When Levon and I were engaged, we attended a marriage conference at our church. I quickly realized that our wedding day was not magically going to be the start of “happily ever after,” and that I had much to learn before then. Later, as a wedding gift, we received a set of marriage books (I’ll tell you which ones in a bit) that were utterly eye-opening for me. Most of what was presented in the book was completely new information, and after I read it, I was so thankful I did so early on in our marriage. I can’t even begin to think how many arguments it prevented. It may have even saved our marriage.
Learning about marriage is not a once-and-done deal, however, as you well know! As a friend commented on this post from last week, marriage is for better or for worse – it’s either getting better or it’s getting worse. I know that I need to continue to learn for our marriage to thrive and flourish.
Therefore, I have made it a point to read at least one book on marriage every year. Because I love to read, I usually read more than one. In the 6 1/2 years that we’ve been married, I’ve read well over a dozen books on marriage.
Does this mean we have a perfect marriage? Oh, definitely not. Unfortunately, just because you read something, doesn’t mean you automatically “get it.” Oh, how I wish that were true!
But I do believe that these books on marriage have put us in a much better position and made our relationship stronger than it otherwise would be. The things I’ve learned in these books have opened my eyes, challenged and convicted me, and given me the tools I need to grow as a wife.
In honor of Valentine’s Day next week, I’m taking this opportunity to share with you 5 of my favorite books on marriage. Enjoy!
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5 Best Books on Marriage
Love & Respect – Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
This book centers around the premise that most wives are primarily driven by the need to feel loved, while most husbands are primarily driven by a need to feel respected. When those needs are not met, spouses react negatively toward each other, and conflicts ensue. Dr. Eggerichs teaches wives how to give their husbands the respect they crave and husbands how to show greater love to their wives.
Love and Respect revealed to me that I was trying to meet Levon’s needs based on my driving need – to feel loved – when what he really desired was my respect. This was eye-opening for me. I also appreciated all the practical suggestions for how to show him respect. Men and women think so differently, and what seems innocuous to me can sometimes feel disrespectful to Levon. I need someone to show me, “This makes him feel disrespected, and here’s why. And this makes him feel respected, because of reasons X, Y, Z.” This book does that for me.
(Note: In the last year, Dr. Eggerichs wrote a book for moms teaching them about the importance of showing their sons respect and how they can do it in a way that simultaneously preserves their authority and builds their relationships. Check out my full review of Mother & Son: The Respect Effect.)
For Women Only/For Men Only – Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn
For Women Only was the book I referred to in the introduction. The one that started it all and made me realize I had a LOT to learn about this new husband of mine. This book is full of illuminating revelations about the inner workings of men. It answers many questions about some of the strange things that we, as women, just don’t “get” about our men. And it helps us understand, support, and love him for who he is – not who we think he is or should be.
(By the way, I assume that For Men Only is just as good and helpful for husbands seeking to understand their wives. I have not read it, so I cannot say for sure. But as much as I loved For Women Only, I’m betting its counterpart is equally fantastic.)
Sacred Marriage – Gary Thomas
The subtitle of this book says it all – “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” Sacred Marriage isn’t a book about how to have a happier marriage or even a better one. It’s a book that will help you see your marriage in the light of eternity. It will show you the deeper purposes of marriage beyond your own happiness and satisfaction. And it will give you a perspective that will forever impact your marriage and your relationship with God. Reading this book has helped me remain at peace in the midst of periodic strife and content regardless of the state of our relationship. Sacred Marriage forever puts to rest the question, “What if I married the wrong one.”
The Power of a Praying Wife – Stormie Omartian
The Power of a Praying Wife might just be the most powerful (excuse the pun) book you ever read for your marriage. Stormie Omartian is a powerhouse of prayer, and in this book she will teach you how to let God work in your marriage, even when you’re faced with seemingly impossible challenges. This book includes prayers for just about every area of your husband’s life, and these written prayers come in handy when you’re just not sure what to pray. It’s more than just a list of prayers, however. The Power of a Praying Wife teaches wives about the life-changing power of their prayers, and encourages them to let God do what they have not been able to themselves.
There is also a husband version. Again, I can’t personally speak for it, but it comes highly recommended by one of the pastors at my church. Knowing Stormie’s other books as I do, I’m willing to bet it’s a must-read for your husband, as well.
Kingdom Marriage – Tony Evans
I love Tony Evans, and I have read all the books in his Kingdom series. This one is similar to Sacred Marriage in that it seeks to connect its readers to God’s Kingdom purposes for their marriage. While their themes are similar, I found Kingdom Marriage to be a bit more instructional and applicable while Sacred Marriage was a bit more abstract. Both are fantastic, though, and I would encourage people to read both. As much as I love a good book on practical ways to improve my marriage, it’s important that I keep a perspective that views it in the context of God’s greater purposes beyond my own happiness.
That is my list of Top 5 Books on Marriage. Here are some other honorable mentions:
- The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman
- The First Five Years – Bill & Pam Farrell
- Cracking the Communication Code (The Language of Love and Respect) – Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (I mentioned this one earlier.)
- Sheet Music – Kevin Leman
- The Love Dare – Kendrick
- 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife – Arlene Pellicane
- 52 Things Husbands Need From Their Wives – Jay Payleitner
- When Couples Walk Together – Cindi McMenamin
- When a Woman Inspires Her Husband – Cindi McMenamin
- Cherished – Gary Thomas
Which books from these lists have you read? Which ones that are not on the list would you recommend? I’m always up for a good recommendation!
- 10 Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-For Manly Man
- 3 Goals for a Stronger Marriage
- 10 Practical Ways to Put Your Husband First
For More Book Recommendations:
- 5 Books Every Mom Should Read
- My Top 5 Favorite Books for Women
- My Favorite Recent Reads for Winter
- Fantastic Nonfiction You’ll Love This Summer