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Relationships can be tricky things. One minute they can be going great, and the next minute everything seems to be going wrong.
One of the best ways to deal with the ups and downs in relationships is to go to couples’ therapy. Talking through problems (and asking the right questions to better understand each other) is a great way to come to a compromise with your loved one.
However, counseling has its limitations. Even if you do it once week, that is only a small amount of therapy, leaving a lot of other time to let resentment and anger build. The perfect supplement to therapy to is reading some quality books on improving relationships.
The relationship books listed below are amongst the most popular, best rated and best reviewed books on relationships available.
These books approach strengthening and repairing relationships from a wide variety of angles. Some of these books give couples tools they can use to build strong relationships. Other books focus on how to get rid of the bad habits that drive our partner's to distraction.
Other relationship books show people how to overcome life’s complexities, use mindfulness to build strong relationships, restore trust in relationships, and even find a soul mate.
Let’s get to it.
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What You Will Learn
- 24 Best Relationship Books Every Couple Should Read Together
- 1. The Relationship Cure: A 5-Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships by John Gottman
- 2. Kiss That Frog!: 12 Great Ways to Turn Negatives Into Positives in Your Life and Work by Brian Tracy
- 3. The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary D. Chapman
- 4. Mindful Relationship Habits: 25 Practices for Couples to Enhance Intimacy, Nurture Closeness, and Grow a Deeper Connection by SJ Scott and Barrie Davenport
- 5. I Love You But I Don’t Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum
- 6. How to Be a 3% Man, Winning the Heart of the Woman of Your Dreams by Corey Wayne
- 7. Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love by Amir Levine MD and Rachel SF Heller, M.A
- 8. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide From the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John Gottman, PhD
- 9. Conflict-Free Living: How to Build Healthy Relationships for Life by Joyce Meyer
- 10. Deal Breakers: When to Work On a Relationship and When to Walk Away by Dr. Bethany Marshall
- 11. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: Practical Guide for Improving Communication by John Gray
- 12. The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love by Ty Tashiro
- 13. Social Wealth: How to Build Extraordinary Relationships by Transforming the Way We Live, Love, Lead and Network by Jason Treu
- 14. Couple Skills: Making Your Relationship Work by Matthew McKay PhD and Patrick Fanning
- 15. Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time (Expanded and Updated) by Keith Ferazzi
- 16. Why Don't We Listen Better? Communicating & Connecting in Relationships by James C Petersen
- 17.Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, 20th Anniversary Edition by Harville Hendrix
- 18. Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact by Nick Morgan
- 19. Why Motivating People Doesn't Work…and What Does: The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging by Susan Fowler
- 20. Love Is Never Enough: How Couples Can Overcome Misunderstanding by Aaron T. Beck M.D.
- 21. The Highly Sensitive Person in Love: Understanding and Managing Relationships When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine Aron
- 22. 47 Little Love Boosters For a Happy Marriage: Connect and Instantly Deepen Your Bond No Matter How Busy You Are by Marko Petkovic
- 23. To Date a Man, You Must Understand a Man: The Keys to Catch a Great Guy (Dating and Relationship Advice for Women) by Gregg Michaelson
- 24. Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs
24 Best Relationship Books Every Couple Should Read Together
1. The Relationship Cure: A 5-Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships by John Gottman
New York Times bestselling author Dr. John M. Gottman provides readers with tools that they need in order to make their relationships succeed. He reveals the elements of a relationship that he believes to be critical, with special emphasis on the importance of an emotional connection.
By introducing the powerful concept of the “bid,” Gottman gives his readers an extraordinary set of tools to repair relationships. He as the ability to open the eyes of many people who are stuck in poorly functioning relationships.
The Relationship Cure includes many questionnaires and exercises that have been developed in light of his therapy. Gottman offers a simple yet intense program to help fundamentally transform the quality of relationships. While a few readers have found that the information in this book is difficult to take in, once they apply the process to their actual lives, it all comes together and makes sense.
2. Kiss That Frog!: 12 Great Ways to Turn Negatives Into Positives in Your Life and Work by Brian Tracy
Often, there are forces in our lives that keep us from reaching our potential. These may be negative thoughts, poor attitudes, or negative emotions, but they all threaten to keep us from achieving our greatest happiness. In this book, a father-and-daughter team gives the reader a set of practical and proven strategies that anyone can use to turn our negative “frogs” into positive “princes”.
Tracy and Stein have set up a step-by-step plan to address the root causes of negative attitudes, and help people discover blocks in their lives that have become mental barricades. These negatives can be turned into positives to help people transform their lives for the better.
Kiss That Frog offers real and thoughtful advice. Providing insight that makes sense, this is a great tool for personal development. Using patience and insight, the reader can start to see some of their own habits and patterns that cause grief in their own life. This is a great book for helping people understand human behavior.
The powerful techniques and exercises that are included in this relationship book, will help you learn how to change your mindset and discover something valuable in every experience and relationship, no matter how challenging they may seem. This book also helps develop self-confidence and the bravery that is needed to live one's best life.
3. The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary D. Chapman
This is a classic book that is recommended to many people who are trying to work on their relationships and figure out why their needs or expectations are not being met. While falling in love may be easy, staying in love is a challenge. The 5 Love Languages show people struggling in their relationships an approach to showing and receiving love that will allow them to experience a deeper level of intimacy with their partners.
The 5 Love Languages is both practical and insightful. It has been around for a long time, and continues to be popular, with its updates that reflect the modern complexities of couple relationships. It addresses intrinsic truths and applies relevant and actionable knowledge in ways that are effective.
The 5 Love Languages includes a “couple's personal profile” assessment so readers can learn what their own love languages are, as well as the love languages of their partners. People recommend this book and have found it to be inspiring and well-worth the read. The only complaint some people professed was a wish that the book included more real-life examples and stories of how people have had success applying the ideas to their personal lives.
4. Mindful Relationship Habits: 25 Practices for Couples to Enhance Intimacy, Nurture Closeness, and Grow a Deeper Connection by SJ Scott and Barrie Davenport
Living in this chaotic world often makes us push our relationships to the side. They get lost in the shuffle with our everyday activities, and some positive habits that help our relationships flourish may even be neglected.
This can lead to arguments that go unresolved, and even thoughts of if your life could be better if you didn't have to deal with your relationship. This book talks about building mindful relationship habits in order to keep your relationship a priority in your life, and have only positive interactions with your partner.
This book is full of wisdom, advice, and useful strategies that people need to make their relationships truly work. The authors argue that people can improve their current relationships, or heal broken relationships.
5. I Love You But I Don’t Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum
Are you wondering if your relationship is worth saving, or if there is any hope for there to be trust in the future? If so, then this might be the right book for you and saving a relationship on the rocks.
Whether the lack of trust is due to frequent small lies, a large betrayal, or even a history of being hurt in past relationships, it can put a strain on a relationship. This is an effective book to show you what you need to do to restore the lost trust in your relationship, no matter how it became damaged.
Kirshenbaum also helps the reader understand the stages of building trust once the strengthening process begins to take place. Readers will learn how to avoid their previous mistakes that are keeping them from healing, and rediscover how to connect.
I Love You, but I Don't Trust You to be a helpful first step to take after a betrayal. It is also a useful tool to use later down the road if a couple gets stuck during the recovery process. People have found that the author's normalizing and casual tone is both soothing and comforting. I Love You, but I Don't Trust You is both realistic and hopeful, which is an effective combination.
6. How to Be a 3% Man, Winning the Heart of the Woman of Your Dreams by Corey Wayne
This book teaches the reader some secrets to better understanding women from a man's perspective. It covers the world of short-term dating, as well as long-term relationships.
This book about understanding women is beneficial for both men and women to read. Women can learn about small nuances of communication with men that have not been considered before.
3% Man also teaches the reader about their own worth, and that people should not settle for anything less than what they want in a partner. Another thing that people love about this book is that it teaches the reader to change their mindset, which can then be applied to other areas of life.
7. Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love by Amir Levine MD and Rachel SF Heller, M.A
This relationship secrets book focuses on the question of if there is a scientific explanation for why some people can navigate relationships with ease, while others have a really tough time. According to the authors, the answer to this question is certainly “yes.”
Attached shows how an understanding of adult attachment—an advanced relationship science—can help people find and maintain love. The field of adult attachment assumes that everyone behaves in relationships either anxiously, avoidant, or comfortably.
This love guide helps readers determine which attachment style they tend to follow, and offers advice for building a deeper connection with their loved ones.
Readers have found this book to be eye-opening to what really goes on in relationships. While the book may seem somewhat simplistic at times, it is accessible to a broad audience and has good advice for anyone.
8. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide From the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John Gottman, PhD
This guide offers practical advice for making a marriage work. While other books tend to be based on a lot of theories, this book approaches the topic from a scientific perspective, including statistics and data.
Author John Gottman has revolutionized the study of marriage through his scientific procedures, which look at the detailed habits of married couples over many years. This book sums up his work with seven principles that guide couples through life-long relationships.
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work includes questionnaires and exercises for any reader who wants to bring their relationship to its best potential. There is a lot of basic relationship advice in this book that can even be applied to relationships other than marriage, such as those with friends, co-workers, and neighbors.
9. Conflict-Free Living: How to Build Healthy Relationships for Life by Joyce Meyer
Common conflicts between people put a strain on any type of relationship, and especially a marriage. Conflicts have destructive effects that lead to both hostility and aggression.
Joyce Meyer makes the argument in this book that it is possible to live a happy life that is free from conflict. In this book, she uses personal anecdotes and instruction inspired by the Bible to clearly demonstrate how people can have healthy and happy relationships.
In each chapter of this book, she includes a summary and questions to help readers see the destructive effects of conflict in their own lives, and explore its causes.
This book on relationships has down-to-earth ideas for living a better life. The author's energy and messages of personal struggle and success are inspiring. The author also offers a helpful lesson on choosing one's own attitude, and choosing to think positively. While this book is chiefly religious, it also offers a common-sense approach to happy living that can be useful to people of any religion.
10. Deal Breakers: When to Work On a Relationship and When to Walk Away by Dr. Bethany Marshall
This book focuses on emotionally unhealthy men who often have women questioning themselves in their relationships. The author addresses the fact that while relationships are typically difficult, at what point are they too difficult?
Deal Breakers is about getting out of unhealthy relationships that you are only holding on to out of hope for the future. If one person refuses to work on their issues today, why would they decide to work on them later? Hoping for change does not mean it will necessarily come.
Dr. Bethany Marshall reminds her female readers that romantic relationships are similar to business relationships, in the sense that they are deals. If you are able to find your deal breaker, you will be able to understand where the relationship went wrong, how to make it better, and when to give up hope. This gives women the power to have the happiness that they deserve.
Some readers have found that this book is aimed towards people who are planning to divorce. It is a great guide for people who want to protect themselves financially if their relationship were to come to an end. Marshall talks about the practical aspects of protecting the family assets, and often reminds the reader that it is not her intent to provide psychological advice.
11. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: Practical Guide for Improving Communication by John Gray
This book has become one of the most well-known relationship guides in existence today. It offers a practical and proven method to help readers better understand the opposite sex.
Gray seeks to improve the communication in relationships by acknowledging the differences between men and women when it comes to needs, wants, and behaviors. The evidence-based insights in this book are sure to help you strengthen your relationships for the long term.
This classic book on understanding the opposite sex articulates a good framework for the generalities of men and women without making broad assumptions.
Gray gives a lot of effective strategies for reconciliation, which is helpful for those who are in tumultuous relationships. However, some think that this book favors men, and gives them excuses to pass off certain responsibilities to women. This “must read” book does offer good insights, but in some ways, it seems to give men a pass to gloss over their poor behavior because “they are men.”
12. The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love by Ty Tashiro
This playful book explores the science behind choosing a great partner. Written by Dr. Ty Tashiro, this book pulls from scientific studies and research data to change the way people search for love. The research shows why people's abilities to make decisions usually fail when looking for a partner, and how people can make smarter decisions.
How one decides to choose their partner in the first place has a great impact on their future relationship. Readers appreciate the wit and insight provided in this book that helps guide people towards choosing the right mate.
This book includes entertaining anecdotes based on real-life situations, as well as stories that are backed by scientific findings to provide an accessible foundation to help singles find their soul mates.
13. Social Wealth: How to Build Extraordinary Relationships by Transforming the Way We Live, Love, Lead and Network by Jason Treu
This book explores the habits and secrets of people who are successful in all areas of their lives, including relationships. When one is able to have social wealth, they are more likely to be successful. Everything we do in our lives incorporates different people in some way. No one gets to where they want to be alone, with no help.
As you are developing your relationships throughout life, you need to nurture them so they can work for you. Try to get connected to people who can help you achieve your goals.
Social Wealth provides a blueprint of the tips that people need to become successful in their fields. No one is born knowing how to do their job. Learned skills can only be gained while one is on the job and learning how a company really works.
This is a great book for people who want to be social in their business endeavors, but need some direction. This guide provides readers with a high-quality strategy that is built on skills and confidence about learning new things.
This book is written clearly and is easy to understand. The concepts are easy to grasp, and the reasoning behind them is clear. Readers have also found the step-by-step instructions to be helpful.
14. Couple Skills: Making Your Relationship Work by Matthew McKay PhD and Patrick Fanning
Sometimes in love, you need to work smarter, not harder. This book will show you how to work smarter in your relationship. Addressing major issues in a lot of marriages, such as communication, coping with problems, and resolving conflicts, this book offers healthy ways to deal with these issues. Each chapter teaches the reader an essential skill that supports strong relationships and deeper intimacy.
This new edition adds a chapter on using acceptance skills. These new approaches work to help you accept both your feelings and the feelings of your partner without judgment. Using these techniques will help you figure out what you value in your relationship, and allow you to live your life with those values in mind.
15. Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time (Expanded and Updated) by Keith Ferazzi
One way to have success in life is to learn how to make your networking and relationships work for you. This way, everyone wins.
In Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi explains how he was able to connect with the thousands of colleagues, friends, and associates that he is in touch with, and how he has helped these people, and how they have done so in return.
Ferrazzi's form of connecting with other people around him is based on generosity and making friends connect with other friends. The author clearly distinguishes genuine relationship-building from “networking.” He sees his system of making connections as a series of practical methods, such as making sure other people have their needs met as well as your own, reaching out to people whether you need something from them or not, and keeping relationships up-to-date.
Throughout this book, Ferrazzi refers to strategies that are used by very connected people in the world. He also gives specific advice on dealing with rejection, bypassing gatekeepers, and more.
16. Why Don't We Listen Better? Communicating & Connecting in Relationships by James C Petersen
This book details the experiences of the author's 40 years of work in counseling and pastoral ministry to help improve other people's communication and relationships. Peterson offers a talker-listener card process, as well as listening techniques that can be used right away to help couples cooperate with each other.
Readers have found that this book is an eye-opener. It is very helpful in teaching the reader effective listening skills that can be beneficial in their relationships. This insightful book is enjoyable to read as a sensible guide to improving communication.
17.Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, 20th Anniversary Edition by Harville Hendrix
This love and relationship book was originally published in 1988, and has helped millions of couples transform their relationships into deeply satisfying ones. Getting the Love you Want includes extensive revisions to the original book, including a new chapter, new exercises, and new information that Dr. Hendrihas learned over the years.
Dr. Hendrix and his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD., began the practice of Imago Relationship Therapy, which is a proprietary healing process for couples. With their 30 years of experience as educators and therapists, they are able to reach out and relate to many types of people in all different kinds of relationships.
Readers have found that the situations described in this book are very recognizable and relatable. Even if you are not currently having trouble with your relationship, reading this book can help you realize that you are not alone in your struggle to get the most out of your marriage.
18. Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact by Nick Morgan
This book talks about taking control of your communication without allowing anyone else to do so.
Nick Morgan, a communication expert, discusses how humans are programmed to nonverbal cues such as gestures, signals, and sounds that all bring about an emotion. He then gives the reader a clear framework for seven power cues that are vital for being successful in business and other contexts.
This relationship book teaches critical skills, from gauging people's confidence to analyzing people's vocal tones and figuring out what your gut is telling you to do. The goal of this book is to help readers communicate better and command more power within their businesses.
19. Why Motivating People Doesn't Work…and What Does: The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging by Susan Fowler
This book is not about relationships such as dating and romance. Instead it is about interpersonal relationships. It teaches people how to communicate with others and effectively motivate people around you.
The first thing it teaches is why traditional methods of motivation are ineffective. If you want someone to truly be committed to excellence, you have to know how to give people a profound sense of fulfillment.
Applying her recent research, Fowler lays out a tested process for allowing people to motivate themselves so they will increase their productivity and have a sense of purpose.
Traditional motivational techniques may result in short-term gains, but once the extrinsic motivation is gone, people are no longer committed to the mission. The techniques that are typically offered to motivate people make them focus on the reward or the punishment instead of their jobs.
The process laid out in this book shows leaders how to steer clear of the expectation for external rewards and help employees see how their jobs can give them a sense of satisfaction that is better than external rewards. This is a great book for people who are trying to learn how to motivate people better.
20. Love Is Never Enough: How Couples Can Overcome Misunderstanding by Aaron T. Beck M.D.
This book is both eloquent and accessible. Author Dr. Aaron T. Beck analyzes the dialogue of real-life troubled couples to show the reader some of the most common problems that occur in marriage. He addresses the power of negative thinking, disappointment, strict rules and expectations, and miscommunication.
Readers have found Love is Never Enough to be overflowing with advice and exercises that can all work together to help save a failing marriage or improve any relationship. This relationship book is a good example of something that can help improve psychological suffering by addressing the source of many relationship problems. This wise and down-to-earth book has the ability to help many marriages.
21. The Highly Sensitive Person in Love: Understanding and Managing Relationships When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine Aron
This is a great book for people who tend to fall in love easily, but fear the intimacy that comes next. Once in a relationship, people often become sick of being reminded of their flaws, or disrespected by their partners in some way. This may make someone feel like they are too sensitive to be in a long-term relationship.
Half of what determines divorce is actually a person's temperament. If you are among the 20% of people who are very sensitive, you have a high risk of getting into an unhappy relationship. Without understanding, the fact that you are sensitive is probably having a huge impact on your relationship.
The Highly Sensitive Person in Love is based on Elaine N. Aron’s research on temperament and intimacy, and offers practical advice for sensitive people who want to be in a happy relationship. Readers have found that this book offers a lot of practical advice on making the most of personality combinations. Many readers appreciate the eye-opening self-tests and the results of a survey that was performed on sex and temperament.
22. 47 Little Love Boosters For a Happy Marriage: Connect and Instantly Deepen Your Bond No Matter How Busy You Are by Marko Petkovic
This is a great book whether your relationship is new or one that has gone on for years. It gives a lot of great information for anyone who wants to find new ways to keep the fire burning in their relationship.
47 Little Love Boosters will help the reader discover simple things that successful couples do to show their love to each other and connect with their loved ones in only a few minutes a day.
This is a refreshing book about how to boost your marriage or long term relaitonship with simple acts of kindness. Petkovic speaks from personal experience when he details how he almost lost his own marriage before deciding to make a deliberate effort to make things work.
This great little relationship book is the perfect reminder that even with our busy daily lives, it is easy to put our relationships aside. It is best to not lose sight of the most precious things in life. It doesn't take much effort or time to make someone in your life know that you care about them.
23. To Date a Man, You Must Understand a Man: The Keys to Catch a Great Guy (Dating and Relationship Advice for Women) by Gregg Michaelson
This dating advice book for women gives the reader a blueprint to understanding the male mind in order to help improve communication. The author is very energized and enthusiastic about the topic of teaching women how to keep their relationships strong with men they cannot seem to communicate with.
The author recognizes that everyone has a different story, but that many situations are actually the same. People have found this book to be an informative and easy-to-read guide. It is quick to get to the point and help women understand the way men think and act. Many have found this book to be eye-opening.
Side note: If you want to know your man better, check out collection of personal questions to ask a guy.
24. Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs
Love and Respect talks about the secret that leads to couples being able to meet each other's deepest needs. Even readers who have been in marriages for decades have found that this book is genuinely helpful.
While many other books focus only on communication, this one focuses on understanding why a couple may be butting heads or trying to get each other to change.
Some have found that this is the first book to effectively change their marriage in a good way because it allows for a deeper understanding of one's partner. By looking at things from the perspective of your partner, you may be able to learn the secrets that this book teaches.
What do YOU think about these relationship books?
Hopefully you enjoyed the “best relationship books” on this page. Please share your thoughts on these books in the comments section below. Share your favorite relationship books, or the books you think do not quite “make the cut”. If you know of any other wonderful relationship books, please share them here.
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Looking for more? Check out our roundup of the best books on marriage. If you're also looking for ways to improve your marriage, start with these relationship worksheets.
(Finally, if you'd like to start your morning on the “right foot” then join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley. This newsletter is a 5-minute read that's informative, witty and FREE!)