I’ve got a few Christian-focused marriage books that I can recommend if you’re looking to begin the process of working on your relationship. In particular, if you’re both highly motivated to work on your marriage and make some big changes and if you’re both avid readers, books can be a pretty ideal way to start this process.
1. A Stronger Knot: Tying Together a United Marriage
This particular book is by a colleague and a fellow sex therapist. His book doesn’t necessarily talk too much about physical intimacy, but it teaches couples how to set up “family rules” which are actually a way of listing out the hopes you have for your marriage. In this book, Aaron teaches couples how to determine what they really value in marriage and how to reach toward those values by sharing the ones that he and his wife claim over their marriage. It’s got some humor, lots of vulnerable sharing, and some pretty actionable help if you’ll use it to create your own couple value system.
2. From Anger to Intimacy
Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham are the authors for this incredibly practical book. This is a great read for any couple who finds that conflict is one of their biggest barriers in connecting well as a couple. The authors share stories of overcoming conflict in their own marriages and give practical tips for resolving your marital conflict. They also teach you how to dig a little deeper to understand “why” conflict keeps occurring. While the title may seem like it is more for the angry couple or angry partner, the book actually applies well to any couple that feels more than a small level of frustration with the levels of conflict in their marriage.
3. The Lies Couples Believe: How Living the Truth Transforms Your Marriage
Dr. Chris Thurman uses Scripture to back up every lie that he exposes. I will admit that this is one of those “tough to read” books simply because it requires the reader to take some kind of action. The book is well-written and doesn’t seem judgmental, but it can be pretty convicting. Each chapter discusses one of the “lies couples believe” and I can definitely say that every one of the lies in the book are ones that I’ve heard couples talk about. In other words, they are quite commonly held beliefs that can cause a lot of trouble in marriage.
4. Boundaries in Marriage
Cloud and Townsend have an entire series of books dedicated to teaching about boundaries and how setting appropriate boundaries in our relationships sets us up for great success. In this book, they talk about the specifics of personal boundaries and couple boundaries. When there are healthy boundaries in place, couples feel comfortable with discussing and resolving conflict because most conflict comes from issues within the couple’s boundaries.
5. The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages
This book is based on research by Shaunti Feldhahn. She shares statistics about couples that have rated themselves as “highly happy” couples and shares several reasons why these couples are so happy. The idea is that you can use that info to add new helpful behaviors to your own relationship which will also make you and your spouse highly happy.
6. The Five Love Languages
In the Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman discusses the top five ways that couples feel loved. You can also take a short assessment at the back of the book that tells you what your primary love language is. The idea behind his book is that we all speak a “love language” and if these languages are not being understood by one another then the two of you are not going to feel loved. And, not feeling loved will certainly lead to unhappiness in marriage.
I wouldn’t consider this an exhaustive list for marriage books, but it is a pretty strong start if you’re looking for shorter books to read to begin some self-help marriage work or some marriage enrichment.
And, if you find that these books are not quite enough to give you the help you need, it just may be a good time to hop on a free consultation call to see if we may be of greater help to you than what you have on your own.
Your turn – what are some of your favorite marriage books and why?