Marriage & Divorce
July 31, 2020

Best Relationship Books To Strengthen Your Love Life

Relationship books can be great for advice on your love life, or for just having a great read.
Written by
Elizabeth Kirkhorn
Published on
July 31, 2020
Updated on
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Look no further for the tail-end of your summer reading list. If you’re expanding your knowledge of relationships, you can settle in with one of these books. Whether  you’re looking for some literary advice to woo a partner, advice on how to maintain your relationship, or you’re just itching for a good romance to dive into on the beach, we’ve got you covered with the best relationship books.

Best relationship books for advice 

1. Everything You Need To Know If You Want Love That Lasts, by Sabrina Alexis

Acclaimed relationship writer Sabrina Alexis is no stranger to helping people understand relationships. In her latest book, she shares the skills you’ll need to find and keep a happy, loving, and mutually satisfying partnership. 

2. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice On Love And Life From Dear Sugar, by Cheryl Strayed

From best-selling author Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things is a compilation of columns she wrote as “Sugar,” the once anonymous columnist at The Rumpus. Packed with compassion, wisdom and laugh-out-loud moments, this book is full of anecdotes to ease your relationship pains. 

3. Choosing Me Before We: Every Woman's Guide To Life And Love, by Christine Arylo

This whip-smart book is like having a conversation with a close friend. Designed to challenge women to create the relationships they want instead of the relationships they get stuck in, Choosing Me Before We provides an empowering foreground for your next partnership.

Best relationship books for long-term couples 

1. Mindful Relationship Habits, by SJ Scott

This handy book includes 25 exercises for couples who are working on intimacy and closeness. Guided by the belief that it’s easy to fall in love, but harder to keep the spark alive for the long-haul, Mindful Relationship Habits provides the tools to connect with your partner and keep your relationship fresh.

2. Love, Sex And Staying Warm: Creating A Vital Relationship, by Neil Rosenthal

From international news columnist Neil Rosenthal, this interactive guide to reigniting passion will help strengthen any relationship. It’s rich with practical action steps you can start today to bring your partnership back to the honeymoon phase. 

3. Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations For A Lifetime Of Love, by Sue Johnson

In Hold Me Tight, Johnson uses principles from her successful therapy practice to explain how to enrich and save your relationship. Using case studies, advice, and practical exercises, couples will learn how to have important conversations to build a love that lasts. 

Best relationship books if you’re in a toxic relationship 

1. I Have Something To Tell You: A Memoir, by Natalie Appleton

This is a story for anyone who is in a situation they are afraid to leave, including an unhealthy relationship. On the eve of getting engaged, Appleton decides she doesn’t want to settle for unhappiness and moves to Bangkok on a whim. I Have Something To Tell You is a funny, vulnerability exploration of self-fulfillment that will teach you not to settle for anything.

2. Whole Again: Healing Your Heart And Rediscovering Your True Self After Toxic Relationships And Emotional Abuse, by Jackson MacKenzie

MacKenzie, a leading voice on recovery from toxic relationships, shares hope and strategies to readers leaving troubled partnerships behind. The book’s aim is to teach you how to heal old wounds relating to all types of abuse, so that you can safely let love in where it belongs. 

3. Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Surviving A Relationship With A Narcissist, by Ramani Durvasula

A person who is narcissistic can suck the soul out of any relationship. Durvasula provides readers with checklists, psychological wisdom, and emotional anecdotes to educate readers on what a relationship with a narcissist can really mean. 

Best relationship books to read with your partner

1. The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships, by John Gottman and Joan DeClaire

A ground-breaking program to bring positivity into your relationship, The Relationship Cure is a simple five-step program for couples to complete together. The program is based on 20 years of innovative research and has helped improve relationships between spouses and lovers worldwide. 

2. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts, by Gary Gottman

This #1 New York Times bestseller has been a resource to thousands of couples. By learning a person’s “love language,” Dr. Gary Gottman’s research demonstrates how people, including yourself, give and receive love. This knowledge can help you experience richer levels of intimacy with your partner right off the bat. 

3. 201 Relationship Questions: The Couple’s Guide to Building Trust and Emotional Intimacy, by Barrie Davenport

Mindful questioning is a useful technique to bring deeper emotions, desire, and conflicts into the open. Davenport says 201 Relationship Questions is a mutual questioning journey that will be eye-opening, enlightening, and challenging at times. It will be worth it when you and your partner have laid the foundation for a satisfying partnership ahead.

Best relationship books for when your relationship is struggling

1. I Love You, But I Don’t Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship, by Mira Kirshenbaum

Is your relationship worth saving? Will trust ever come back? How can things be good between us again? If you’re asking yourself these questions, I Love You, But I Don’t Trust You may be right for you. Her guidance will help repair broken trust, no matter how it was broken to begin with. 

2. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, by Douglas Stone

No matter what you and your partner disagree on, this critically-acclaimed book can help you tackle those tough conversations with less stress. Dealing with topics such as defensiveness, letting things go unsaid, and how to decipher the underlying meanings of a difficult conversation, you will turn to Difficult Conversations again and again for help opening a successful dialogue with a partner. 

3. When Sorry Isn’t Enough: Making Things Right With Those You Love, by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas

Even in the most idyllic relationships, people make mistakes. What happens when “sorry” isn’t enough to fix them? This book unveils new ways to mend fractured relationships that go beyond simply saying “I’m sorry,” as well as explaining how meaningfully crafted apologies can make a partnership stronger than ever before.

Best relationship books for when you’re hungry for a love story

1. Red, White & Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to modern royalty America has. So what happens when he falls in love with actual royalty — Henry, the crowned prince of England? As his mother, President Claremont, kicks off her re-election campaign, Alex finds himself in a secret relationship that could upend two nations. Red, White & Royal Blue is funny, witty, sexy and will leave you thinking about what you’ll sacrifice for love.

2. The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang

In The Kiss Quotient, Stella Lane is a 30-year-old mathematician with Asperger’s who believes that algorithms are the only thing that will unite the universe, and she has no experience with dating. When she decides she needs professional help in the intimacy department, she hires escort Michael Phan. As their relationship deepens, Stella starts to realize that love might be more powerful than logic. 

3. Conversations With Friends, by Sally Rooney

In this sharply intelligent novel that explores a bevy of complicated, relationship dynamics, two college students end up entangled with a wealthy married couple. Frances, the young and observant narrator, struggles to keep life in check as her relationships spiral out of control; she clashes with married lovers, family members, and best friends. In Conversations With Friends, author Sally Rooney explores strange and unexpected connections with compelling language, sharp storytelling, and panache.

Best books to read when you’re going through a break-up

1. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert had everything she ever wanted — a flourishing career, a big house, a husband. But instead of feeling accomplishment, she was consumed by panic and confusion, leading to eventual heartbreak and divorce. In her transformative memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert realizes what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own happiness. It’s the perfect anecdote for anyone who is grieving the loss of a relationship, and looking to do the same. 

2. This Is Me Letting You Go, by Heidi Priebi

Letting go doesn’t come naturally to us, and it’s an arduous process we are constantly having to relearn. In Heidi Priebi’s collection of essays, This Is Me Letting You Go, she sheds light on the harsh reality of letting someone go, and embracing what comes next. 

3. Anger: Wisdom For Cooling The Flames, by Thich Nhat Hanh

If you are harboring resentment, bitterness, or rage over your break-up, Anger: Wisdom For Cooling The Flames is the guide you need to get through it. It provides direction for refocusing your energy, and rejuvenating parts of yourself that are controlled by angry feelings. 

Best relationship books to read if you’re searching for “the one”

1. Models: Attract Women Through Honesty, by Mark Manson

Models: Attract Women Through Honesty explores the original idea that seduction can be an emotional process rather than a logical one. Readers will come away with the tools to connect with women rather than impressing them, using genuine behavior and honesty to change the game. 

2. Science Of Happily Ever After, by Ty Tashiro 

In Science Of Happily Ever After, Dr. Ty Tashiro explores the science behind our compatibility in a playful and informative way, illustrating how and why we fall in love. Synthesizing years of clinical research into language we can understand, the book will provide some useful context into how to find your happy ending. 

3. Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis

Wry wit, joy and personal experience combine to create Hollis’s illuminating story about breaking free from convention to live an exuberant life. In Girl, Wash Your Face, Hollis urges women to live with passion and hustle hard, providing all the lessons to cement self-confidence before you go looking for a partner. 

People have been turning to literature to change their love lives for decades. Whether you’re muddling through a troubled relationship  deciding you’re ready to meet “the one,” there’s no wrong time to pick up a book and seek some helpful advice.

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Elizabeth is a graduate student from New York, New York. She writes personal essays about identity, womanhood, and love.

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