Although reading a book often isn’t enough to significantly change the quality and direction of a relationship long-term, I have found in my 15+ years of practice that books can be an excellent resource to enable couples to stabilize and improve their relationship more quickly, in combination with our work in couples therapy. As a result, I am always looking for and reading books and other helpful resources to potentially recommend to my clients. Thus, I have read a LOT of books over the years and continue to do so.
With the desire for you to experience the benefits of quicker relationship improvement, and to make it easier for you to identify the specific books I most highly and most often recommend, I’ve created this list, with links where you can purchase each book, along with a short summary of each to help you choose the one that’s best for you and your relationship:
1. The 5 Love Languages (for Couples)
by Gary Chapman
I recommend this book as the quickest way to develop a better understanding of your partner and yourself, and the primary ways in which you feel loved by another person. It’s a very easy read, and provides practical information that you can put into action right away to improve your relationship and increase your connection and intimacy with your partner. This is a great place to start if your relationship needs a boost or you are feeling disconnected. It can also help strengthen each of you so that you are more willing and able to do the deeper work in your relationship.
2. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
by John Gottman and Nan Silver
As a Gottman Method Couples Therapist, this is the Gottman research-based book I recommend most often and most highly to couples.
This book talks about the predictors of relationship breakup and divorce, and the antidotes to each of those predictors, that were identified by John Gottman and his colleagues in their research. It provides multiple exercises to do with your partner to strengthen your friendship, information about positive and healthy communication and interaction, and information for improving your understanding of the conflicts in your relationship and what you can do to respond to those conflicts more effectively. I genuinely believe that nearly every couple would benefit from reading and applying this book to themselves as individuals and to their relationship.
3. The New Rules of Marriage
by Terrence Real
This book takes things to the next level, and is a great tool for after you have mastered the skills in the two books I have recommended above. This book will enable you to evaluate your intimacy as a couple in the intellectual, physical, emotional, sexual and spiritual domains. It provides a lot of information for helping you to better understand your perceptions of and reactions to your partner, how to more clearly express what you want and need in your relationship, communication errors to avoid, and guidelines for how to better listen to and respond to your partner. This book will provide guidelines for creating a healthier, stronger, more passionate and romantic, deeply connected, life long partnership with your best friend and life-long lover. If you are unhappy in your relationship, don’t feel like a team, or feel like your partner has shut you out, this could be an excellent book for you. This book tends is especially popular among women.
If you recognize that you could use additional assistance, support and guidance beyond what these books can provide, please reach out to me by email or phone to explore how I can assist you.
Please note that I will receive a small amount on purchases made from my website in return for directing people to the books I recommend most highly as an experienced therapist. However, I have been recommending these books and others to my clients, friends and family as long as I have been in practice, and will continue to recommend these particular books even if I don’t receive any compensation whatsoever.