21 Books To Read and Learn About Marriage

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Marriage is tough, let’s get that out of way. It’s not happily ever after for most people. In fact, some relationships go downhill after the honeymoon.

Fear not, there are experts who have been mapping out the how’s and why’s of this particular relationship dynamic. You can learn from them via the books they wrote.

#1 How to Go From Soulmates to Roommates by Caroline Madden

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The author, Caroline Madden, is a marriage therapist who specializes in couples struggling with infidelity. Learn from a professional who knows how and why good relationships turn bad. Her style is direct and straightforward, using humor to relay her marriage advice. Humorous suggestions and serious relationship tips about keeping your marriage alive.

#2 Solve the Divorce Dilemma: Do You Keep Your Husband or Do You Post Him on Craigslist?

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“Solve the Divorce Dilemma by Sonia Frontera, covers an important topic that many women struggle with at some point in their life – whether it is possible to repair a marriage or if it is destined to end. Are you on the fence regarding your marriage, then this book is for you?

This is not the same type of book as you would usually find to discuss the topic of divorce. Instead of a cold, scientific account, Sonia helps the reader to navigate the delicate waters of salvaging a marriage. However, if you discover that divorce is the right option for you, you will also find a warm shoulder to help you navigate through the steps of ending your marriage gracefully. ”

#3 Do I Have to Give up Me to Be Loved By You?

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This book teaches couples to shift from controlling to learning about themselves and each other, which is what heals relationships. This best-selling book has become a standard text in many college counseling classes that deal with relationships. It has sold over 1,000,000 all over the world.

#4 Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

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Nothing works to create a great marriage like the Imago approach described in this book. It’s about understanding the differences we have with our partners and valuing what they can teach us about what traits we’re missing in ourselves. This book helps spouses discover why they were attracted to each other and how to work with their conflicts to heal from childhood wounds in order to grow their marriages.

#5 Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Commitment

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Most marriages are based on emotion and intuition and though love is grand, it’s not enough to maintain a successful, long-term relationship. This book looks at how we can make conscious choices to enhance love by letting go of power struggles, defining healthy boundaries, and engaging in intentional behaviors to improve our relationships. If couples can’t find their way to therapy, they can use this book to give them the basics of the clinical guidance they’d receive there.

#6 The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

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Marriages go wrong because we tend to give our partners what we want, not what they want. Chapman describes the ways we express love–words, quality time, gifts, acts of service, physical touch-and how partners can let each other know which ways are most important. That way they get more of what they desire and are making their partners happier, which leads to an upward spiral of love, respect and genuine affection.

#7 How to Be Happy Partners: Working It Out Together by Tina B. Tessina

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How to Be Happy Partners: Working it out Together is a handbook on how to achieve mutual happiness, through cooperative negotiation and communication. Couples are led through a step-by-step process whereby each one learns how to take care of what he or she wants and care for a partner’s happiness at the same time. The clear and concise instructions and guidelines teach couples the skills they need to create a mutually supportive partnership allowing each individual to be satisfied in their relationship. It is based on The Negotiation Tree, an ingenious tool that can help any couple turn a struggle or fight into a cooperative problem-solving session. It is the perfect tool for designing and creating a relationship unique to your individual personalities and situation. With it, any couple can learn to work together to create a loving, sustainable, healthy, and equal partnership that you will treasure.

#8 How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free 4th Edition by Tina B. Tessina

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For over three decades, this book has been recognized as THE established handbook on relationships between equals. It introduced the concept: cooperation instead of compromise or competition. It gives clear instructions to show you how to be true to yourself and true to your partner at the same time.

#9 Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences by Tina B. Tessina

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In this book, you’ll learn that everyone has a unique love style, and there are many right ways to love. Discover what love styles are, how they evolve, how to communicate about love, and how to use your differences to create romance and excitement in your relationships. You can make your differences work for you to enrich your partnership and your lives.

#10 How We Love, Expanded Edition by Milan Yerkovich

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How We Love teaches couples about their attachment styles which impact how they tend to respond and attach to eachother in conflict and outside of conflict. Our attachment style tends to come from how we were raised or how we experienced relationships with important adult figures (or parents) when we were children. And, these attachment styles end up influencing how we relate to our spouse. Sometimes it’s great, and sometimes, not so much. Knowing how you and your spouse respond to conflict or connection can help with understanding, empathizing, and also figuring out effective ways to interact.

#11 Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

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Hold me Tight was written by a therapist and researcher that works with couples. In her years of work, she noticed some important ‘conversations’ that couples can have that assist with exploring the emotional impact of events and conflicts. I love this book because it allows couples to read the chapters, then do the exercises which are designed to help them connect and figure out the unhealthy dances they do in their relationship while exploring healthier ways they can respond to eachother when they’re in the middle of the dance.

#12 The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, PhD

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Dr. John Gottman has spent over 40 years studying couples and is able to predict divorce with 91% accuracy within 5 minutes of observing and listening to a couple interact. His book will layout what the red flags are, and what you can do to get your relationship back on track.

#13 Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

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This book is one of my favorites. It tackles the problem so many couples face in a long term relationships: how do we maintain desire in long run? How do we manage intimacy without compromising the erotic aspects of ourselves? Esther Perel has been a couples therapist for over 35 years. Her book has case studies to highlight the complexities inherent in long-term relationships, and demonstrates how she works with people who face such dilemmas.

#14 Sync Your Relationship, Save Your Marriage by Peter Fraenkel

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This book is for anyone who was initially attracted to their partner for one reason (or set of reasons) and now find those reasons irritating. I loved how she had everything planned out. I loved how laid back he was. Now these things are a thorn in the side of the couple: her need to plan and his need to see how things unfold have become the source of conflict when before they were the attraction. For couples who identify with the saying: opposites attract but now find themselves wondering if it can work, this book is for you. Understanding how differences in pace, time perspective, and punctuality can be an incredible complementary aspect for a couple; they can be strengths if you can learn to see them that way. This book offers specific ways to get back in sync with each other without either person having to completely overhaul who they are. It’s about working with what you have instead of working against it.

#15 The Truth About Love by Dr. Patricia Love

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This books explains the stages of love, the normal ebbs and flows of love, and highlights how couples often mistake the low stages of love for the end of the relationship. This book guides you through the best ways to deal with common things most couples face, normalizing experiences, and offers ways to avoid common relationship pitfalls.

#16 Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love

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This book is written by a biological anthropologist. She is an advisor to Match.com as is a senior research fellow at The Kinsey Institute. Dr. Fisher has spent her career studying human behavior and explains what goes on in our brains when we fall in love. In this book she breaks it down for you in easy-to-understand terms and gives suggestions to help you maintain that feeling of infatuation through the duration of your relationship.

#17 The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Passion and Fulfillment

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This book delves into how our minds can ignite, and extinguish, or sexual experiences. This book is perfect for those wanting to be informed, but also for anyone ready to embark on their own journey of erotic self-exploration. This book will help you identify elements that make a peak experience for you, as well as explore things that can excite you and then block your enjoyment. This book helps aid your self-awareness and will guide you towards a more satisfying erotic life.

#18 Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships

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This book focuses on emotional bonding and provides the reader with practical tools they can utilized in their relationship. The book is written in an easy-to-read style, and offers a few real couple scenarios to illustrate her approach.

#19 And Baby Makes Three by John Gottman Phd

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As a veteran Lamaze-certified childbirth educator, I always encourage expectant parents to proactively strengthen their relationship before baby is born. This book is my top recommendation because it helps to do just that with highly actionable strategies.

#20 Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family

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This valuable work underlines the need to communicate in a clear and precise way the meanings of marriage and family, especially given the difficulties in presenting this message to a society confused about this matter.

#21 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Marriage in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and marriage today are not that different. It starts out as love. As time goes by, other issues start to intrude like meddling family, how one dresses, social class standings and wealth. Does one marry for true love? Out of convenience or out of necessity? Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy went through hell in a handbasket in 1813 and should have just eloped. It’s a great book that holds up today and is an entertaining novel about the institution of marriage!

Written by Eve O'Rourke

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