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time posted
May 06, 2022

6 Must Read Relationship Books

Finding inspiration and refocusing on your relationship can be the best investment of your life.

When it comes to finding tips, strategies and theory on how to improve your relationship, why not learn from masters in the field. We put together a list of some of the best relationship books out there and a quick description on why it might be a good fit for you and your partner to read.

Relationships need inspiration, they need effort and energy to continue to thrive. Sometimes a relationship needs a whole new vision and restart. These books can be a source of wisdom and motivation for your relationship.

Below are 6 books that we recommend for your reading, hopefully you gain more insight about yourself, your partner and how your relationship works.

One Life’s Top 6 Relationship Book

8 Dates by John & Julie Gottman

The quick glimpse:

I really love this practical read by the Gottman’s, 8 Dates is a crisp and to the point relationship book that offers couples a very structured path to learning more about one another through 8 dates that have a very specific topic for each date. What makes this book so good is that it offers insight into your partners world through the lens of curiosity, supportive inquiry which includes research and story telling to help the reader enjoy different perspectives.

The Gottman Institute(Founded by John and Julie Gottman) is one of the most well researched relationship counselling institutions out there. They combine research with practical guidance that helps couples understand they are not alone in their challenges and gives them tools to find their way back to one another.

Why we recommend this book?

Difference is good and conflict is normal. This book embraces our differences as opportunity to dive deeper into learning about ourselves and our partners.

This book is a great homework guide for conversations that can lead to new insights and bring a couple closer. I like that this book as it has a good range of topics that a couple can explore and there is a lot of practical guidance to reflect on before talking to one another about each topic.

Being intentional and reflective before engaging in conversations is a very important step and can have a positive impact on the conversation.

If you want to take action and steps towards one another in your relationship, this is a great resource.

When should you read this book?

This book is perfect for a couple looking to re-connect and find better ways to talk about sensitive and challenging topics. This book dives into some of the biggest challenges that couples face and offers solutions on “how to have those conversations” throughout the book.

This is also a great book for exercises and having structured dialogue. I recommend you approach the exercises with care and support throughout and if you run into trouble, you can reach out to a psychologist in your area to help you navigate the conversations. Just make sure you find a marriage counsellor in Calgary that has Gottman training.

Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson

The quick glimpse:

Much like the Gottman’s mentioned above, Sue Johnson is a huge influence in the relationship world and has brought an incredible amount of research and insight into how we help couples. In this book you will learn how much “emotion” and “feelings” play a central role in HOW we communicate with one another in our romantic relationships. Sue really highlights how attachment styles impact our communication and teaches ways to get to the heart of the matter in how couples interact.

Why we recommend this book?

Sue Johnson is the founder of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, an in-depth approach to enhancing a couples connection by understanding each others emotions and learning how to speak about your emotions with greater understanding and how to communicate those emotions.

The attachment lens is very important and illuminating for couples to understand about themselves and their partners.

When should you read this book?

Many people have an allergy to talking about their pasts, this book is not about diving deep into your childhood. Rather this book is about understanding that we all have different attachment styles (This part is from how we grew up) and how those attachment styles collide.

This book is perfect for understanding how attachment styles interact and teaches the reader to hear beyond the content and hear the emotional messages that we are often trying to send in our relationships.

If you want to try out a couple’s therapist in Calgary that specializes in Emotionally Focused Therapy, ask if they have had training in EFT before beginning.

If you want to read more about attachment styles, check out this website.

The New Rules of Marriage by Terry Real

The quick Glimpse:

One of my favorite books is this practical guide to getting to the heart of the matter fast. The New Rules of Marriage takes a closer look at how our relationships are a result of maladaptive behaviors from our past and how to address challenging communication styles. Terry takes a practical approach to getting your needs met in relationship and shares with you exactly how to do it in this practical approach to relationships.

Why we recommend this book:

If you are in a relationship that has a toxic communication style, this book might be for you. This book looks at how we have never been taught relationship skills and how conflict withers away at the best of connections. Terry does a great job of sharing practical advice and weaving stories from his own practice into the book.

Terry believes that being relational in life is a practice and invites you to engage in that practice.

When you should read this book?

If you are in a relationship that feels unfair or you have a partner that is unwilling to meet you half way, this book is a great resource on how to negotiate your next steps in the relationship. I love this book for creating healthy boundaries and how practical and down to earth this book is in communication tools.

If you are looking for practical tools, this book is a great resource. Terry pulls a lot of his and theory from Pia Melody, a colleague who has done a great deal of work on boundaries, Co-dependency and self esteem and weaved into the relational work he does with couples.

Marriage counsellors in Calgary with RLT training will be able to help you implement these skill building tools into your everyday life.

Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel

The quick Glimpse:

Psychotherapist and researcher Esther Perel crosses the boundaries of different cultures and countries examining the question, “What makes up fabric of desire in relationships”? The idea came from sitting with many couples in her New York practice who were struggling in their sex life, low desire and who had fallen into the trap of roommate energy.

Why we recommend this book:

Esther is brilliant writer and mind who uses one of her top strengths (Curiosity) to ask deeper questions of the paradoxes that we often find ourselves in. For example, many people want to feel safe and comfortable in their relationship and at the same time accessing desire and sexual energy is not as easy in long-term relationships and she has found that safety and comfort do not always create the environment for desire to exist.

When you should read this book?

If you are experiencing a lack of desire, roommate energy or just trying to rejuvenate your romance and sex life, this book is perfect for understanding the complexity of exploring our own desires.

5 Love Language by Gary Chapman

The quick Glimpse:

Perhaps one of the easier reads on our list, 5 Love Languages is a great book exploring our different needs around expressing and receiving love. This book sheds light on how giving and receiving are both equally important and that in our differences in how we like to receive and give love need to be identified. This book is great for quickly exploring our love languages and discovering if we are meeting our partners love languages in the right way.

Why we recommend this book:

It’s a quick read and helps couples discover their love language in an easy to understand and practical way. Difference is good, but knowing our differences can empower us to act in a new and inspired way of sharing our love with our partners. This book highlights those differences in 5 practical ways.

When you should read this book?

If you have been feeling disconnected and struggling with disappointment in your relationship, this book might better help you understand how your expectations differ and give you a new road map back towards one another.

Try the online test for discovering your love language.

Getting the Love you Want by Harville Henrix

The quick Glimpse:

Our unhealed wounds follow us and this book is an oldie, but a great read on how our past influences our current relationship. Getting The Love You Want was the first relationship book to address that connection is necessary to address our deeper wounds and conflict in our relationships. How we leverage that connection is by making a new commitment and having a vision for our relationships.

This is a great read for understanding how our past has impacted our relationships and how we choose partners who are teachers for us, teachers who will trigger us in just the right way and give us the opportunity heal our old wounds.

Why we recommend this book:

Great weekend getaway book filled with exercises and antipodes to help couples heal their past wounds and understand how their past relationships influence their current one. If you want to book a weekend getaway to the mountains with your partner and practice some great exercises and have powerful dialogues, this is a great book for doing just that.

Only perquisite, you and your partner have to be open to the idea that our past influences our behavior and thoughts today. This book tips on the side of spirituality and if that does not resonate with you or your partner, I would not recommend this book.

When you should read this book?

Great insights, this book can be very good read and has some good exercises to try out. Couples that struggle with conflict and disconnection should read this book.

If you are thinking of taking a weekend getaway to try and rekindle your relationship, this book is a great support to add to your own personal relationship retreat weekend.

I recommend that you google some of these books, take a closer look and see which one resonates the most with you. One Life specializes in helping couples thrive in their relationship and are happy to help you if are ready to invest in your relationship.

Finding counselling in Calgary or the right marriage counsellor for you is always challenging, take a look at our team page. We have many psychologists on our team all of whom have a masters counselling degree and specialize in couples counselling.

Our Calgary Counselling Center is here to serve you. Reach out today to see if we are the right fit for you. 1-888-540-5791

I am the founder of One Life Counselling and Coaching LTD and I am honored to lead a team of professional psychologists, psychotherapist’s and life coaches who dedicate their professional lives to helping people to elevate their mindsets, evolve their beliefs and learn to thrive in the present moment.
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