People ask me for resources on healthy relationships all the time! Below are my top ten go-to reads for couples. I would love to see your recommendations in the comments!
1. The Relationship Cure- John Gottman (at Powells Books) I recommend this book more often to clients than any other. It outlines Gottman's 35 years of research with easy-to-understand examples and is full of activities to help you build better relationships in your life. This book is also great because it focuses on the many different partnerships we have in our lives (at school, work, or home, in families, romance, friendships) to help connect solid communities of support all around you.
2. Mastery of Love- Don Miguel Ruiz (at Powells Books). Have you read the Four Agreements? if not, you may want to start there. This is a follow-up book that really applies the messages of the first book to couples. Its beautifully written and will help you build a foundation based in shared positive values.
3. I Thought We'd Never Speak Again- Laura Davis (at Powells Books) focuses on reconciliation in families and is a great guide for forgiveness- not only the forgiveness of others, but the ways we can forgive ourselves. Even if you don't ever want to forgive someone else, this book can help you get clarity and closure to help you move forward.
4. Attached- Rachel Heller (at Powells Books) I have to be honest, I just started reading this and I already know it will be on my regular suggestions list. Attachment theory looks at the patterns in our relationships (dating, family, and friendship) over our lifetimes and helps us become more aware of and intentional about the patterns we choose.
5. Nonviolent Communication- Marshall Rosenberg (at Powells Books) Compassionate communication based on Marshall Rosenberg's work is the foundation of many of my couples trainings. Reading this book will help you clarify what you want and need and make clear requests of those around you.
6. If the Buddha Married- Charlotte Kasl (at Powells Books) At my first Vipassana retreat one of the questions I asked my teacher was how to remain unattached and completely in love. If you have ever wondered the same this is the book for you!
7. Fierce Conversations- Susan Scott (at Powells Books) was actually written with your workplace in mind, but the thing is - if it works in your multi-million dollar business exchanges, it's going to work at home. Things can be a bit more emotionally intense around the house but you still have many separate parties (or two) negotiating with very different agendas. This book will help you work through these conflicts with new tools.
8. The Five Love Languages- Gary Chapman (at Powells Books) Okay, I have already written about this one a few times. The love languages give us all better ideas on how to express and receive love in our partnerships.
9. Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work - John Gottman (at Powells Books) Okay, you have to forgive the title - I know marriage isn't for everyone and if you choose to read this one you may have to use a filter to replace "marriage" with "relationship" throughout. That said, this guide gives real life examples that are very easy to understand on how to be better together in lone term relationships.
10. Hold Me Tight- Sue Johnson (at Powells Books) Last but certainly not least, Sue Johnson has been teaching couples to connect on a deeper emotional level for years. The conversations recommended in the book will give you greater insight into the defining principles of your togetherness and can help you create an even deeper bond.