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12 Marriage Books Couples Should Read for a Healthy Relationship

12 Marriage Books Couples Should Read for a Healthy Relationship
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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.

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                          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 Resolve Relationship Conflicts without Hurting Each Other How to Leave a Toxic Relationship When You Still Love Your Partner How to Overcome Jealousy in a Relationship How to Stop Nagging And Communicate With Your Partner Better 6 Reasons Why You Should Not Give Up on Love

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                          Last Updated on July 20, 2021

                          How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

                          How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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                          You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

                          Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

                          Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

                          Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

                          1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

                          According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

                          “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

                          Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

                          Warming up

                          If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

                          If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

                          Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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                          1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
                          2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
                          3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

                          Stay hydrated

                          Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

                          To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

                          Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

                          Meditate

                          Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

                          Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

                          Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

                          Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

                          2. Focus on your goal

                          One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

                          Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

                          Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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                          Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

                          If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

                          3. Convert negativity to positivity

                          There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

                          ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

                          It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

                          Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

                          Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

                          Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

                          4. Understand your content

                          Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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                          However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

                          “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

                          Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

                          Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

                          One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

                          5. Practice makes perfect

                          Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

                          In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

                          Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

                          6. Be authentic

                          There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

                          Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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                          Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

                          To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

                          With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

                          Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

                          7. Post speech evaluation

                          Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

                          Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

                          We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

                          You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

                          Improve your next speech

                          As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

                          Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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                          • How did I do?
                          • Are there any areas for improvement?
                          • Did I sound or look stressed?
                          • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
                          • Was I saying “um” too often?
                          • How was the flow of the speech?

                          Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

                          If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

                          Reference

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