Great Books for New (and Improving) Marriages


June 26, 2013 by Will Ray

Since it was our anniversary this past weekend, I thought I’d share a few books that Nancy and I have read and think are great books for improving your marriage.

One of the things I think we’re most proud of in our marriage is how we prepared for it.  We didn’t prepare just for a wedding – a one-day event – we prepared for a marriage – a lifetime event.  We did premarital counseling, we had some deep and challenging discussions, and we read several books that would make us better spouses to one another and help us understand the other.

We’ve read a few since then as well, but here are some that we highly recommend for couples looking to improve their relationship or prepare for an upcoming marriage.  (They’re in no particular order.)

His Needs, Her Needs – Willard F. Harley
This is a great all-around book outlining the basic needs of a husband and wife, claiming to help you build an “affair-proof” marriage.  Harley has been a marriage counselor for decades, and he believes that any marriage breakdown happens because one of these needs are not met.

Power of a Praying Husband/Wife – Stormie Omartian
Awesome set of two books to help you know how to pray for your spouse.  Definitely recommend.

Sacred Marriage – Gary Thomas
Thomas explores the premise, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy instead of happy?” throughout this book.  He challenges our preconceptions about marriage’s purpose to fill our needs and make us happy, and challenges us to look at marriage as a path to holiness, much like monks and nuns looked at celibacy as a path to the same.

Love & Respect – Emerson Eggerichs
A book essentially about communication, Eggerichs endeavors to explain how things go so much better in a marriage when the wife receives the love she needs and the husband receives the respect he needs.  This motivates a self-perpetuating cycle of love and respect that grows on itself.  Great read.

The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey
You already know how important this stuff is to me, but it’s seriously going to be a tough road for you and your spouse if you’re not on the same page about money.  Many marriages fail because of money fights and money problems.  Getting on the same team about money, with shared goals and a shared language to discuss money, will really bring you together. (Financial Peace University is more involved but also a great way to do this.)

The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
Chapman, also a long-time marriage counselor, seeks to explain spousal differences by outlining the five different ways that we give and receive love – our “Love Languages.”  Different people value different things, so we speak different love languages.  Knowing your spouse’s love language (what’s important to them) will help you craft a richer, more fulfilling life together.

Sheet Music – Kevin Lehman
If you and your spouse-to-be are “intimately inexperienced,” or if you want to improve your relationship and communication in that area, this book is my first suggestion.  Dr. Lehman has an excellent ability to explain challenging topics in a disarming manner, putting you at ease when reading about some really personal things.  Highly recommend.

So there are our suggestions – all books that have made a big impact on us these last 5 years!

Question: What other marriage/relationship books would you recommend?


One thought on “Great Books for New (and Improving) Marriages

  1. Kea Rotenizer says:

    I would recommend I Promise by Gary Smalley

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About me…

Youth minister, financial coach and part-time wedding photographer, based in Raleigh, NC

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