Committed relationships can be amazing. Navigating life’s challenges with a supportive partner, having regular hot sex, growing old together sans conflict… all of that sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? Of course! It also sounds like a pipedream. That’s why I’ll be sharing the best books that helped my relationship, to help you navigate yours.
The Best Books to Make Our Relationships Work for Us
Committed relationships are hard. Sometimes, you straight up hate your partner, go months without sex, or disagree on fundamental issues that feel like deal-breakers. Relationships are complicated, confusing and beautiful. Luckily, all of that can be true at the same time. It never hurts to get some support to increase intimacy and keep our relationship healthy and happy. These four books have been key in helping me make my relationship work for me (most of the time).
1. Marry Him, the Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough
I listened to this book on Audible when I was already three years into a relationship with my now-husband. The title is a little sensational — I think my partner would have been pretty annoyed to see it lying around on my bedside table. Luckily, it was living inside my phone! The book, by Lori Gottlieb, takes a tough-love approach to dating and relationships, and despite the spicy title, is about being realistic and fair in relationships. This book is definitely not for everyone (if you want proof, go look at it’s Goodreads page), but the perspective it offers helped me navigate a particularly rocky time in my relationship. For that reason, it will always have a special place in my heart. Get the book here.
2. The 5 Love Languages
This is a classic. I won’t tell you how many fights I’ve had with my husband about giving me words of affirmation. I won’t even tell you how many times I’ve cried in public over veggie burgers about it (only once! It was only once). However, those fights all happened before I read this book. I knew I wanted him to “baby me” or “say three nice things to me every day” but I didn’t have the vocabulary necessary to get my feelings across. The 5 Love Languages is succinct and easy to understand, making it one of the best books for relationships and a great tool in the communication department. Get the book here.
3. Come As You Are
Sex is one of the trickiest parts of a relationship. It can be hard to switch from “life partner” mode (coordinating chores and household duties, organizing finances) to “sexy partner” mode. To help you understand your own sexual preferences, author Emily Nagoski breaks down sexual response using terms like “brakes” and “accelerators”. It might sound confusing without context, but trust us, it’s worth knowing. Nagoski takes an approach to sexuality that is both scientific and approachable (such talent!) and helps normalize the weird and sometimes icky feelings that come up around sex, body image and intimacy. Also, it helps you have orgasms, so there’s that. Get the book here.
4. Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic
Esther Perel. That’s it. That’s the blurb. Kidding! This book is pretty ubiquitous, and for good reason. Perel writes about how stability, comfort and emotional intimacy — all very important facets of long-term relationships — can be completely at odds with uncertainty and mystery, which are key elements in passion. The book itself is juicy and chock-full of suggestions on how to recapture eroticism in relationships. Like the others on this list, this book is not for everyone. Like all of the best things in life, this book requires an open mind when looking for insights into relationships. Get the book here.
Honorable Mention: Passionate Marriage
This book was recommended to me by my therapist, so you know it’s legit. Passionate Marriage is aimed at those who have been with their significant others for a long time — its goal is to help couples lay the groundwork for keeping the spark alive as life gets busy. If you want to broach any of these relationship topics with your partner, make a book club date!
There you have it, the best books that helped my relationship. Now curl up with your partner, grab a book and have some orgasms!