6 Candid And Insightful Books About Marriage And Relationships

Intimate, loving relationships don't just occur out of nowhere: they take the work, time, and commitment of everyone involved. Navigating such a complex arrangement can be tricky, which is why it's often helpful to turn to books for advice. The ones listed here are written by scholars and psychotherapists, and offer insights that will make you look at romance and marriage in new ways. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

6 Illuminating Reads About Relationships and Matrimony

Title Author
31 Days to Build a Better Relationship Clinton Power
Mating in Captivity Esther Perel
Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State Clare Chambers
Marry Him Lori Gottlieb
Love between Equals Polly Young-Eisendrath
Rewriting the Rules Meg-John Barker

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In Depth

No relationship is perfect and most of us as human beings strive for a better, more loving connection with our partner. Sometimes it is difficult to admit when there are issues and it can be comforting to hear advice from an unbiased party. In no particular order, here are six books to offer insight into marriage as a whole and to creating healthier long term relationships.

First up at #1, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship written by relationship counselor and marriage therapist Clinton Power. This book offers clear, simple and practical advice on how to improve the quality of your relationship one day at a time. Through his extensive work with singles and couples over the last decade, Clinton has observed some of the most common problems where couples get stuck and don't know what to do. He has taken his broad knowledge and experience and distilled down the most essential areas where couples need help in overcoming their communication and intimacy blocks, and offers helpful advice on how to overcome them.

In 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship, Power focuses each chapter on one area of your relationship where issues can arise. He describes the most common issues you face in user-friendly language, backed up by the latest research on the science on human connection. At the end of each chapter, you then take a simple action step within the next 24 hours to improve the quality of your relationship.

He describes the most common issues you face in user-friendly language, backed up by the latest research on the science on human connection.

In at #2, we have Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. One of the world's most respected voices on erotic intelligence, Esther Perel offers a bold, provocative new take on intimacy and sex. Mating in Captivity invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home.

Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships.

#3 is the book, Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State. Clare Chambers argues that state-recognized unions violate both equality and liberty, even when expanded to include same-sex couples. This can also be problematic for political liberalism, since it imposes a controversial, hierarchical conception of the family that excludes many adults and children.

This can also be problematic for political liberalism, since it imposes a controversial, hierarchical conception of the family that excludes many adults and children.

Instead, Chambers proposes the marriage-free state: an egalitarian approach in which religious or secular unions are permitted but have no legal status and are regulated based on relationship practices. Finally, Chambers considers how the marriage-free state should respond to unequal religious unions. The result is an egalitarian approach that fits the diversity of real relationships.

Coming in at #4, we have Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. Nearing forty and still single, Lori Gottlieb started to notice that modern relationships seemed to be getting ever more complicated and statistics backed that up: more people who wanted a happy marriage were having trouble finding and sustaining one. What was getting in the way?

Drawing from the most current scientific research on love and marriage, along with surprising insights from renowned experts in the field, Marry Him is an eye-opening, funny, and candid in-depth examination of today's relationships and a call to arms about having higher standards about what really matters for lasting love. Marry Him helps readers both single and married discover their blind spots when it comes to finding and sustaining fulfilling relationships.

Marry Him helps readers both single and married discover their blind spots when it comes to finding and sustaining fulfilling relationships.

Next up at #5 we have Love between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path. In it, Polly Young-Eisendrath Ph.D., an experienced Buddhist teacher, psychotherapist, and couples counselor, helps us learn how to successfully negotiate conflicts and deepen our most intimate relationships.

A committed relationship, as most people see it today, is a partnership of equals who share values and goals, a team united by love and dedicated to each other's growth on every level. This contemporary model for coupledom requires real intention and work, and, more often than not, the traditional archetypes experienced by our parents and grandparents fail us or seem irrelevant. Utilizing the wisdom of her years of personal and professional practice, Young-Eisendrath dismantles our idealized projections about love, while revealing how mindfulness and communication can help us identify and honor the differences with our partners and strengthen our bonds. These practical and time-tested guidelines are rooted in sound understanding of modern psychology and offer concrete ideas and the necessary tools to reinforce and reinvigorate our deepest relationships.

Lastly, coming in at #6 is Meg-John Barker's Rewriting the Rules: An Anti Self-Help Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships. This is a guide through the complicated, and often contradictory, advice that's given about sex and gender, monogamy and conflict, break-up and commitment. It asks questions about the rules of love. Do we stick to what we learned growing up, or do we try something new and risk being out on our own? And what about the times when these regulations we've created seem to make things worse, rather than better?

Do we stick to what we learned growing up, or do we try something new and risk being out on our own?

Barker considers how the rules are being rewritten in various ways, for example in monogamous and polyamorous relationships, different methods of understanding sex and gender, and new ideas for managing commitment and break-up where economics, communities, or child-care make complete separation impossible. This book explores how these ideas are negotiated in different ways, giving you the power to find an approach that best fits your situation.