Relationships come in all varieties. In addition to those that are more intimate and romantic, others involve those with office colleagues, friends, and family members. And each of these can pose challenges to us at times. Conflicts arise that need to be handled in a constructive way in order to preserve the relationship. Likewise, unmet expectations can lead to disappointments and anger that sabotage an otherwise strong bond. Understanding this, it’s common that each of us need a little help in better managing the relationships in our lives. Fortunately, there are several exceptional relationship books available that can guide us in the right direction.
When seeking the best books on relationships, there are hundred from which to choose. Some address how to love others more completely. Some address specific areas like communication and conflict resolution that are important for health relations. But the best books on relationships tend to be those that are backed by research and offer good, practical advice. These types of relationship books can be put to good use by offering strategies that can adopted immediately. With this in mind, the following are among the top 10 best books on relationships available today.
- The Science of Happily Ever After by Ty Tashiro, Ph.D. – Sometimes, it helps to focus on things from the very beginning. The way we approach a new relationship actually matters a great deal according to Ty Tashiro. Our pursuit of an enduring loving relationship starts with the traits we prioritize when looking for a partner. The choices we make early on then affects just how successful we are, which is the focus of Tashiro’s message. If this resonates with you, this is one of the relationship books that can help you get off on the right foot.
- The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman – You may not realize this, but each of us prefers certain ways by which we receive and give love messages. Some prefer gift-giving, others provide acts of kindness, and others choose different expressions. According to Gary Chapman, there are five essential love languages. By understanding your own love languages and your partner’s, you can better communicate, relate, and express. Chapman’s work has long been listed as one of the best books on relationships.
- Attached by Amire Levine, MD., and Rachel S.F. Heller – Based on the concept of attachment theory, this is one of the relationship books that offer practical guidance. Each of us needs relationships in our lives. However, the way we approach this attachment can vary. The authors note that some are anxious about attachment while others avoid it for fear of losing their independence. And yet others approach it from a more secure place. By understanding your own situation, you can then choose how to better approach relationships in your life.
- How to Be an Adult in Relationships by David Richo – As one of the best books on relationships recently, David Richo focuses on the five A’s. These include attentiveness, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowances, which guide constructive relationship behaviors. Through openness, compassion, and a realistic perspective, anyone can use the five A’s to build more meaningful relationships. (Read more about building more meaningful relationships in this Project Bold Life story!) Embracing the concept of mindful loving, Richo helps us use these five core concepts to improve the relationships in our lives.
- Relationship Goals by Michael Todd – This has been one of the most widely popular relationship books in the last few years. Based on a series of sermons provided by Michael Todd, the books approaches relationships for a more religious perspective. The book considers a wide variety of subjects including dating in the time of social media and how to handle break-ups effectively. It also identifies the most common pitfalls in relationships and strategies that can be instituted immediately to avoid them. It too has become recently well-recognized as one of the best books on relationships.
- Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray, Ph.D. – Often, the things that we find most attractive in someone else involve their unique differences. But over time, these differences can actually lead to conflict, frustration, and relationship problems. Using a gender lens, John Gray highlights the different communication styles, emotional needs, and intimacy needs between men and women. As one of the best books on relationships of all times, it is recognized as a classic, must-read on the subject.
- Difficult Conversations by Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen – This is one of few relationships books that has been on the New York Time’s best-seller list. But its ability to be applied to any kind of relationship speaks to its versatility. The authors provides explanations as to why we often avoid conflict and difficult subjects that need to be discussed. They also offer clear advice on how to resolve relationship conflicts. As part of the Harvard Negotiation Project, this is among the best books on relationships regardless of type.
- The Enneagram in Love by Stephanie Barron Hall – If you haven’t heard of an Enneagram, it represents a personality test that defines different personality types. In total, there are nine different types, and Stephanie Barron Ball applies these types to love relationships. By examining the 45 different couple combinations of these types, she explores how they affect intimacy, expression, and conflict. Not only does she point out opportunities and challenges with these interactions but also helpful strategies. If these types of assessments appeal to you, this is one of the relationship books you might enjoy.
- Mindful Relationship Habits by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport – It’s not uncommon for us as individuals to get into some bad habits within relationships. When this occurs, these can lead to conflict, arguments, and sometimes, the end of the relationship. However, it is possible to develop more mindful habits that enhance communications, kindness and generosity that are more intentional and proactive. The authors provide 25 practices to improve relationship habits, which is why it’s recognized among the best books on relationships.
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, Ph.D. – Through extensive research observing married couples, Dr. Gottman reveals a variety of insights in this book. He covers a wide range of subjects that include intimacy, money issues, religion, family, and work. In the process, he discusses strategies and resources that can be used to resolve conflicts, helping to find common ground. For married couples, it is one of the relationship books worth exploring to help strengthen the relationship long-term.
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