No matter your opinion on Valentine's Day – Hallmark holiday? Great excuse for a date night? Good time to stalk your ex on Instagram? (No judgment! But let's talk about that next session…) - it's hard to avoid thinking about romantic love when the 14th of February rolls around. Below is a round-up of five of my favorite books on love and relationships. I've categorized them to help you find a book that speaks to you, no matter your relationship status or struggles. And remember - neither your partnership status nor your struggles make YOU any less worthy of love. Now let's get reading!
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide From the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John M. Gottman, PhD. From leading marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman, this book includes TONS of practical tips based on research from studying thousands of actual couples to see what makes love last. There are even exercises in the book that you can do with your partner to strengthen your connection. Not just for married couples, this book would benefit anyone in a committed partnership.
Love Me, Don't Leave Me: Overcoming Fear of Abandonment and Building Lasting, Loving Relationships by Michelle Skeen, PsyD. Does it seem like it's easier for everyone else to find (and hold on to) love? Have you struggled - despite all of your best efforts - to meet someone who also wants a committed, loving partnership? Do you feel like maybe a long-term relationship just isn't in the cards for you? Break up with the negative self-talk, my love, and try reading this book. It blends concepts from attachment theory and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help readers understand the internal blocks that are holding us back from meeting our “person.” And know that you are LOVED either way.
Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel, LMFT. In this captivating book (pun intended), author Esther Perel shines a spotlight on “the paradoxical relationship between domesticity and sexual desire.” A seasoned couples therapist, Perel draws on examples based on real-life clients who struggle to keep sexual desire alive while raising children, running businesses, and just keeping the damn house clean. I can't do this book justice in a few sentences - so trust me, just read it.
The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman, PhD. Okay, I'm guessing that many of you have read this book or have taken the online “love languages” quiz already. It seems like talking about love languages has become such a part of cultural vernacular that it's almost “eye-roll-y." But honestly, people - I've seen the concepts from this book SAVE relationships. So if you haven't given it a read yet (it's short and sweet) I highly recommend doing so. It's also a great book to read with your partner if you are in a relationship!
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - and Keep - Love by Amir Levine, MD and Rachel S.F. Heller, MA. Last but not least… this book. I can't tell you how many people have told me that reading it has changed their entire perspective on dating, partnerships, and love in general. Read it to find out why you always seem to grow restless or even repulsed when things get “too real” with the person you've been seeing for a few months - or why you can't seem to relax when a text to that guy you went on a date with last week has been left unanswered for over three hours.
Happy reading - and loving - everyone! Please share this blog post with anyone who might need some inspirational reads on love. And please comment below if you have any favorite books on love and relationships - I'd love to hear about them.