21 Best Relationship Books To Buy

Healthy relationships require conscious effort from both partners. Look to the best relationship books to gain insight on how to make a relationship work.

Everyone can use a little guidance sometimes. If you want to improve your relationship, a good place to start is by developing a deeper understanding of couples’ dynamics. The number of relationship books sold increases every year as more people look for ways to make their romantic relationships better. 

These best-selling self-help books include books that come from scientific, spiritual, and social perspectives to help you better understand what works. By looking at multiple viewpoints on what makes a strong relationship, these have earned their places among the best relationship books. All of the following are available through Amazon or through your favorite indie bookseller.

Contents

1. The Relationship Cure by John M. Gottman

Best relationship books

The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships focuses on the importance of emotional connection. Gottman discusses “emotional bids,” which are the ways that we ask for attention, as well as the best ways to respond to those bids.

For instance, one partner might say to the other “I had a really bad day; can we cuddle on the couch and watch movies tonight?” By expressly asking for what you want in a positive way, you can increase your chances of getting the affection and attention you want.

“The basic idea has to told with the way people, in mundane moments in everyday life, make attempts at emotional communication, and how others around them respond, or fail to respond to these attempts.”

John Gottman
Sale
The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships
  • Gottman, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 06/25/2002 (Publication Date) - Harmony (Publisher)

2. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

This book is so influential that even people who have not read it discuss affection in terms of the 5 love languages. For instance, some people express love through physical touch. Someone else may show their loved ones they care through acts of service. 

Chapman wrote several books about love languages, starting with The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. Other books in the series focus on subjects like how men can express their love languages better, how to communicate lovingly with teenagers, and how to keep love alive when a partner has dementia.

“With all the help available from media experts, why is it that so few couples seem to have found the secret to keeping love alive after the wedding?”

Gary Chapman
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Chapman, Gary (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 206 Pages - 12/11/2014 (Publication Date) - Northfield Publishing (Publisher)

3. Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson

Dr. Sue Johnson’s New York Times bestseller is a practical guide that combines relationship advice, exercises, and specific conversations designed to deepen your relationship. Dr. Johnson developed Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, which aims to heal relationships through openness, responsiveness, and attention to your emotional connection.

“Love, it seemed, was all about nonnegotiable. You can’t bargain for compassion, for connection.”

Sue Johnson
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Johnson, Dr. Sue (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 332 Pages - 04/08/2008 (Publication Date) - Little, Brown Spark (Publisher)

4. Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel

One of the most common causes of problems in long term relationships is dissatisfaction in the bedroom. This book focuses on improving intimate relationships. Using a combination of case studies, discussion, and advice, the book helps couples improve their erotic intelligence. 

“Parties in New York City are like anthropological field trips; you never know whom you’ll meet or what you’ll find.”

Esther Perel
Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Perel, Esther (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 264 Pages - 10/13/2009 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins e-books (Publisher)

5. Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

This book, cowritten by a psychologist and a neuroscientist, turns to attachment theory to better understand how people behave in relationships. For instance, anxious people may worry excessively about their partner’s ability to love them back. Avoidant people may try to minimize closeness because they associate it with a loss of independence and freedom. It is only when you are able to develop secure attachments that you can be warm, loving, and healthy.

“Adult attachment designates three main “attachment styles” or manners in which people perceive and respond to intimacy…”

Rachel Heller
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find--and Keep-- Love
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Levine, Amir (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 12/30/2010 (Publication Date) - TarcherPerigee (Publisher)

6. Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix

In this book, Harville Hendrix applies the lessons he learned through more than 30 years of working as a therapist. The book helps couples through a series of steps and exercises. The author pays great attention to the role that childhood traumas have on how you manage relationships and connection as an adult. 

Getting The Love You Want Revised Editio
  • Hendrix, Harville (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

7. Love That Lasts by Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke

Many religious people find that their values are out of step with modern secular views of love and intimacy. This book takes a religious approach to relationships by blending practical advice with biblical teachings. 

The book focuses on harmful misperceptions that people bring to romantic relationships. For instance, many people believe that each person has one perfect soul mate; Love That Lasts dismantles that myth and explains why the belief is harmful. The book also takes on the problems associated with a belief that marriage will complete you. 

“Alyssa and I like to say that if your romantic relationship is healthy and flourishing, everything else will be too.”

Jefferson Bethke
Love That Lasts: How We Discovered God’s Better Way for Love, Dating, Marriage, and Sex
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Bethke, Jefferson (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 268 Pages - 10/10/2017 (Publication Date) - Thomas Nelson (Publisher)

8. The Science of Happily Ever After by Ty Tashiro

Dr. Ty Tashiro is a scientist who looks at how we make choices about relationships. Often, we make decisions based on the wrong criteria. If the goal is to find a lifelong, loving relationship, we need to make decisions differently.

The author uses a combination of entertaining stories, scientific research, and actionable tips to help people understand what they want in a partner and how to find the right person for them.

“We found that the average participant reported five positive life changes, which included improved friendships, feeling more self-confident and learning how to better communicate.”

Ty Tashiro
The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Tashiro, Ty (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 289 Pages - 01/28/2014 (Publication Date) - Harlequin Nonfiction (Publisher)

9. Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life By Emily Nagoski

Instead of looking at couples, this book focuses specifically on a less frequently studied area, female desire. Dr. Nagoski examines how factors like mood, stress, body image, and trust affect a woman’s sex life and her general wellbeing. By developing a better understanding your yourself, you are able to have a better, more pleasurable sex life. 

Come As You Are: Revised and Updated: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Nagoski Ph.D., Emily (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 390 Pages - 03/02/2021 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster (Publisher)

10. Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum

Often, relationships don’t go completely bad all at once. There are good days and bad days; times when your partner drives you crazy, and times when the two of you are content and connected.

This book uses a line of 36 questions to ask when you are feeling ambivalent about a relationship. By examining your relationship and considering your own role in it, you can get a better handle on whether a relationship can be repaired, and whether it should. 

“When the satisfaction or the security of another person becomes as significant to one as is one’s own satisfaction or security, then the state of love exists.”

Mira Kirshenbaum
Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kirshenbaum, Mira (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 308 Pages - 07/01/1997 (Publication Date) - Plume (Publisher)

11. Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray

This book has attained the status of classic self-help. The book famously asserts that women and men communicate differently and have different priorities. By working to understand how each partner reacts to different situations, you can get along with one another better and deepen your connection.

This book is one that some individuals find dated in its approach. For instance, the author assumes that the woman will be the one in charge of household chores and childrearing. However, others find the focus on different communication styles helpful and welcome. 

“Men are motivated when they feel needed while women are motivated when they feel cherished.”

John Gray
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Gray, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 10/13/2009 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins e-books (Publisher)

12. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman and Nan Silver

This book’s principles are grounded in studies that followed couples for periods of years. By observing relationships over time, Gottman and Silver were able to observe the habits that can make a relationship work, as well as the ones that are sure to sabotage it.

The resulting principles give couples tools for communicating effectively, resolving conflict, finding common ground, and being more appreciative of one another. 

“Friendship fuels the flames of romance because it offers the best protection against feeling adversarial toward your spouse.”

John M. Gottman
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Gottman, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 321 Pages - 05/05/2015 (Publication Date) - Harmony (Publisher)

13. The Love Dare by Alex and Stephen Kendrick

Many couples find that, over time, the stress of day to day life gets in the way of romantic feelings for one another. This book uses a 40-day challenge to help couples practice unconditional love toward one another. 

“Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves. ”

Stephen Kendrick
Sale
The Love Dare: New Revised Edition
  • Kendrick, Alex (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 05/22/2022 (Publication Date) - B&H Books (Publisher)

14. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie

It’s impossible to have a healthy and happy relationship if you are not able to set boundaries and expectations for yourself. This book familiarized people with the concept of codependency, the tendency to wrap yourself up in partners’ problems and drama.

Through a series of life stories, reflections, tests, and exercises, the book helps readers develop healthier relationships.

“Furthermore, worrying about people and problems doesn’t help. It doesn’t solve problems, it doesn’t help other people, and it doesn’t help us. It is wasted energy.”

Melody Beattie

15. The 80/80 Marriage: A New Model for a Happier, Stronger Relationship by Nate and Kaley Klemp

Nate and Kaley Klemp have built successful careers as leadership and mindfulness experts. However, they found that the strategies that work in the office do not always translate to marriage satisfaction at home. In the 80/80 Marriage model, they focus on practicing radical generosity in place of keeping score and trying to achieve 50/50 fairness.

The book pulls from scientific studies, ancient philosophy, and interviews with over 100 couples for its insights. 

The 80/80 Marriage: A New Model for a Happier, Stronger Relationship
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Klemp, Nate (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 238 Pages - 02/09/2021 (Publication Date) - Penguin Life (Publisher)

16. The 4 Seasons of Marriage by Gary Chapman

Marriages go through continual transitions just like the seasons do. Chapman categorizes phases of marriage like changing seasons; sometimes we find ourselves in a sunny and hopeful spring. Other times, we find ourselves in a dark, cold, discouraging winter. 

In this book, he helps couples recognize the season their marriage is in, and the challenges and joys available in each. By properly supporting each other no matter what the season, couples can have a happier union.

“Because the desire and drive for intimacy are at the very heart of marriage, the individuals involved become troubled about their relationship when such intimacy is not attained.”

Gary Chapman
Sale
The 4 Seasons of Marriage
  • Author - Chapman Gary.
  • Publisher - Tyndale House Publishers.
  • Great Gift Idea.
  • Satisfaction Ensured.
  • Publisher - Tyndale House Publishers.

17. Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Julie and John Gottman

Some of the hardest topics to talk about are also the most important. This book presents easy and fun ways to have life-changing and relationship-affirming conversations about sex, money, trust, conflict, and more.

The book contains a number of prompts and interactive activities that make it easy to approach these topics and discuss them in a way that is open and productive.

“Successful long-term relationships are created through small words, small gestures, and small acts.”

John M. Gottman
Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Gottman, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 241 Pages - 02/05/2019 (Publication Date) - Workman Publishing Company (Publisher)

18. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Comedian Aziz Ansari teamed up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to example the ways that romance has changed in the digital age. From the role of dating apps to the ways that texting and social media change how we communicate, they assess the reasons people are marrying later.

If you have struggled to navigate romance in this era, you will find this an entertaining and informative read. 

“Why do we all say we prefer honesty but rarely give that courtesy to others?”

Aziz Ansari
Modern Romance
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Ansari, Aziz (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 290 Pages - 06/16/2015 (Publication Date) - Penguin Books (Publisher)

19. Mindful Relationship Habits: 25 Practices for Couples by Barrie Davenport and S.J. Scott

Taking your partner and your relationship for granted can damage your connection. But, it’s easy for your relationship to slip down your list of priorities when you are dealing with daily stressors that include family, work, finances, and chores. 

This book includes a series of habits and exercises that can help you refocus on your relationship and ensure a strong and healthy connection.

“The more you practice mindfulness, the more present moments you’ll savor and the less unconscious you will become.”

S.J. Scott
Mindful Relationship Habits: 25 Practices for Couples to Enhance Intimacy, Nurture Closeness, and Grow a Deeper Connection
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Scott, S.J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 282 Pages - 01/05/2018 (Publication Date) - Oldtown Publishing LLC (Publisher)

20. He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt 

It can be hard for men and women to understand one another’s behavior. Often, women will puzzle over the unspoken implications of the actions of the guy she likes.

By turns funny and insightful, this book helps women understand the signals men send. With this inside knowledge, you can stop wasting time on men who are not that into you, and dedicate your attention to those who are.

“I truly believe that the only way you can find out that there’s something better out there is to first believe there’s something better out there. What other choice is there?”

Greg Behrendt

21. Deal Breakers: When to Work on a Relationship and When to Walk Away by Bethany Marshall

It’s no secret that relationships are hard work. But sometimes, an unfulfilling relationship can be way more effort than its worth. This book helps readers understand when they are in a relationship that is unreasonably hard without providing satisfaction.

By setting some non-negotiable terms regarding what you will allow in a relationship, you are able to set better boundaries. Learn through case studies, semi-fictional scenarios, and clear advice on how to address deal breakers when they occur.

“If he doesn’t want to change now, he never will. And if he is capable of changing, waiting for tomorrow robs you of your dreams for today.”

Bethany Marshall
Deal Breakers: When to Work On a Relationship and When to Walk Away
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Marshall, Bethany (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 226 Pages - 04/10/2007 (Publication Date) - Gallery Books (Publisher)

The Final Word About the Best Relationship Books

When looking at relationship books, take time to consider several points of view. Not every book will seem to apply to your relationship and your beliefs. However, most will have at least a few ideas that are helpful to you. You might also enjoy our post about 9 romance authors best sellers.

By looking at multiple points of view, you can glean the best relationship advice. Over time, this makes you and your partner happier, and helps you build a strong and satisfying relationship. 

FAQ About The Best Relationship Books

What are the benefits of reading books about relationships?

Reading books about better relationships can help you understand the factors that can improve yours. 

Which books about relationships should I read?

A combination of books that offer scientific backing, books that offer practical advice, and books that sync well with your philosophical or spiritual beliefs makes a good mix.

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