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Published on October 13, 2020

10 Essential Books on Relationships To Help You Understand Love

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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

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      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.

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          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.

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              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.

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                    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

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                      More by this author

                      Anna Chui

                      Anna is the Chief Editor and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert who shares tips on motivation and relationships.

                      The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) How to Live Life to the Fullest and Enjoy Each Day 30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

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                      Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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

                      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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