Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Books on Marriage

Here are some books I often give to couples that are getting married. I often tell them to file the list away and pull it out and get a book when they feel stuck or want to further develop their relationship.

Marriage and Relationship Books

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman guides couples in identifying, understanding, and speaking their spouse's primary love language; quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. Chapters are categorized by love language for easy reference, and each one ends with simple steps to express a specific language to your spouse. You can build a lasting, loving marriage together.

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John Gottman Ph.D.
From Amazon
Gottman, the director of the Gottman Institute... shares the four not-so-obvious signs of a troubled relationship that he looks for, using sometimes amusing passages from his sessions with married couples. Gottman debunks many myths about divorce (primary among them that affairs are at the root of most splits). He also reveals surprising facts about couples who stay together. They do engage in screaming matches. And they certainly don't resolve every problem. … Through a series of in-depth quizzes, checklists, and exercises, similar to the ones he uses in his workshops, Gottman provides the framework for coping with differences and strengthening your marriage. His profiles of troubled couples rescued from the brink of divorce and those of still-happy couples who reinvigorate their relationships are equally enlightening. --Erica Jorgensen

Boundaries in Marriage by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Establishing and understanding boundaries are crucial to the success of a marriage, according to authors Cloud and Townsend, who cowrote the award-winning and biblically-based book Boundaries. For example, boundaries help us understand where one person ends and the other begins, the authors claim: "Once we know the boundaries, we know who should be owning the problem we are wrestling with," they write. "This issue of ownership is vital to any relationship, especially marriage." But more significantly, couples need to claim and take responsibility for the "treasures that lie within their individual borders," such as: "feelings, attitudes, behaviors, choices, limits, desires, thoughts, values, talents, and love." Based on the book that elevated them to national prominence, Cloud and Townsend caution readers not to use this self-help manifesto as a means to change one's spouse. Rather, this is a book about taking responsibility for oneself in all aspects of life, but especially within the boundaries of marital commitment.

A Handbook For Engaged Couples by Alice Fryling and Robert Fryling
Through a series of discussion questions, Alice and Robert Fryling encourage open, honest communication in the light of Scripture. This isn't just a book you read--it's a book you experience. Its interactive style allows you and your future spouse to explore its biblically based counsel and challenging questions together or with a pastor.

Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Less and Leslie Parrott
Les Leslie Parrott are … marriage counselors and teachers, they're on the cutting edge of marriage research and education. Each year they teach a blockbuster relationships course to hundred of college students They see the struggles and dreams of couples up close. And they reveal the flaws and foibles of their own relationship in order to show how challenging--and rewarding -- marriage can be. Most importantly, however, Les and Leslie Parrott share a dream: to equip couples in their twenties and thirties to prepare for lifelong marriage before it even starts. They know from experience that many couples spend more time preparing for their wedding than they do for marriage. Having tasted firsthand the difficulties of "wedding bell blues," they show young couples the skills they need to make the transition from "single" to "married" smooth and enjoyable. Whether you're contemplating marriage, engaged, or newly married, Les and Leslie will lead you through the thorniest spot in establishing a relationship. You'll learn how to uncover and deal with problems before they emerge. You'll discover how to communicate, not just talk. And you'll learn the importance of becoming "soul mates" -- a couple committed to growing together spiritually. Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts is more than a book -- it's practically a premarital counseling session! Questions at the end of every chapter help you explore each topic personally.

Married for Good: The Lost Art of Staying Happily Married by R. Paul Stevens
As many "good" marriages crumble around us, every couple has wondered if they, too, could end up divorced. Is there any way to prevent it? Is there any way to make sure you are married for good? In this book, Paul Stevens lays the foundation for a healthy, growing, permanent relationship.

Getting Ready for a Great Marriage by R. Paul Stevens

Communication: Key to Your Marriage by H. Norman Wright
What does it take to make a marriage intimate, loving and fun? It all starts with communication, the key to a vibrant, happy, lifelong partnership. … Trusted marriage and family counselor Dr. Norm Wright doesn’t just show readers the different ways men and women communicate he shows how to do it right! Readers will find practical ways to reduce marital conflict, manage anger, build up one another’s self-esteem and listen and understand each other at deeper and more satisfying levels.

The Intimate Marriage: A Practical Guide to Building a Great Marriage by R. C. Sproul
A commonsense guide to the skills of marriage that will lead the reader past potential problems and into joyous communion with his or her partner.

Men Are Like Waffles--Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences by Bill Farrel and Pam Farrel
Enticing ways to keep communication cooking, let gender differences work for—not against—them, help each other relieve stress, achieve fulfillment in romantic relationships, coordinate parenting so kids get the best of both Mom and Dad. The Farrels explain why a man is like a waffle (each element of his life is in a separate box) and a woman is like spaghetti (everything in her life touches everything else).

Pure Pleasure: Making Your Marriage a Great Affair by Bill Farrel, Jim Conway, Sally Conway
The authors offer a handbook filled with stories and lessons learned from their own relationships and counseling experience to help other couples strengthen and increase the pleasure (communication, fun, forgiveness, sexual intimacy) in marriage.

With this enlightening book, readers can conquer the most common obstacles to satisfying love--the twin fears of aloneness and closeness. The keys to surmounting these fears lie in developing awareness, honesty and commitment. The authors offer activities and exercises to help readers develop these relationship skills.

Close Companions: The Marriage Enrichment Handbook by David Mace
How To Have A Happy Marriage by David Mace

Couple Skills: Making Your Relationship Work by Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning, Kim Paleg

Love takes work, but, when it comes to relationships, it pays to work smarter. Couple Skills will show you how to work smarter in your relationship. You'll learn to improve communication, cope better with problems, and resolve conflicts with the one you love in healthy and creative ways. Each chapter teaches you an essential skill that supports greater relationship satisfaction and deeper intimacy. New to this edition is a chapter on using acceptance skills, developed from the revolutionary new acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). These new approaches will help you to accept your partner's feelings (and your own emotions) without judgment. Using these techniques will help you decide what you really value in your relationship and then commit to acting in ways that further those values every day.

(New Harbinger Publications is recommended in general)

Empowering Couples: Building on Your Strengths by David H. Olson Amy K. Olson

Empowering Couples, Building on Your Strengths is a book to help couples identify and build on their strengths. It will help couples also identify their stumbling blocks and teach them how to turn their stumbling blocks into stepping stones. Empowering Couples, Building on Your Strengths will help couples develop a plan for building a more vital and satisfying couple relationship.

Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley

In an age when the idyllic notion of everlasting love has been battered against the rocks of infidelity and divorce, ever-popular Christian counselor and writer Smalley (The Language of Love) offers his own tried and true methods for making love last forever. According to Smalley, the foundation of lasting love is falling in love with life itself. In the first section of the book, he explores principles for resolving anger, balancing expectations and reality and avoiding hurt. Using anecdotes from his counseling sessions and stories from his own marriage, Smalley fashions, in the second section of the book, a set of "forever-love" principles designed to help married couples improve their relationships. Some of the principles Smalley includes as essential ingredients for lasting love are better communication, understanding a spouse's personality type and using conflict to foster intimacy.


Mixed Matches by Joel Crohn
In a largely unnoticed revolution, millions of people are now defying taboos and forming intimate relationships with partners from other cultural, religious, and racial backgrounds. Here psychotherapist Crohn leads such people on a quest to answer the questions: "Should we practice two religions or one?"; "Which holidays should we celebrate?"; and "Should our children's names reflect their heritage?" In addition to the social and familial conflicts, Crohn also discusses culturally based conflicts that may too easily be understood merely as irreconcilable personality differences. He goes on to describe methods for helping couples resolve the problems that arise from varying world views. Various exercises, in-depth questionnaires, and sample dialogue allow the reader to learn by observing how other couples and families have built bridges across their differences. An exhaustive "resource" section, including support groups, books for young adults, and bibliographies, concludes the book.

Counseling Before Marriage by Everett L. Worthington Gary R. Collins
Everett Worthington's study on counseling before marriage is part of the Resources for Christian Counseling series, a series that combines the best of current psychological insight with rigorous adherence to Scripture.

Marriage Clinic by John M Gottman
A complete marital therapy program based on the author's much heralded research on marital success and failure. Research on why some couples divorce and others experience sustained bliss has led to a theory, including the fact that successful couples have an abundance of good feelings toward one another and are able to deal with inevitable conflicts without becoming hostile. This book offers a theoretically based systematic approach to assessing and treating dysfunctional marriages. It is packed with specific interventions and exercises.

Sex For Christians by Lewis Smedes.
Considered one of the definitive statements on sex and sexuality from a Christian perspective, Sex for Christians offers frank yet compassionate discussion that is at once refreshingly open-minded and strongly biblical. This edition adds discussions of AIDS and talk of safe sex, cohabitation, homosexuality, and the need to develop Christian strategies regarding sex.

Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch

Couples therapists often specialize in one or the other--sex or the relationship. It's a ridiculous separation says marital and sex therapist David Schnarch, who believes sex is the all-telling barometer of a love relationship. Schnarch's fundamental lesson is differentiation--the often threatening process of defining yourself as separate from your partner, which inevitably draws you closer to your partner than you ever dreamed possible. Schnarch uses dramatic therapy sessions to illustrate how differentiation doesn't just cure sexual dysfunction; it helps couples reach the mind-blowing heights of their sexual potential. A groundbreaking and truly erotic discussion of adult sexuality.

Authentic Human Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approach Judith K. Balswick, Jack O. Balswick
A bit more professional and academic. Sex pervades our culture, going far beyond the confines of the bedroom and spilling over into the workplace, the church and the media. Yet despite all the attention and even obsession devoted to sex, human sexuality remains confusing and even foreboding. What, after all, is authentic human sexuality? That is the question Judith and Jack Balswick set out to answer in this wide-ranging and probing book. Informed by sociology, psychology and theology, the Balswicks investigate how human sexuality originates both biologically and socially, lay groundwork for a normative Christian interpretation of sexuality, show how authentic sexuality is necessarily grounded in relationships, and explore such forms of "inauthentic sexuality" as sexual harassment, pornography and rape.


Spiritual Friendship by Aelred of Rievaulx

Aelred of the Spiritual Friendship is one of the most important treatises on friendship to emerge from the middle ages.  Working within a tradition that dates back to Cicero and other classical authors, Aelred (ca. 1110-67) discusses friendship from the perspective of Christian theology.


Intimate Allies by Dan B. Allender Longman, and Tremper

In Intimate Allies, counselor Dan Allender and theologian Tremper Longman III merge their minds and skills to strip away cultural expectations and takes a fresh look at Gods design for the marriage relationship. The authors focus on five foundations taken from Genesis 1-3 and include an extensive review of other biblical passages on marriage. Each section begins with a real-life story concerning an unresolved marriage issue and concludes with the same story built on the “foundation” of a godly marriage. With eloquence and wisdom, Intimate Allies will challenge readers to move their marriages out of the mundane and into the fulfilling and enriching experiences God intended.  


The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller
Based on the acclaimed sermon series by New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller, this book shows everyone-Christians, skeptics, singles, long-time married couples, and those about to be engaged-the vision of what marriage should be according to the Bible.


A Model For Marriage: Covenant, Grace, Empowerment And Intimacy by Jack O. Balswick, Judith K. Balswick
Jack and Judy Balswick offer a vision of marriage that is both profoundly spiritual and thoroughly practical for the twenty-first century.

Joy Breaks for Couples: Devotions to Celebrate Marriage by Les Parrott, Larry Crabb, Kevin Leman

These crisp devotions are brief enough to read in a few minutes, but they pack wisdom that can strengthen and energize your marriage. They'll help you see yourself, your spouse, and married life through the lens of the Bible, brightening the shady places with humor. Joy Breaks for Couples invites the two of you to savor your relationship: the things you love about it and even the things you're not so crazy about. Get ready to see the upside of the down! Here are truths you can apply today as you celebrate your friendship, your imperfections, family and home, your oneness, even in tough times, your future together, each other's gifts, and romance and passion. The writers--well-known marriage and family counselors, authors, and speaker--share candidly the insights they've gleaned from their own marriages.

The Ordinary Way by Dolores Leckey
          Family Spirituality

Mystery Of Marriage by Mike Mason

A lyrical meditation on the miracle of married love, searching in depth its spiritual foundations and contemplating the mysterious way in which marriage reveals something of the nature of Heaven.


Couples Praying by Gene O'Brien



Becoming Soul Mates Les, III Parrott, Leslie L. Parrott

Fifty-two practical weekly devotions help you and your partner cross the hurdles of marriage to grow closer

Spiritual Intimacy for Couples by Charles and Virginia Sell
Charles and Virginia sell teach couples how to deal with the common obstacles to spiritual togetherness in a way that is comfortable and productive. They provide creative ideas for improving devotional times, with specifics on discussion matter.

Marriage Spirituality: Ten Disciplines for Couples Who Love God by R. Paul Stevens




1 comment:

  1. The Five Love Languages is a great one! I recommend Radical Marriage by David Steele. For the Marriage section of this post! You listed some good ones, a couple that I need to read!


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