The Best Books That Helped Me Improve My Relationship

Published on February 10, 2022

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Books with the word love on one

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

Close-up shot of open old book laying on another book, and with red heart by side, against dark colored background. Concept of love to read or reading of romance novel. Side view

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). 

Loving couple wrapped with a blanket reading very diverting book

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.

Young man and woman near the fireplace at home together sitting drinking hot cocoa and reading book

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.

Sheets of book curved into heart shape on wooden table against unfocused lights

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! 

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The Author
Sophie Babinski is a Montreal-based lifestyle writer, wellness enthusiast and Real Housewives historian.