In addition to doing a lot of research on kombucha, tacos, and primal diets, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading about relationships lately.
Without going into a total overshare, I will say that in the past few months I’ve come to realize how important having a strong relationship is to me. I’ve also come to understand the hard work it takes from both parties to make a relationship truly thrive when you’ve been in a long-term commitment.
The reason I thought this was important to share here is because we are social creatures and I believe that having healthy, happy relationships is key to our health.
Unfortunately, I think many of us struggle with creating and maintaining fulfilling, happy, and healthy relationships. I don’t want to generalize everyone’s experience so I’ll speak for myself here.
I didn’t grow up with any examples of great relationships and so my experience (like many) has come through trial and error. And over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. There are some things we can only learn with time, age, and life experience, but a little reading never hurts.
So, since I’ve been doing a ton of research and reflecting in my own life, I wanted to share it with you in hopes that it might help you as well. Whether you are in relationship or not, romantically fulfilled or not, I believe that all of us could spend a little more time being intentional about our relationships.
After all, the health of our relationships impacts our health as well.
This one is a must-read. As human beings we all desire to feel loved and each of us expresses and receives love a little differently. This book revolves around Chapman’s 5 “love languages” (words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch) with the idea that each of us have a certain way that we show our love and want others to show their love for us.
For example, my love languages are quality time and acts of service. If someone buys me a gift, I might think it’s nice, but I would feel much more loved if my partner took me on a special date or did a chore that I can’t stand. The same goes with the way we express love. So, I might go out of my way to spend quality time with someone, but if their love language is words of affirmation and I don’t verbally communicate with them, they won’t feel as satisfied in the relationship.
I think the blurb on the back of the book sums it up the best: “Couples who understand each other’s love languages hold a priceless advantage in the quest for love that lasts a lifetime – they know how to effectively and consistently make each other feel truly and deeply loved. That gift never fades away.”
Chapman originally wrote the book for married couples, but the cool thing is that there is also an edition written specifically for singles. Whether you are currently in a relationship or not, I definitely think this book is worth checking out.
I’ve had this book mentioned to me by several friends throughout the years who told me that this book convinced them it was time to end their relationships. If you are currently in a state of relationship ambivalence and don’t know whether the relationship is worth ending or trying to fix, this is the book for you.
Kirshenbaum walks you through a series of diagnostic questions to help you determine whether or not you’re truly happy in your relationship and if it’s worth saving. She shares her personal story of watching her mother spend her entire life in relationship ambivalence so her hope is that the book will help you get out of this detrimental place and come to a clear conclusion.
As someone who has experienced relationship ambivalence, I can tell you that it’s never easy which way you decide, but there is a huge relief in finally coming to a decision.
This book is aimed at individuals who are experiencing broken trust in their relationship. I stumbled upon this book because I was working my way through all of Mira Kirshenbaum’s books. To be honest, I was a little unsure if I should list this book here because I don’t think I agree with what some of Kirshenbaum writes in this one.
Her theory is that trust can always be restored and it’s not the betrayal itself that causes the damage, but instead, it’s the poor way that we handle the issue which causes problems later on. She gives many examples of couples who have worked through tremendous breaches in trust and were successful in restoring their relationships.
I definitely think a relationship is worth working on if both parties want to, but I’m not sure I agree that every relationship can be saved and trust can always be restored. Nonetheless, if you are currently experiencing broken trust in your relationship and want guidance in working through it, I do think this book would be really helpful.
Finding Love Again is written for folks who are currently divorced, separated, or out of a long-term relationship and are ready to heal from it and/or start thinking about their next relationship. Orbuch starts by busting the top 8 relationship myths which typically sabotage relationships and then helps you create a 21-day action plan for moving forward with your life.
What I liked most about the book is her focus on self-care, making positive life changes, and evaluating what type of relationship you really want before getting into it.
I think one of the hardest emotional experiences is ending a relationship and taking care of yourself during this time period so I loved her guidance on getting rid of emotional baggage before jumping into something new. If you are currently going through a breakup or are looking for your next relationship, I think this book would really speak to you.
This is the third book of Kirshenbaum’s that I read and this was by far my favorite. As I mentioned above, I didn’t have a lot of healthy examples of relationships growing up and this book felt like the guide I had never had. It identifies ten “love killers” which cause many of the problems and heartache that couples experience. It’s a similar style to her other books in that Kirshenbaum walks you through a series of questions to help you diagnose which “love killers” are at play in your relationship and shows you exactly how to fix them.
My favorite part is chapter one which focuses on “essential maintenance” in the relationship. To be honest, this sounded so boring and basic at first, but as I continued reading, I began to see how many of these areas are often ignored, forgotten or simply not practiced because they do seem so basic and unimportant — and especially, if you’ve been together for a long time.
Once you’ve identified the issues going on in your relationship, she gives you the exact prescription for how to fix the problem and breaks it down into simple and doable steps. When it comes to creating change, I always believe that the more concrete the steps, the more successful we’ll be. It’s really hard to think about “recreating a connection” with your partner, but it’s a lot easier to tell them you appreciate them every day and give them a kiss before walking out the door. If you are in a relationship that’s missing the closeness and passion that you once had, I highly recommend you read this book.
And now I want to hear from you… What books and resources would you recommend on this topic? Leave me a comment below!
Wishing you happy, healthy relationships,