book is for you. The book begins with a quiz that helps you understand what’s sabotaging the relationship, moves on to introduce romantic intelligence and then to discuss how you can use it to improve your bond and keep that flame burning.
15. Mating In Captivity by Esther Perel
Where Neil Rosenthal’s book talks about romantic intelligence, Mating In Captivity by Esther Perel talks about erotic intelligence and the amalgamation of lust and domesticity. Often couples put aside steamy or even poetic sex, as they drown in the complexities of married life. When the passion goes missing, and intimacy and sex take a back seat, this book can help you bring them back right where they belong in your relationship.
While these books have been written by experts who have seen, dealt with and talked to hundreds of couples, not all of what they say may be suitable for you. Use the wisdom they share with the knowledge of where your relationship stands and your understanding of what your partner needs to develop your own techniques and ways to enhance your bonding.
Do you have any more relationship books to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.