Whatever your thoughts are about preparing for your wedding, sometimes it’s important to take a step back and remember that you’re not just having a wedding…you’re getting a marriage. Relationships are a lot of work but somehow, they manage to get even tougher after you walk down the aisle.
That’s why we’ve compiled these 10 marriage books for you to read as a couple, whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction. So what are you waiting for? Dust off that library card and renew your Amazon Prime subscription. Let’s get ready to curl up with a good read.
These non-fiction books provide the cold, hard truth about what it takes to sustain a quality relationship. They’re great when used in conjunction with premarital counseling, but they’re great for any relationship as well.
1. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Have you ever wondered why your fiancé never buys you flowers? Or why they never seem to give you a hug on hard days when you need it most? How can they say they love you if they aren’t doing the things you want them to?
Odds are, you two do love each other…you’re just not speaking the same language. in The Five Love Languages, Chapman explains that people love in different ways: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. This book will teach you to love you partner in the way that s/he wants to be loved, so you can both have a fulfilling relationship.
2. Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by by Les and Leslie Parrott
Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts is actually used by counselors worldwide for premarital counseling, so you know it’s worth a read.
Dive deep into all the aspects of a healthy relationship, and use the questions at the end of each chapter to relate the information to your own relationship. Looking for a little more involvement? Companion workbooks and DVDs will turn this book into a full-fledged marriage course. Bring this book along on your next date night to help foster intimacy and get your marriage off to the right start.
3. After “I Do “: A Marriage Map, by P.J. LaRue
With 50% of marriages ending in divorce, you may find yourself wondering if the two of you will beat the odds.
It was those kinds of worries that led P.J. LaRue to write a road map for couples that hope to stay together for the rest of their lives. Filled with honest stories from her own 35-year-long marriage, LaRue shares some not-so-common sense truths that tend to be forgotten.
Whether you’re engaged or already married, you’ll find plenty of gems to keep your marriage strong.
4. Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman
Many, if not most, couples put work into their marriage only when things get rough. But Gary Chapman wants to change that.
Through his 35 years of experience counseling couples through marital highs and lows, Chapman discovered that most marriage issues arise because couples are simply not prepared for marriage. Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married attempts to prepare couples for the challenges that lie ahead of them so they can be prepared instead of blindsided.
5. It’s Not You, It’s the Dishes by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson
Need a “marriage tune-up”? Think like an economist! (Wait! It’s not as boring as it sounds.)
Szuchman and Anderson believe that we all have what it takes to make a marriage work (time, energy, a little money), we just don’t always use those resources efficiently. Originally titled “Spousonomics,” It’s Not You, It’s the Dishes shares ways that you can allocate your time and energy towards the things that will really make your marriage work. With research, wit, and a dose of truth, they want to help you “minimize conflict and maximize happiness in your relationship.”
No matter what your dating record, these fiction books will help you gain perspective on love and relationships from a 360-degree view, through the voice and mind of fictional characters with problems and feelings as timeless as love itself.
6. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
Whoever thought reading a dictionary could be this entertaining?
A refreshing take on the typical novel, The Lover’s Dictionary is told through a series of dictionary entries. Words like “abstain” and “alfresco” take on a whole new meaning when told in the context of a relationship. When you’re so in love with your fiancée that you think you can’t wait one more day to be married, take a deep breath and read this book.
7. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
Girls in White Dresses tells the stories of three friends—Isabella, Mary, and Lauren—as they attend a slew of bridal showers and weddings…despite having very unsuccessful dating lives of their own.
By showing which types of love don’t work, you can get your wedding fix while also figuring out how to best love your partner once they become your spouse.
8. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
You say you wouldn’t enjoy a book about love where the characters are an old man and a 14-year-old girl? Think again.
Krauss expertly weaves together the stories of Leo Gursky, an elderly Polish immigrant, and Alma Singer, a 14-year-old girl trying to help her widowed mother through a sharp bout of loneliness. Tackling the idea of love as a whole, The History of Love will have you crying with love, happiness, and sadness (that the book has to end, that is).
9. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
This Nobel Prize-winning novel tells the story of Florentino and Fermina, who fell in love but ended up going their own separate ways. Yet, over the years, they never forget about each other.
Spanning 50 years, Love In the Time of Cholera explores the ideas of love, obsession, passion, and so much more. For every romantic-at-heart who loves the idea of a love that lasts for all time, this one is for you.
10. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor and Park are two 16-year-olds who fall in love, as teenagers usually do. What makes this story different from your average YA novel? These two misfits are smart enough to know that high school love almost never lasts. But they’re brave enough to try.
Whether you’re marrying your first love or your twelfth, this engrossing read will make sure you’re committed to making it work, no matter what life throws at you.
Planning for a wedding can take up a lot of your time and energy, but none of it will be worth it without also preparing for your marriage. These marriage books will help ensure that you and your spouse-to-be get your life together on the right track.
We hope you enjoyed the reading break. Now, get back to wedding planning! You’ve got decisions to make and bridesmaids to shop with.