Our relationships, with others and ourselves, are the most valuable investments we can make in life. They catalyze change and evolution and feed our souls. If you’re looking to love bigger, love harder and love smarter, these five books will send you on the right path.
- The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman — The foundation of every relationship is mutual understanding and expression of needs. The tricky part comes in when each person’s needs differ. In this book, Chapman distills the five basic types of needs and ways that a person feels appreciated, acknowledged and loved. Once a person knows how their partners feels and expresses love it is that much easier to love them in that way. It’s a powerful tool. Learn your love language, and your partner’s, then attune yourself to that expression. You’ll see a miraculous impact on your relationship dynamic.
- How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh — Gentle and beautiful reminders for couples on love. From the four elements of true love to the power of deep listening and meditations for hugging, this book gives short concise musings that are accessible and easy to understand as couples integrate mindfulness into their relationships. Hanh’s insights are pure gold.
- Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel — Perel tosses out societal pressures and expectations in this book. She redefines what a modern relationship can look like when not burdened by the structural norms of marriage and life-long commitment. This book integrates new approaches for sex, intimacy, and desire in long-term committed relationships. Perel has become a trusted voice drawing on 20 years as a couples therapist and a revolutionary in the relationship space.
4. Calling in the One by Katherine Woodward Thomas — Ok so clearly you have found your “One” or are in a relationship with the person who could pan out to be the One. Though this book reco might seem questionable if you’ve already called in your One it’s an absolute must. Thomas shows us our blind spots, our unspoken contracts and our relationship patterns — inherited from our parents/family and developed over time. Her theory is that our inherited patterns and early life contribute to picking the wrong partners, and while I agree with Thomas that this is absolutely the case, I disagree that it’s isolated to failed relationships. All relationships are designed to drive our personal evolution so it’s essential we bring our baggage into the relationship, to work it out, and with the right partner, two people can grow together. So if you haven’t read this one, and are coupled or not, it’s a must-read. Self-awareness and mindfulness are the first step in building and sustaining a healthy relationship and Calling in the One is a wonderful guide for this purpose.
5. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown — Closeness and connection in relationships are foundational glue. Who are we without our walls and protective armor? What barriers do we place between ourselves and our partners, friends, family, coworkers? Connection is a core element of the Happy Partners Project and the relationship check-in method we’ve created. Brown creates a compelling case for being vulnerable and mindful in service of creating connection with those around us. Her writing is an essential read — for life and for love.
There you have it! Five excellent reads from visionaries in personal development and relationships. It’s my hope that any or all of these will aid you in your journey as they have inspired mine. Happy reading and as you work your way through, I’d love to hear about your experience and takeaways in the comments!