How’s your love life? On the eve of Valentine’s Day, our book expert shares her fave love and relationship books to improve your marriage
Where forgotten New Year’s resolutions meet Valentine’s Day, this time of year finds many of us grasping for a little outside help in the romance department. Head to therapy, freshen up that lingerie drawer, or pick up inspiration in the pages of a book. Whether you are looking for actionable strategies or peek into the love lives of others, here are five books that could give you a fresh way of thinking about your marriage.
If you haven’t read it, you know someone who has. They’ve probably told you all about it to the extent that you could name at least three of the “languages” right now. According to Chapman, once the euphoria of being in love wears off (about two years in, he says), many relationships crumble simply because partners are speaking different love languages. The good news is, it’s never too late to become fluent. Once you’ve got it, it makes perfect sense. You’ll never waste your money buying flowers or ties when your mate just needs you to compliment his cooking! The response has been so great, that there are versions for teens, men, singles, and children.
Iconic couples’ therapist Esther Perel puts a fresh spin on the oldest marriage-ender in the book. Affairs hurt, Perel says, but they happen all the time, and they can be a starting point for a stronger and healthier marriage (yes, between the original two members of the couple). Widely praised for her intelligent and nuanced look at this provocative topic, Perel gives a balanced perspective on what happens before, during, and after the affair. And it’s not just for the cuckolded: many reviewers say they wish they’d read it at the start of their marriage.
This is an oldie but it’s as relevant as ever. We are all guilty being bad listeners sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up: social media has given you the attention span of gnat, and your kids and your dog and your boss all need a dozen different things from you right this very second. Who can blame you for being distracted? But for those times when you need to have a capital-T-talk, how wonderful would it be for both parties to feel heard and understood? Read this and never again walk away from an emotional conversation longing for a do-over.
You can rest assured that this book will not become a project – you won’t be dropping any new lingo or asking your spouse to take a quiz – but it might just make you feel less alone, whatever your particular relationship challenge may be. Darbyshire is a social media star who asked his gazillion followers to share their innermost thoughts about their relationship experiences, in the form of hand-written letters, poems, photographs, and emails, and this book is the outcome. What could be more modern?
Melton started as a mommy blogger who won followers by the boatload with her refreshing honesty, humour, and compassion. Today she’s a brand onto herself who pens bestsellers and draws Oprah-level crowds. This most recent book details her journey of self-discovery after the learning that her loving, supportive husband had been having affairs for years. She opens up about her past struggles with addiction and sexuality, and takes you along for the ride as she digs deep and ultimately triumphs. You’ll come out of this read with renewed empathy for yourself and your spouse — and wishing you were Melton’s friend IRL. She’s all the more fascinating when you know that after this book was published, she divorced her husband, married U.S soccer player Abby Wambach, and now seems happy as a clam in one big messy modern family.