If you’re like me, then you like to know if there is a better/easier/more loving way to do something. And that includes the relationship of marriage. I once heard of an older couple that made a point to read one book on marriage every year.
I thought that was a novel idea when I was engaged. It made me understand (before getting married) that I wasn’t ever going to have all the answers or be a perfect wife, I would always be learning. So in my pursuit of a great marriage I decided to take on that same challenge of reading a marriage book each year. Some years I’ve read more than one and others I’ve simply done the bare minimum.
I’ve read some great books and some that didn’t give me much to chew on. Below are the books that have been great, practical, and have given me wisdom on the gift of marriage.
1. The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
This is a great book on the purpose of marriage. This is one of those worth buying instead of checking out at the library or borrowing.
I read this while I was dating my now-husband and still remember key points from it off the top of my head. Points such as “marriage is designed to make us holy, not happy.” Also, he talks about the value of the promises you give in your vows on your wedding day before your friends, your family, your coworkers, your church, and God. It made me view the day as so much more sacred than just a fun ceremony.
This book is in more of the theoretical category but with that said, the way you think about marriage often precedes the way you act within your relationship.
2. What’s it Like Being Married to Me? by Linda Dillow
This book really challenged me to look at my role in marriage rather than analyzing my husband’s role over and over (poor guy!). I cried a few times reading this book, although I read it shortly after moving 2,500 miles away from my family so I was feeling pretty vulnerable.
What I like about this book is that it challenges you to be your best without making you feel like crap. There are no guilt trips or rants about shame. The author asks, as she says, ‘dangerous’ questions in each chapter such as “why do I want to stay mad?” and “what does it feel like to be my husband?”
3. Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Honestly, I recently started reading this book but I am already loving it.
I’ve had a few things that I consistently do to my husband that he has asked me to stop. For whatever reason, I can’t fully cut it out. This book is giving me better insight on how my problems are actually respect and honor related. It is showing me that my husband feels the most loved when he is the most respected. I thought I did okay in this department but this book is giving me a clearer picture of what that can look like in our relationship.
The author gives both his and his wife’s perspective which is so helpful. He is giving new words to something my husband has a hard time explaining and something I have a hard time understanding.
4. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
Okay, so this is not a marriage book but I feel like it improved my marriage a lot. The book is actually pretty ‘self’ focused. Its premise is acknowledging your emotions (both positive and negative) so you can love yourself and everyone else better.
I should also add that its not only about past issues but also navigating your life now in an emotionally healthy way that leads to more joy and less burnout. Simply put, this book taught me to say “no” to things that were more than I could handle and that my limitations are a gift. I tend to be a people pleaser so this was big ground for me to gain.
5. The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
I think this is the third time I have mentioned this book on my blog now! Once in the post That One Time We Almost Didn’t Get Married, once in Lisa Stafford: Real Life Woman, Real Life Prayer and once more in this post.
Its safe to say I love this book! This is a book that brings the Holy Spirit close to your side as you pray for your husband. You are not relying on yourself and the things that you can/can’t control, but on God’s infinite strength.
This is not a book that says ‘change everything about yourself and then you can be a good wife.”
This book is an action that you take.
It gives new strength to your prayers by reading along with the author’s prayers. Quite frankly, this book taught me how to pray for my husband with specifics rather than only general, sweeping prayers.
If you have any books on marriage that you love, I’d love to hear about them! I’m always looking for more books to put on my reading list.