Ok, I know it sounds scandalous when a selection called “The Screwtape Letters” tops your love and marriage book list, but our marriage has been blessed by some incredible writings….Many of which where never written as marriage books. As I’m working on my Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling, I see many of the same themes and advice run through my texts…(I abhor redundant reading, so I narrowed down my favorites). By request of many friends, I’ve compiled a list of the “Best of the Best” that I’ve read and little snippets on why they will rock your marriage and relationships! I hope you enjoy these mini-reviews and take time this weekend to pick out a new read!
- Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerich– If you had to read one book about understanding the dynamics of marriage, this is your “go to”. The core of this book investigates the biblical call for men to love their wives and women to respect their husbands. This practical guide helps you understand inherent gender differences and how to break negative cycles in a relationship. Truly, if you would pick one book from this list to read first.. this is a game-changer!
- Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller– The spiritual perspective on marriage give deeper calling and purpose to your union. Understanding that your lives as a married couple transcends your story with each other, but is a tool for understanding Christ’s relationship to all enriches not only your relationship, but faith as well.
- The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis– This classic tale of demonic pen pals may not jump to the top of your list of books on love, however, this narrative outlines how simple misunderstanding and footholds of individual pride can become huge stumbling blocks even in the most godly relationships. C.S. Lewis’ story will make you look at familiar fights and frustrations in a whole new light and implore couples to work in prayer and unity.
- My Future Listography by Lisa Nolan– I love books that are interactive journals. One of my favorite dates with my husband was snuggling in a cabin on a snowy date, talking about our future plans using this book. The Listography collection has so many choices with both serious and humorous prompts. It’s great to live in the moment, but planning (and COMMUNICATING) shared dreams gives you a vision toward the future. ***This book brings lots of giggles, great conversation and is PERFECT for a date night!
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen– Oh yes, every girl dreams of her “Mr. Darcy” to come… but if you read the book you realize, “Man, that guy screws up a lot”, and you find yourself metaphorically beating your head against the wall. Both protagonists need second chances. Read this classic with fresh eyes, paying special attention to how even the most romanticized characters needed an amazing amount of grace and patience from their partner. (Click on the link to download free, or just watch the movie with subtitles on… that counts as reading, right?)
- 5 Love Languages: Military Edition by Gary Chapman– The 5 Love Languages books are great outlining how we receive affection and love through words of affirmation, physical touch, gifts, quality time and acts of service. Humorously enough, my hubby and I are polar opposites as we scored our quizzes. In a day and age when work life often takes a partner on extended time apart, this particular edition gives insightful tips of how to love one another well, even if you are not in close proximity…As a wife who likes physical touch and a husband who needs quality time, this books gives great advice for couples who commute.
- Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare– Sometimes, it is okay to be in love with love! This classic comedy follows two enemy’s whose love for each other blossom based on a rumor made by conniving friends. Though I don’t condone deceit, this story shows how a person’s character and demeanor change simply by the knowledge that they are loved and desired. (Again, if you rent the 1993 movie… which is well done, and turn on the subtitles, it counts as reading as its word for word Shakespeare 😉 )
- His Needs: Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley– Jumping off concepts from Love and Respect (without being redundant), this author dives into the core reasons why eyes wander and fidelity fails. Men and Women require certain aspects of their lives to be filled by their spouse, and when there is a deficit, a weakness arises in that union. This is a concise read, clearly outlining SPECIFICALLY what husband and wives can do for one anther to help fill their “emotional bucket”. This is the ultimate team player guide to loving your spouse.
- Corduroy by Don Freeman – As a kid, I used to read this story of a poor stuffed bear with a broken button. He thought that if only he could fix himself, that the little girl in store would want him. After many failed attempts, the bear is ultimately adopted by the little girl, who loves him in all his imperfection. Together, she sews on a new button and calls Corduroy loved. As an adult, this children’s story took on new meaning spiritually and relationally. In my marriage, we are two imperfect people who accept one another wholly, while committed to helping one another grow and fix our flaws, together in Christ.
- Four Seasons of Marriage by Gary Chapman– The same guy who wrote “Love Languages” wrote this piece on how marriages have four seasons; satisfied, hopeful, unsettled, and distant. This is a very interesting read on how we have both life stages and emotional life stages that we walk through together.
- Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman– Sex within marriage is an incredible thing. This book gives deeper insight into the spiritual bond of sex as well as the nitty gritty tips under the sheets. It is kind of like the his and her needs targeted for the bedroom. ***This one’s a great bridal shower gift for before the wedding.
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein– Another kid’s classic, but is an excellent metaphor of pouring into another person and appreciating the giver.
- Love and War by Jon and Stasi Eldredge– Take the book Captivating and Wild at Heart…sandwich them together and you get an intriguing read on living a fierce life together for God’s glory. This read outlines the call put in men and women’s lives and the power that is brought through the union of man and wife!
- Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook – Finally, and most importantly, a well-fed husband is a happy husband. There is now better resource for understanding the basics of cooking and baking. I especially like the convenience of the hearty Binder- bound 1950s-style edition. Not only is it kind of kitschy but it can stand easily on an
easel in your kitchen for quick reference. Learn to work smarter, not harder in the kitchen. There is some truth that “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Come on guys and girls…let’s make dinner!
Hope you can find a good read for this weekend! Many blessings on your relationships.