This is my recommended reading list of the best relationship books based on what I have reviewed so far.
It’s a perfect reading list if you are short on time but are keen on improving your relationship.
Just a note: don’t put too much emphasis on the position: any relationship book on this TOP 10 list is sure to be life… Ehmmm, a relationship changer.
Which is pretty much the same anyway, plenty of studies show that the biggest
To get the summary, click on the link “summary” on each book.
- 13. Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage
- 12. Hold Me Tight
- 11. Not Just Friends
- 10. Eliminating Passive-Aggressiveness
- 9. Too Good to Leave Too Bad to Stay
- 8. Attached
- 7. Why Marriages Succeed or Fail
- 6. Women Who Love Too Much
- 5. The 5 Love Languages
- 4. The Tactical Guide to Women
- 3. The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think
- 2. The Man’s Guide to Women
- 1. Seven Principles to Make Marriage Work
13. Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage
John Gottman needs no introduction when it comes to relationship literature.
Since Gladwell featured Gottman in Blink as the man who could predict divorce with a 90%+ accuracy rate, Gottman has become almost a household name.
Well deserved: his research on what makes and breaks relationships is eye-opening.
Quote: “High expectations translate into better marriages”
12. Hold Me Tight
In Hold Me Tight Sue Johnson debunks a few staples of couple therapy, including the importance of proper communication.
She focuses on attachment styles and what she believes is the bedrock of all great relationships: emotional attachment and connection.
Quote: “Marriage failure is not a conflict increase but an emotional decrease”
11. Not Just Friends
Not Just Friends is actually about cheating and affairs. Some statistics seem to point out that cheating happens, sadly, in around half of relationships.
If that weren’t a good reason enough to learn and research how to prevent affairs, Not Just Friends will greatly expand your knowledge on love, passion, and emotional attachments.
Quote: Affairs are traumatic for the cheated partner, and should be treated as such.
10. Eliminating Passive-Aggressiveness
You might think that passive aggression is a rare behavior affecting a few people in the world.
But as you read Brandt’s fantastic book you realize that it’s not only relatively common but that most of us fall back on it at least on some occasions.
Ridding yourself of all hints of passive aggression will be a major contribution to a healthier, more loving relationship.
9. Too Good to Leave Too Bad to Stay
Mira Kirshenbaum’s book focuses on helping you decide whether to stay and work on your relationship or break up.
However, it ends up providing much more than that. As she goes through the core questions you should be asking yourself, she also highlights what are the central elements that make relationships too good to leave (or too bad to stay).
A really outstanding book and a must-read to overcome any hint of ambivalence you might have.
Quote: “when distance is safer than closeness, you don’t have a relationship”.
Of all the best relationship books I pick in here, Attached was the most eye-opening and mind-blowing of them all.
I’m grateful to Amir Levin for opening a new door of understanding for me with the attachment styles theory.
Quote: “To be independent, find the right person to be dependent to”
7. Why Marriages Succeed or Fail
Gottman debunks a big myth here: that there’s little arguing in strong relationships. He goes on to explain the different types of relationships that different “arguing personalities” form, telling the readers what works and what doesn’t.
All are based on years of observations and research. Fascinating, fascinating stuff.
Quote: “It’s not about how much you argue, it’s about how you argue“
6. Women Who Love Too Much
This will not be relevant to everyone, BUT, for those for whom it is relevant, it’s a potential life-changer and life-saver.
I wish there was a similar book called “men who need too much love”. Unluckily, there is no such book (yet). Luckily, Norwood covers that part as well.
For more on abusive relationships, please check:
- The psychopath’s approach to dating and relationships: a sobering and shocking read, really
- Types of abusive men
- Why Does He Do That: a book profiling abusers
Quote: The choice is yours. If you choose to begin the process of recovery, you will change from a woman who loves someone else so much it hurts into a woman who loves herself enough to stop the pain.
5. The 5 Love Languages
The “5 Love Languages” is the biggest seller of them all on this list. As a matter of fact, Chapman holds the record of the biggest-selling books of all the relationship genres.
The “5 Love Langues” is actually a very, very simple book that shares a very simple concept. But let’s not confuse easy with important!
We all have a favorite language to share our love, says Chapman. And if we don’t use the same language as our partner, we are failing to communicate and understand love.
Definitely, something we should be aware of!
4. The Tactical Guide to Women
Albeit written for men, the focus of this book is what all relationship books should start with picking the right partner.
Pick the right partner, and you’re already halfway through a successful relationship.
Quote: “If I’m scaring you about marriage, good. It’s a momentous decision”
3. The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think
Women think they know better about relationships.
But, in truth, most women know little about men and are ill-prepared to be in healthy relationships with men.
This book helps women learn about men so that they both can enjoy better relationships.
Quote: Maybe you’ve seen one of those cartoon diagrams of a man’s brain in which most of the brain areas are labeled “sex.” Those cartoons might be more accurate if they depicted a man’s brain as one giant marketing firm designed to earn the affection and admiration of women.
2. The Man’s Guide to Women
I can already hear some guys chiming in: “why is there a book on men understanding women, but not one on women understanding men?”.
Well, first of all, I have added that type of book to a second revision.
But this one still features higher because Gottman’s research shows that men play a much bigger role than women in determining the success -or lack thereof- of a relationship.
In a way, that empowers men. On the other hand, very few men have any idea of how women (and relationships) work.
Worry not, The Man’s Guide to Women is here to fix that.
Quote: “relationships are 90% of your life’s joy. Or sorrow. Which one is up to you“
1. Seven Principles to Make Marriage Work
Dear reader, honestly… Every single book on this list could have been #1. They’re just all so good.
In the end, I went for The Seven Principles to Make Marriage Work as it seemed to give a greater overview of what works and what doesn’t.
Again, all based on years of observation and empirical research.
All you have to do is apply the information to your relationship and enjoy the big rewards.
What’s not to love?
Quote: “Spend 10% of the gym time on your relationship and you get 3 times the benefits“
Human relationships and, most of all, intimate relationships have been proven over and over to be one of the main determinants of a happy life.
Relationships also weigh heavily on our health and our longevity.
Yet, it’s exceedingly rare for people to approach them systematically and as an improvable skill.
This list of best relationship books is here to buck the trend: grab these books, learn what works, and improve your relationship -and your life-.