It may be hard to believe, but everything we’ve seen, felt, and experienced in our relationships has already been done. Consequently, no relationship book is going to recreate the wheel, so to speak. What really matters is how the information impacts you and your partner’s life together. Some of the relationship books I’ve chosen to highlight may not be bestsellers but, as far as relationship books go, they have positively impacted my marriage in ways that my partner and I value and appreciate. The principles outlined in each book align with my relationship goals and expectations and have helped me to consistently show up in my relationship.
A few things I look for in relationship books:
A conversational writing style – I don’t have time for referencing a thesaurus
Clear, real-life instruction and takeaways – I don’t have time for mind reading or guesswork
Blatant honesty – Sometimes we both need a good read, and not the one found at the library, chile
Covers various related topics and perspectives – I need to see and understand the whole picture
Takes a deeper dive to help the reader get to the root of the issue – There is no need for fluff and fillers. Give me the real!
If these benefits are meaningful to you and your partner, please read on.
The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
Bestselling author Stormie Omartian wrote this book after over twenty years of dutifully praying for her husband, Michael. I selected this book because she encourages you to develop a deeper relationship with your partner by praying for him with purpose and intention. The advice Stormie gives in this book touches on 30 specific areas of your partner’s life, including their fears, insecurities, spiritual strength, fatherhood, leadership, faith, and future. Covering your partner is so important, especially during these unique and overbearing times. Stormie has all parts of him covered from head to toe.
I recommend this book if your goal is to have a closer relationship with your partner. Stormie’s brutal honesty (I don’t even like him–how can I pray for him? Honey, that’s a word), along with real-life scenarios, personal reflections, prayers, Bible verses, and, of course, God’s promises will help you deepen your emotional connection to your partner.
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
I have read this book several times to better understand my partner’s needs as well as my own. I’ve found that as we age, our needs change. So, when we enter new relationships, it’s important to educate ourselves on how our partner prefers to be treated. Like Gary says, staying in love is the tricky part. His five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch are the gateway to understanding how to best show love to your partner. It is important to know that the golden rule doesn’t apply here. It’s the platinum rule that counts, treating others how they want to be treated. Familiarizing yourself with your partner’s intimate preferences not only helps you understand them better, but you’ll have a platform for effectively demonstrating your love and appreciation toward them. Be sure to grab the most updated version of this #1 New York Times bestseller, which includes tips for the modern relationship as well as a Couple’s Personal Profile assessment to help pinpoint your partner’s love language while reaffirming your own.
I recommend this book if your goal is to establish a deeper level of emotional intimacy with your partner, understand how to better demonstrate your love and gratitude for them, or to show your partner how to make you feel more loved and appreciated in your relationship.
Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment by Steve Harvey
While in my early twenties, I was on a quest to better understand the opposite sex. So when fellow Clevelander Steve Harvey–who has done it all, from stand-up comedy, radio, and hosting a talk show to settling in as a family TV show host–came out with a book, I was all over it. On his former daytime talk show, The Steve Harvey Show, he was celebrated for his candor when giving his audience members (mostly women) relationship advice. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, his #1 New York Times bestseller, is no exception. Steve spills the tea on how women can take a more active role in their love lives. Boldly speaking from the male perspective, Steve taps into decades of relationship expert experience to give ladies the real on what men are and are not looking for in relationships these days. It is a quick, entertaining read that I found to be very informative. The hit movie based on the principles of this book, Think Like a Man, came out in 2012 and the sequel was released in 2014.
I recommend this book if you feel you are lacking emotional intimacy in your relationship. If your goal is to better understand how a partner, who is not very forthcoming, may think or act, Steve’s tips may help you out. Like I said, I was much younger when I read it, so it was a great way to introduce myself to a man’s potential inner thoughts. But all men are not the same and all women are not trying to “win” a man over. You may consider taking the nuggets that are applicable and leaving the rest. Furthermore, I don’t recommend using this book to try to manipulate your partner or use any of the shared tips against them. But I know I don’t have to tell you that, Sis.
Before We Say I DO: 7 Steps to a Healthy Marriage by Marvin A. McMickle
This book was a present from my pastor (who is not the author of this book) during our first premarital counseling session. It was the very first relationship book we read together and it played a significant role in constructing the cornerstone of our marriage. The end-of-chapter questions broach topics that the average couple may not ordinarily discuss before marriage. Pastor McMickle brought thirty years of ministering and couples counseling experiences to his writing. He recognized that in order to enjoy the long-lasting benefits of a happy and healthy marriage, a lot of the work needs to happen before exchanging vows. McMickle’s seven concepts–faith, friendship, frankness, forgiveness, fidelity, finance, and family–help couples develop the tools needed to build a strong, lasting marriage.
I highly recommend this book if your goals are to build a healthy foundation and have a better understanding of what a long-term relationship will look like with your partner.
Is it Them or Is it Me?: A Guide to Practicing Self-Reflection and Accountability in Your Relationship by Sam Sylk
This is the second relationship by radio personality and relationship expert Sam Sylk. His career started in Chicago and has taken him to Philadelphia, New York City, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland to name a few. His popular “Relationship Hour” radio segment
In his book, Is it Them or Is it Me, Sam encourages readers of all relationship statuses (single, dating, married, separated, or divorced) to go after the relationship they deserve through self-evaluation, accountability, and establishing a burning desire to understand their partner. Some topics include setting relationship expectations and boundaries before entering one, developing standards that support your goals and self-worth, consistently seeking out areas for growth and self-improvement, finances, communication, trust, and, most importantly, identifying red flags before making a long-term commitment. Sam offers advice for healthy relationship roles and goals at every stage, as they undoubtedly change over time. Sam’s objectivity provides the reader with a wide-range of options, choices, and pros and cons of each mindset, choice and decision.
I highly recommend this book if your goals are:
- Building boundaries and healthy expectations
- Being more accountable and flexible in your relationship
- Showing up consistently over the course of your relationship
- Establishing clear communication with your partner
In addition to these great books, I HIGHLY recommend that you and your partner each take these complimentary personality assessments to communicate better and understand one another. They used to be $39! After you receive your personality type, head over to Truity to learn more about how your personalities mesh and how to adjust your communication style to effectively express yourselves.
Remember, Sis, in order to build and sustain a healthy long-term relationship, we have to treat it like a journey and not a destination. You’re never done loving, getting to know, or growing with your partner. As long as you have a strong desire to learn more about each other and grow, there’s a chance to keep the passion and fire alive!