10 Essential Books on Relationships To Help You Understand Love

There are many kinds of books on relationships out there to help people lead long-lasting marriages, couples, and lives. But out of the vast selection of them, some of the most impactful books to pick up are the ones about love and how to love.

As you know, 50% of marriages end in divorce—which is terrible—and I think it comes down to love. People don’t quite know what it means to love someone else properly.

So, to help, I’ve picked out some of the best books to help with understanding love on a deeper level than you can imagine.

The best kind of books on relationships I find are ones that have the following specifications to them:

  • Backed by research – This is based on whether the author is a professional or someone who does a lot of research. A reliable book is one that has plenty of facts to back up claims.
  • Clarity – Clarity not only in readability but also in the actionable advice that it gives. You don’t want to deal with too much jargon.
  • Easy to read – You want a book to be engaging and entertaining to read. Information sticks better if the writing is amusing and can keep readers invested.
  • Solvability – The book provides clear advice that solves some of the common relationship problems and struggles.
  • Non-Cliche – It isn’t filled with typical cliches or theories that many people know about. The book should provide a new perspective on something familiar.

Now let’s dive in to the 10 essential books on relationships:

1. Difficult Conversations

One of the most frequent problems with couples is communication. To that extent, not having difficult conversations is also a problem. If couples want a relationship to last, they need to have those difficult conversations. But the reason most couples avoid those conversations is that they’re not sure what to do or are worried about these conversations hindering the relationship.

If you’re in that situation, I suggest you take a look at this book. While there are many books out there that teach you to be a great conversationalist, this book is a simplistic guide to help you navigate through every kind of difficult conversation or fight you may have—not just with couples, but with other people as well.

Buy “Difficult Conversations” here.

2. The 5 Love Languages

This is a top-tier relationship book that’s been on many lists before, and this won’t be the last. This book has a unique spin to what love is all about, and it helps you understand it in a profound manner.

According to the book, how we give and receive love can be divided into five parts. While we deliver love with these five “languages,” there are one or two of them that are more dominant than the other. This book helps you to identify your and your partner’s love languages to help communicate your love for one another better.

Buy “The 5 Love Languages” here.

3. Mindful Relationship Habits

Relationships have ups and downs, of course, and there are several ways to handle them. Sometimes, it’s being able to have those conversations and smooth things over. Other times, you get unique solutions like developing mindful relationship habits with your partner.

The idea with the habits mentioned in these books is to help you communicate clearly, avoid arguments, and better understand each other in thoughtful ways. All in all, it addresses the small relationship issues that you and your partner have to deal with.

Buy “Mindful Relationship Habits” here.

4. The Science of Happily Ever After

Growing up, the hope of relationships is to be able to live happily ever after—like what you’ve read in so many children’s books. This book is more of an adult expansion from that concept. But instead of filling you up with all kinds of hope with no rhyme or reason, the book is founded on science and hard facts.

The author, Dr. Ty Tashiro, translates years of research and analysis of how we look for a partner to live “happily ever after” with and simplifies it. Using real-life scenarios, this book paints a path to guide you to your other half.

This book still applies to couples as well since this provides unique perspectives on how one can find enduring love for one another.

Buy “The Science of Happily Ever After” here.

5. Attached

Another science-based book, this one takes a different approach to the search for love. Instead, the research from this book talks about the “attachment theory.” The premise of the theory states why we need to be a relationship at all times and how we behave in those relationships as well.

The theory outlines three categories: anxious, avoidant, and secure. Written by a neuroscientist and a psychologist, you get a unique perspective in those fields and how it involves love. Overall, you’ll learn which of the three categories you fall into and how you can build your relationship around that.

Buy “Attached” here.

6. First Comes Love, Then Comes Money

One particular struggle I want to highlight in relationships is money. Finances alone cause a lot of disruption for couples. The reason for this is that couples don’t talk about money until it is a problem and by that point, you have two people arguing about money with no real way to steer the conversation or manage it.

Since many people don’t know how to talk about money—let alone to their partner—this book provides great insight into how people think about money. The book also explains the different kinds of money personalities and how you’re meant to interact with one another based on that information.

Buy “First Comes Love, Then Comes Money” here.

7. Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

This is an older book on relationships, but it still holds up to this very day. The overall thesis of this book revolves around the idea that Martians (men) and Venusians (women) are at their happiest in relationships when they accept the differences as positives. Even though this is a familiar concept, it addresses some of the main struggles and complications in relationships—understanding one another and working through problems.

On top of that, this was written by a former marriage counselor, so the book draws experience and insights from real-life couples.

Buy “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” here.

8. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

With over a million copies sold, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is a book that’s revolutionized the way we think and understand, repair, and improve marriages. John Gottman Ph.D. conducted an extensive study spanning a period of years and distilled the results into this book that author Nan Silver supported.

He narrowed his research down to habits that either build marriages up or tear them down. From those habits, he created the seven principles that help guide marriages down a path to long-lasting relationships.

Buy “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” here.

9. Relationship Goals

Regardless of what stage you are in in your relationship, this book is a serious game-changer. Published in late April 2020, this book on relationships is based heavily on the viral, multi-million view sermon series on the topic of dating, sex, and marriage.

The book focuses on the author’s—Michael Todd—story of his own heartache and healing. He unpacks it with powerful truths and tells you directly how to win at relationships in every aspect of your life.

He’ll also go into detail about the common pitfalls you’ll find in relationships and give you advice on how to overcome them immediately. Even if you’re not an overly religious individual, the book provides profound knowledge and an interesting point of view to consider.

Buy “Relationship Goals” here.

10. What Makes Love Last?

From the same authors as The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, comes another interesting book to look at: What Makes Love Last?

While the previously mentioned book focused on things that make or break marriages, this book dives into more profound matters of love. Based on John Gottman’s famous “Love Lab,” the book answers four core questions:

  • Where does love come from?
  • Why does some love last?
  • Why does some fade?
  • How can we keep it alive?

Overall, this book on relationships provides more information on why the principles work so well and further encouragement in practicing those principles. Furthermore, you’ll be able to identify signs, behaviors, and attitudes that suggest a crumbling relationship and learn strategies for fixing it even if it seems lost or broken.

Buy What Makes Love Last? here.

Final Thoughts

There are many kinds of books on relationships that share advice, but these ones provide unique perspectives beyond the traditional methods you’ll find. I encourage you to pick up some of these books and read through them as they will change the way you think about love, your partner, and your relationship with them.

More Books on Relationships

Having high self-esteem is important if you are aiming for personal or professional success. Interestingly, most people will high levels of self-esteem act in similar ways. That’s why it’s often easy to pick them out in a crowd. There’s something about the way they hold themselves and speak, isn’t there?

We all have different hopes, dreams, experiences, and paths, but confidence has its own universal language. This list will present some of the things you won’t find yourself doing if you have high self-esteem.

1. Compare Yourself to Others

People with low self-esteem are constantly comparing their situation to others. On the other hand, people with higher self-esteem show empathy and compassion while also protecting their own sanity. They know how much they can handle and when they can offer a helping hand.

In the age of social media, however, social comparisons are nearly ubiquitous. One study found that “participants who used Facebook most often had poorer trait self-esteem, and this was mediated by greater exposure to upward social comparisons on social media”. Basically, you will feel worse about yourself if you are constantly getting glimpses into lives that you consider to be better than yours.

Try to limit your time on social media. Also, when you do start scrolling, keep in mind that each profile is carefully crafted to create the appearance of a perfect life. Check yourself when you find yourself wishing for greener grass.

2. Be Mean-Spirited

People with low self-esteem bully others. They take pleasure in putting other people down. People with positive self-esteem see no need to down other people, choosing instead to encourage and celebrate successes.

If you find that you feel the need to put others down, analyze where that’s coming from. If they’ve had success in life, help them feel good about that achievement. They may do the same for you one day.

3. Let Imperfection Ruin Your Day

Perfectionism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but obsessing over making everything perfect is a sign that you have low self-esteem and can lead to never-ending negative thoughts. This can turn into an inability to solve problems creatively, which will only make self-esteem issues worse. 

Those with high self-esteem disconnect from the results and do their best without expecting perfection.

People with that kind of confidence understand that messing up is a part of life and that each time they aim and miss success, they’ll at least learn something along the way.

If you miss the mark, or if your plan doesn’t work out exactly as you would have liked, take a deep breath and see if you can pivot in order to do better next time.

4. Dwell on Failure

It’s common to hear people dwelling on all the ways things will go wrong. They are positive that their every failure signals an impossible task or an innate inability to do something. People with healthy self-esteem discover why they failed and try again.

People with higher levels of confidence also tend to adopt a growth mindset. This type of thinking supports the idea that most of your abilities can be improved and altered, as opposed to being fixed.

For example, instead of saying, “I’m just not good at math; that’s why I did bad on the test,” someone with a growth mindset would say, “Math is difficult for me, so I’ll have to put in some more practice to improve next time.”

Next time you experience a failure, check out this video to help you believe in yourself again:

5. Devalue Your Self-Esteem

People with high self-esteem value their own perception of themselves – they understand that they come first and don’t feel guilty about taking care of themselves. They believe charity starts within, and if they don’t believe that, they’ll never have a healthy self-image.

Self-care is often top of the priority list for people with self-esteem. For some ways to practice self-care, check out this article.

6. Try to Please Others

They can’t please all the people all the time, so confident people first focus on doing what will make them feel fulfilled and happy. While they will politely listen to others’ thoughts and advice, they know that their goals and dreams have to be completed on their own terms.

7. Close Yourself off

Confident people have the ability to be vulnerable. It’s those with poor self-esteem that hide all the best parts of themselves behind an emotional wall. Instead of keeping the real you a secret, be open and honest in all your dealings.

As Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly, points out, “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen”. When you embrace each facet of who you are and allow others to see them as well, it will create deeper, more meaningful connections in your life. When that happens, you’ll realize that perfection doesn’t lead to people liking you more.

You can learn more about the power of vulnerability in this TED talk with Brené Brown:

8. Follow and Avoiding Leading

People with low self-esteem don’t believe they can lead, so they end up following others, sometimes into unhealthy situations. Rather than seeking a sense of belonging, people with high self-esteem walk their own paths and create social circles that build them up.

9. Fish for Compliments

If you’re constantly seeking compliments, you’re not confident. People with high self-esteem always do their best (and go out of their way to do good deeds) because it’s what they want to do, not because they’re seeking recognition. If you need to hear compliments, say them to yourself in the mirror.

You can even try some positive affirmations if you need a confidence boost. Check out these affirmations to get started.

10. Be Lazy

People work harder when they have high self-esteem because they’re not bogged down by doubts and complaints. Those with low self-esteem end up procrastinating and wasting their energy thinking about all the work they have to do rather than rolling up their sleeves and just getting it done.

This may also bounce off perfectionism. Perfectionists often feel intimidated by certain projects if they fear that they won’t be able to complete them perfectly. Tap into your confidence and simply do your best without worrying about a perfect outcome.

11. Shy Away from Risks

When you trust yourself, you’ll be willing to participate more in life. People with low self-esteem are always on the sidelines, waiting for the perfect moment to jump in. Instead of letting life pass you by, have confidence in your success and take the risks necessary to succeed.

12. Gossip

People with low self-esteem are always in other peoples’ business – they’re more interested in what everyone else is doing than themselves. People with high self-esteem are more interested in their own life and stay out of others’ affairs.

Instead of participating in idle gossip, talk about some positive news you heard recently, or that fascinating book you just finished. There’s plenty to talk about beyond what this or that person did wrong in their life.

The Bottom Line

Self-esteem is to success in life. People who maintain a healthy level of self-esteem believe in themselves and push themselves to succeed, while those with low confidence feel a sense of entitlement.

If you need a boost in your self-image and mental health, avoid negative self-talk and the other mistakes of people with low self-esteem. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

More Tips on Building Confidence

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