Advertising
Advertising

Published on October 13, 2020

10 Essential Books on Relationships To Help You Understand Love

10 Essential Books on Relationships To Help You Understand Love

There are many kinds of books on relationships out there to help people lead long-lasting marriages, couples, and lives. But out of the vast selection of them, some of the most impactful books to pick up are the ones about love and how to love.

As you know, 50% of marriages end in divorce—which is terrible—and I think it comes down to love. People don’t quite know what it means to love someone else properly.

So, to help, I’ve picked out some of the best books to help with understanding love on a deeper level than you can imagine.

The best kind of books on relationships I find are ones that have the following specifications to them:

  • Backed by research – This is based on whether the author is a professional or someone who does a lot of research. A reliable book is one that has plenty of facts to back up claims.
  • Clarity – Clarity not only in readability but also in the actionable advice that it gives. You don’t want to deal with too much jargon.
  • Easy to read – You want a book to be engaging and entertaining to read. Information sticks better if the writing is amusing and can keep readers invested.
  • Solvability – The book provides clear advice that solves some of the common relationship problems and struggles.
  • Non-Cliche – It isn’t filled with typical cliches or theories that many people know about. The book should provide a new perspective on something familiar.

Now let’s dive in to the 10 essential books on relationships:

1. Difficult Conversations

    One of the most frequent problems with couples is communication. To that extent, not having difficult conversations is also a problem. If couples want a relationship to last, they need to have those difficult conversations. But the reason most couples avoid those conversations is that they’re not sure what to do or are worried about these conversations hindering the relationship.

    If you’re in that situation, I suggest you take a look at this book. While there are many books out there that teach you to be a great conversationalist, this book is a simplistic guide to help you navigate through every kind of difficult conversation or fight you may have—not just with couples, but with other people as well.

    Buy “Difficult Conversations” here.

    2. The 5 Love Languages

    Advertising

      This is a top-tier relationship book that’s been on many lists before, and this won’t be the last. This book has a unique spin to what love is all about, and it helps you understand it in a profound manner.

      According to the book, how we give and receive love can be divided into five parts. While we deliver love with these five “languages,” there are one or two of them that are more dominant than the other. This book helps you to identify your and your partner’s love languages to help communicate your love for one another better.

      Buy “The 5 Love Languages” here.

      3. Mindful Relationship Habits

        Relationships have ups and downs, of course, and there are several ways to handle them. Sometimes, it’s being able to have those conversations and smooth things over. Other times, you get unique solutions like developing mindful relationship habits with your partner.

        The idea with the habits mentioned in these books is to help you communicate clearly, avoid arguments, and better understand each other in thoughtful ways. All in all, it addresses the small relationship issues that you and your partner have to deal with.

        Buy “Mindful Relationship Habits” here.

        4. The Science of Happily Ever After

          Growing up, the hope of relationships is to be able to live happily ever after—like what you’ve read in so many children’s books. This book is more of an adult expansion from that concept. But instead of filling you up with all kinds of hope with no rhyme or reason, the book is founded on science and hard facts.

          The author, Dr. Ty Tashiro, translates years of research and analysis of how we look for a partner to live “happily ever after” with and simplifies it. Using real-life scenarios, this book paints a path to guide you to your other half.

          Advertising

          This book still applies to couples as well since this provides unique perspectives on how one can find enduring love for one another.

          Buy “The Science of Happily Ever After” here.

          5. Attached

            Another science-based book, this one takes a different approach to the search for love. Instead, the research from this book talks about the “attachment theory.” The premise of the theory states why we need to be a relationship at all times and how we behave in those relationships as well.

            The theory outlines three categories: anxious, avoidant, and secure. Written by a neuroscientist and a psychologist, you get a unique perspective in those fields and how it involves love. Overall, you’ll learn which of the three categories you fall into and how you can build your relationship around that.

            Buy “Attached” here.

            6. First Comes Love, Then Comes Money

              One particular struggle I want to highlight in relationships is money. Finances alone cause a lot of disruption for couples. The reason for this is that couples don’t talk about money until it is a problem and by that point, you have two people arguing about money with no real way to steer the conversation or manage it.

              Since many people don’t know how to talk about money—let alone to their partner—this book provides great insight into how people think about money. The book also explains the different kinds of money personalities and how you’re meant to interact with one another based on that information.

              Buy “First Comes Love, Then Comes Money” here.

              Advertising

              7. Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

                This is an older book on relationships, but it still holds up to this very day. The overall thesis of this book revolves around the idea that Martians (men) and Venusians (women) are at their happiest in relationships when they accept the differences as positives. Even though this is a familiar concept, it addresses some of the main struggles and complications in relationships—understanding one another and working through problems.

                On top of that, this was written by a former marriage counselor, so the book draws experience and insights from real-life couples.

                Buy “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” here.

                8. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

                  With over a million copies sold, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is a book that’s revolutionized the way we think and understand, repair, and improve marriages. John Gottman Ph.D. conducted an extensive study spanning a period of years and distilled the results into this book that author Nan Silver supported.

                  He narrowed his research down to habits that either build marriages up or tear them down. From those habits, he created the seven principles that help guide marriages down a path to long-lasting relationships.

                  Buy “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” here.

                  9. Relationship Goals

                    Regardless of what stage you are in in your relationship, this book is a serious game-changer. Published in late April 2020, this book on relationships is based heavily on the viral, multi-million view sermon series on the topic of dating, sex, and marriage.

                    Advertising

                    The book focuses on the author’s—Michael Todd—story of his own heartache and healing. He unpacks it with powerful truths and tells you directly how to win at relationships in every aspect of your life.

                    He’ll also go into detail about the common pitfalls you’ll find in relationships and give you advice on how to overcome them immediately. Even if you’re not an overly religious individual, the book provides profound knowledge and an interesting point of view to consider.

                    Buy “Relationship Goals” here.

                    10. What Makes Love Last?

                      From the same authors as The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, comes another interesting book to look at: What Makes Love Last?

                      While the previously mentioned book focused on things that make or break marriages, this book dives into more profound matters of love. Based on John Gottman’s famous “Love Lab,” the book answers four core questions:

                      • Where does love come from?
                      • Why does some love last?
                      • Why does some fade?
                      • How can we keep it alive?

                      Overall, this book on relationships provides more information on why the principles work so well and further encouragement in practicing those principles. Furthermore, you’ll be able to identify signs, behaviors, and attitudes that suggest a crumbling relationship and learn strategies for fixing it even if it seems lost or broken.

                      Buy What Makes Love Last? here.

                      Final Thoughts

                      There are many kinds of books on relationships that share advice, but these ones provide unique perspectives beyond the traditional methods you’ll find. I encourage you to pick up some of these books and read through them as they will change the way you think about love, your partner, and your relationship with them.

                      More Books on Relationships

                      Featured photo credit: Aung Soe Min via unsplash.com

                      More by this author

                      Anna Chui

                      Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

                      30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives Why Hard Work is Better Than Talent It’s Okay To Be Envious As Long As You’re Not Jealous The Jeopardy of Taking Others’ Opinions Seriously life is pain Life Is Pain: Why a Life Without Pain Guarantees True Suffering

                      Trending in Relationships

                      1 50 Unique and Really Fun Date Ideas for Couples 2 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 3 9 Ways to Build and Keep Healthy Personal Boundaries 4 How Not to Finish Last as a Nice Guy 5 8 Ways To Make Your Long-Distance Marriage Work

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on January 24, 2021

                      How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

                      How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

                      Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

                      For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

                      But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

                      It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

                      And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

                      The Importance of Saying No

                      When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

                      In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

                      Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

                      Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

                      Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

                      “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

                      When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

                      How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

                      It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

                      From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

                      We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

                      And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

                      Advertising

                      At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

                      The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

                      How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

                      Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

                      But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

                      3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

                      1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

                      Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

                      If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

                      2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

                      When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

                      Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

                      3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

                      When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

                      6 Ways to Start Saying No

                      Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

                      Advertising

                      1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

                      One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

                      Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

                      2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

                      Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

                      Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

                      3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

                      Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

                      Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

                      You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

                      4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

                      Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

                      Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

                      5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

                      When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

                      Advertising

                      How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

                        Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

                        Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

                        6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

                        If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

                        Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

                        Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

                        Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

                        More Tips on How to Say No

                        Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
                        [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
                        [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

                        Read Next