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Great Books to Improve your Marriage!

Updated on May 15, 2009

About two years into my relationship with my husband, he started to shove books on marriage at me. I have got to say that I was deeply offended by the notion that I was such a terrible wife that I needed to read book after book on the subject of marriage! I couldn't figure out why he was doing this, and why he wasn't reading the books he bought for himself on marriage.

Later, when we started to argue, and I turned to friends for support, comfort and advice, they recommended a few books to me that... Helped. I spent a fair bit of time confused and angered by the fact that I had been ignoring my husband's plea for understanding for so long, but I am happy to say that our marriage has come out on the other side!

I am going to recommend several books for you to read, whether your marriage is going strong or is in need of some work!

Books for Couples

The books in this category can be read together, but I recommend (for the most part) reading them individually. It's best if both partners read the books in question, as otherwise it becomes slightly one-sided and it's very difficult to make the most of the book.

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

I'm going to be brutally honest. When I first read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, I didn't like the book. I walked away from it feeling confused about how I fit into my relationship and I felt as though the author was telling me that my husband had no responsibility to care for me, but that I had to respect his need for space and privacy.

Over the years (I read this during my first marriage), I discovered that I had taken a lot away from the book. I have learned more than anything how to best communicate with my husband in a way that he can understand. This is the book that really opened my eyes to the differences between men and women, and it left me more receptive to further explorations on the subject.

I am concerned that men might get less out of this book than women do, though I have to confess that when Gray explained women, he was explaining me. I couldn't take away from the book something that I already knew!

This book is a classic, and a good, basic read on the subject of marriage.

Love and Respect

I found Love and Respect at a Half Price Bookstore about eight months ago, and I read it immediately. I devoured this book in one day, in large part because I was, at the time, angry with my husband. I thought that maybe there were some pearls of wisdom in the book that could convince my husband to be more loving towards me.

That wasn't the case. In Love and Respect, Eggerichs talks about the "Crazy Cycle" that causes couples to fight. It is a great analogy, and it's very true. When a man is unloving towards his wife, she tends to be disrespectful to him, and when a woman is disrespectful to her husband, he tends to be unloving towards her.

I found that this book was exceptionally one-sided, however. While the book is marketed for couples, the author treats the subject as something that "all men understsand" but the concept of respecting our husbands is something new to women. He is entirely wrong about this and I would have preferred to see some more balance to the book.

This book is good for women to learn from if they can overlook the one-sidedness. If men intend to read this book I feel that they should do so with their spouses and by opening the lines of communication with her (which is unusual for men). Pay attention to her feelings or you could wind up in trouble!

The Five Love Languages

I know several marriages that have been saved because of this book. This may very well be the book about marriage that every couple should read!

The Five Love Languages is a book about learning how to love your spouse the way that he or she needs to be loved. Gary Chapman teaches couples to identify their own and their partner's love language in order to play to their individual needs.

The five love languages are: Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Affection, Receiving Gifts and Quality Time. You can learn more about them on the Five Love Languages website.

Books for Men

Okay, I am female, and I have seriously read a grand total of one book for men! It is, however, a book that I would highly recommend! Hopefully I will be able to update this hub in the future with more books written to help men in their relationships!

Books for Women

I've read a lot of these. I am including as many of them as I am able to remember distinctly enough to actually give them a halfway decent review. I would highly recommend almost all of the books that I have read, and I suggest exploring as many as possible in an effort to really begin to understand what potential your marriage has!

For Men Only

A friend of mine recommended the For Couples Only books and actually purchased them for us. I was, shall we say, cautious. I read For Men Only before giving it to my husband!

This book is terrific! There were so many times during the reading when I found myself laughing out loud about the fact that the author could have been describing some of the things about me that I thought were the most eccentric!

This is a very honest look at the way a woman thinks and the things that she needs from her husband. It is encouraging to both men and women, and has the potential to really change your marriage if you are willing to take a deeper look!

For Women Only

I can honestly say that this book might have saved my marriage. I understood that my husband needed my respect, but I couldn't quite grasp what that actually meant. I asked him, and he wasn't opening up (after all, he's a guy!). Confused, and moreover hurt by his failure to explain, I started to sink, and sink fast.

Then I read For Women Only. The book is incredible, ladies. The author, Shaunti Feldhahn, did some serious and moreover scientific research for this book. She talked to men in her church and to men on the street. She polled them based on a set of questions that were developed specifically for this project. The things she learned will amaze you, and will leave your husband thinking "You didn't already know that?!?"

The Excellent Wife

This book was recommended in a group dedicated to women who are in Head of Household relationships. I expected to read a book that would help me to learn how to deepen my submission. Instead, I feel that Martha Peace goes further to encouraging women to stand up to their husbands and to, in the minds of men like my own husband, put them down.

I didn't like The Excellent Wife. I am not entirely sure that the wife described in this book is truly excellent, in fact.

This book is meant for Christian women and is largely based on the woman described in Proverbs 31. I feel that the book fell quite short in teaching women to be responsible within their marriage and that much of the book is a recipe for an unhappy marriage -- at least for me.

It seems, however, that most women in Christian marriages do read this book at some point or another!

I would like to add that this book is also quite one-sided, discussing soley the responsibilities of a woman. The "rewards" described in the book are entirely spiritual rewards and the underlying implication is that a woman should not "expect" her husband to treat her well. I'm not sure if this has something to do with Martha Peace's generation or if I'm reading something that isn't there. As I said, I did not like this book!

The Politically Incorrect Wife

This was the first book that really captured my heart after becoming a Christian. The book is written from a very Christian perspective, but the great thing about Politically Incorrect Wife is that the authors have been there. They have both been in failing marriages and they have both turned them around and made them work. They give practical ideas on how to handle the issue of respect in your marriage and how to manage your husband's needs.

This book is very raw, realistic and down to earth. The authors know that their opinions aren't popular, and they use a lot of anecdotes to make their points. They've been there, done that and come out on the other side. I loved this book! Highly recommended!


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    • Ebonny profile image


      5 years ago from UK

      Thanks for sharing your personal experiences. Will bookmark this one.

    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 

      8 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Wow, sometimes hubs that provide "simple" but important information are somewhat boring, but I really enjoyed reading your hub and your conversational style and commentary kept me reading the entire time. I really enjoy your critique of each book. I also read your current profile and your going back and reworking your hubs is intriguing and I am imagining rewarding. It's kind of what some painters do with a canvass. I am looking forward to following you in the future or in the now!

      And excuse me for being so bold, but one more book you mighr really enjoy is called "From The Frying Pan To The Jacuzzi: Gourmet Recipes For A Gourment Relationship." The author is me. It is available on Amazon. It is a fun book,integrates "everything": theology, psychology, experience, biology, neurobiology, sociology, humor, grief, and so on. Check it out sometime. There is a website where you can download some of the chapters

      It is NOT a book at how good I am at relationships or how good my marriage is. In fact, we are separated at the moment.

      AGain, great blog and good info and critique


    • dawnM profile image

      Dawn Michael 

      8 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

      great job, but I have to say one of my favorites is still Dr. Laura's the proper care and feeding of husbands, I think that the title does not do the book justice, because the book is nothing like what the title says. Great job

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 

      9 years ago from Rochester, New York

      the Five Love Languages is a great book. Also James Dobson, Gary Smalley, are great authors. Hi EM how ya been?

    • Everyday Miracles profile imageAUTHOR

      Becki Rizzuti 

      9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Maybe I just have a higher standard for myself than others have for me, countrywomen? I get frustrated easily!

      Do check out the Five Love Languages. That one is fantastic and so very much worth the read! I need to get a new copy of it!

    • countrywomen profile image


      9 years ago from Washington, USA

      Thanks for this list. Except for the first one "Men are from Mars..." I haven't read the rest of them. I will check out if my local library has any copies of those books. Thumbs up for an informative hub. Btw your hubs rock(and not suck). :D

    • Haunty profile image


      9 years ago from Hungary

      Great selection, EM. I've read some of these and find that Chapman's theory actually works. Sometimes you can do anything virtually to no avail until you find the right language. And it's not just for lovers, you can make your friends feel good too. If I might add two of my favorite books here, they would be: The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine; and Brainsex: The Real Difference Between Men And Women by Anne Moir & David Jessel. Thanks for the tips. :)

    • Everyday Miracles profile imageAUTHOR

      Becki Rizzuti 

      9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      I really feel like that book really handed the guys a lot of leeway in their relationships, Nelle. That's what I didn't like about it. But there are some communicatio gems in that book :)

      The Five Love Languages is *very* worth the read!

    • profile image

      Nelle Hoxie 

      9 years ago

      I don't generally read these books. But when Men are From Mars.... spent so long on the Bestseller List I relented. The one useful piece of advice that I took away from that book was don't confuse you husband with your girlfriends. And don't expect him to act like one. I'm not even sure why, but that one line has saved me countless frustration. I'll find myself saying to myself, he's not your girlfriend, cut him some slack. And I've been sure that I always have girlfriends that I can have that time that I crave.

    • Everyday Miracles profile imageAUTHOR

      Becki Rizzuti 

      9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Seriously Diana, one of the best books on the subject I've ever read. The Politically Incorrect Wife is great too!

    • dianacharles profile image


      9 years ago from India

      Thanks for the list...some of those books sound interesting.Should pick up that- For Women only. Men are strange creatures :P

    • lxxy profile image


      9 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      I don't doubt. I don't doubt. The only issue, however, is that it seeks to separate male and female; gender. Gender is fiction. Sex, isn't, though.


    • Everyday Miracles profile imageAUTHOR

      Becki Rizzuti 

      9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      I thought the same thing when I first read it, G|M. But I think that if you read the book with the right attitude there is a lot about the way the sexes communicate in that book, and to date it's the ONLY book I've read that clears some of that up so well.

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image


      9 years ago from Earth

      Good list, great job!

      "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus," I feel is actually doing more harm than good. The first thing to realize is that you and your husband aren't opposed to each other, just different. =)

      But I am glad that your life is shaping up well, and as always....I wish the best for you. =)




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