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Published on January 10, 2020

12 Marriage Books Couples Should Read for a Healthy Relationship

12 Marriage Books Couples Should Read for a Healthy Relationship

Relationships are fickle in nature. One minute you’re in love, and the next you wish you never met. Yes, even the happiest relationships have room for growth.

Are you looking for a little bedtime reading that can completely transform your relationship? The best marriage advice is found in the pages of the experts.

We are examining the books that are most recommended by marriage counselors. These treasured reads have helped thousands of troubled couples boost communication, increase intimacy, and learn new techniques for conflict resolution.

Let’s look at 12 marriage books contain the best tips and tricks for getting your relationship back on track.[1]

1. The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work by Terrence Real

    Have you ever been in a relationship that turned from the best thing that ever happened to you, to a positively soul-sucking experience?

    Real does not beat around the bush when he discusses why couples allow destructive, negative behavior to control their relationship.

    This book also discusses the new marriage for the new Millennium. He talks about the change in the wife’s dynamic from subservient housewives to independent, self-confident career women.

    It also talks about emotionally stunted men and how couples can come together to fix the problems in their relationship.

    The aim of “The New Rules of Marriage” is to help couples move with the types, articulate their wants, learn how to listen, and express appreciation for one another.

    Pick up “The New Rules of Marriage” here.

    2. I Love You, But I Don’t Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum

      Anyone who has been through infidelity in a marriage has surely asked the question, “Is this relationship worth saving?”

      Regardless of how partners may have betrayed one another, once trust is gone, it can be nearly impossible to get it back.

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      Kirshenbaum reassures couples that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that a marriage can be saved, even hurtful damage from dishonesties have driven partners away from one another.

      This book discusses how to restore trust and leave the past behind. It talks about the various stages of healing and rebuilding intimacy and security in a partnership.

      This is one of the best marriage books for anyone who has experienced betrayal in a serious relationship.

      Pick up, “I Love You, But I Don’t Trust You” here.

      3. The Relationship Cure: A 5-Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships by John Gottman

        American psychologist John Gottman has been exploring the topic of marital stability for decades, and his book “The Relationship Cure” is a testament to his knowledge and expertise.

        This 5-step program understands that your mood, your relationship, and your mental health can affect all of your relationships in life – romantic or otherwise.

        Within this marriage book, Gottman discusses the key elements of healthy relationships and includes exercises and questionnaires to keep the content feeling engaging and relevant.

        Pick up “The Relationship Cure” here.

        4. Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson

          Communication is the key to a successful relationship. With the thought that attachment bonds and loving relationships go hand in hand, Dr. Sue Johnson shows couples how to nurture their relationship through conversations and communication.

          One of the most influential marriage books out there, this book, narrows in on Emotionally Focused Therapy and how it can help struggling relationships.

          Pick up “Hold Me Tight” here.

          5. Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda by Jennifer Hurvitz

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            This book has the best marriage advice for those who have been through a painful divorce and are once again looking for love.

            Looking back on her own failed marriage, the author discovers what went wrong and what she ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ done differently to save her relationship.

            Dating after divorce is no joke, but somehow Hurvitz manages to maintain a fun and relatable tone that keeps her book engaging and easy to read.

            Pick up “Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda.” here.

            6. Wired for Love by Stan Tatkin

              Have you ever wondered what your partner is thinking? Have you ever been tempted to say, “I can’t read your mind!” when trying to solve a problem as a couple? If so, ‘Wired for Love’ will be one of your new favorite marriage books.

              Everyone is wired differently, and it is with this thought that author Stan Tatkin explores ten principles to improve any relationship.

              This book will delve into such topics as healthy conflict resolution, becoming an expert in making your partner feel loved, and using daily rituals to improve intimacy and connection.

              Pick up “Wired for Love” here.

              7. Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel

                Perel encourages couples to unlock their erotic intelligence and keep sex, intimacy, and monogamy exciting. How so?

                The main point and best marriage advice in this book are that couples need time apart for personal growth and to maintain a sense of independence within their relationship.

                Spending time together as a couple is a great way to strengthen your connection, but too much time together can spoil relationship curiosity and make sex feel boring or routine.

                Pick up “Mating in Captivity” here.

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                8. The Sex-Starved Marriage by Michele Wiener Davis

                  The Journal of Health and Social Behavior posits that sex is good for your mental and physical health.[2] The oxytocin released during moments of intimacy with your partner promotes emotional bonding, relieves stress, and enhances cardiovascular health. Sex also acts as a mood elevator.

                  With these benefits in mind, it is no wonder why Davis is encouraging couples to boost their libidos and find a way to connect sexually even when their sex drives aren’t always in tune with one another.

                  Pick up “The Sex-Starved Marriage” here.

                  9. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary D. Chapman

                    If you have ever done an online relationship quiz with your spouse, odds are you have heard of Gary Chapman.

                    Pastor and author Chapman is most famous for his theory that there are five main love languages in any relationship:

                    • Words of affirmation
                    • Acts of service
                    • Receiving gifts
                    • Quality time
                    • Physical touch

                    Even if a couple is in love, they may not always feel like they are on the same page. That is where the five love languages come into play.

                    This book will help you have a deeper understanding of how your partner gives and desires to receive love. This marriage book is an eye-opening look at a whole new world of affection.

                    Pick up “The 5 Love Languages” here.

                    10. Toxic In-Laws by Susan Forward

                      Sometimes it isn’t your marriage that needs reworking – it’s your in-laws!

                      When personalities clash, or you’re dealing with critical or controlling in-laws, it can have an unfortunate effect on your marriage. Spouses will feel torn between romance and family loyalties.

                      While this book acknowledges that you can’t change your in-laws, you can change your outlook. Forward teaches couples how to communicate their frustrations constructively and gives various coping techniques to help partners protect their marriage from outside influences.

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                      Pick up “Toxic In-Laws” here.

                      11. The Normal Bar by Chrisanna Northrup, Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., and James Witte, Ph.D.

                        Does normal exist? Is your relationship normal? How does the average couple communicate, problem-solve, and maintain a happy marriage?

                        If you have ever had any of these questions, then you are definitely “normal”!

                        This book is all about data. With research-based on 100,000 study participants, this book lets couples know what is normal in a relationship.

                        Take a deep-dive into what makes the average couple tick and look at how couple’s deal with race, age, gender, sexuality, having children, sex throughout the different stages of marriage, and those teeny, tiny habits every couple has to deal with.

                        Pick up “The Normal Bar” here.

                        12. Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love by Marcia Naomi Berger

                          In our final book, author Berger posits that the best marriage advice is to devote thirty minutes each week to couples’ communication.

                          Sitting down together each week to discuss the relationship allows couples to communicate.

                          Weekly marriage meetings afford couples the opportunity to commend and compliment one another on what is going right in the relationship.

                          This reinforces positive feelings. However, weekly marriage meetings also give partner’s a chance to reflect honestly about what in the relationship could make improvement.

                          Having a set time of thirty minutes or less each week takes the stress out of communication. Both partners know that they will be given a platform on a weekly basis to express themselves, problem-solve, and feel heard.

                          Pick up “Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love” here.

                          Final Thoughts

                          Relationships are complicated. Whether you’re dealing with issues involving in-laws, what goes on inside the bedroom, or want to boost your communication skills, you’ll find the best marriage advice on the pages of these best-sellers.

                          Featured photo credit: Edward Cisneros via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          More by this author

                          Sylvia Smith

                          Sylvia is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt its principles in their relationships.

                          How to Stop Nagging And Communicate With Your Partner Better 6 Reasons Why You Should Not Give Up on Love 12 Relationship Deal Breakers That You Shouldn’t Tolerate How To Resolve Relationship Conflicts without Hurting Each Other How Being Vulnerable Leads to a Healthy and Fulfilling Relationship

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                          Last Updated on August 12, 2020

                          When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

                          When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

                          Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

                          In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

                          How to Listen to Your Gut

                          The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

                          Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

                          1. Tune Into Your Body

                          Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

                          However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

                          Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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                          Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

                          In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

                          2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

                          Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

                          There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

                          3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

                          Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

                          As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

                          This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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                          4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

                          As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

                          Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

                          5. Challenge Your Assumptions

                          When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

                          In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

                          A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

                          6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

                          Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

                          There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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                          Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

                          Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

                          Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

                          We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

                          The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

                          We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

                          7. Trust Yourself

                          It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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                          Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

                          If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

                          The Bottom Line

                          The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

                          Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

                          More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

                          Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          [1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
                          [2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
                          [3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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