Curious about what types of books I recommend to clients during counseling? Perhaps you’d like to dabble and read some on your own?
Here’s a list I compiled of my most frequently recommended books. I have seen these books aid people in working to make significant changes in their lives and they are filled to the brim with helpful information. Some of them are written from a Catholic Christian perspective, because many of my clients seek counseling from a Catholic perspective. However, there are others I recommend that are useful for anyone regardless of their faith, worldview, or background.
Without further ado, here they are!
- The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman
This books is so popular now that I find more and more couples telling me that they’ve already read this book. And for great reason; Gary Chapman has really harnessed the essence of communicating better with your spouse and how to better understand the natural language that speaks to their heart. If you haven’t already read this book, head to your nearest bookstore now! This book provides a fun way to learn more about your partner’s personal preferences and teaches you to speak the language that will unlock your spouse’s heart. Reading together could be how you spend a date night. The book even comes with its own quiz so that you can find out what your particular love language is. There are also versions for singles, teens, newlyweds, and the workplace.
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman
John Gottman has revolutionized the field of marriage and family therapy with his research. He can tell within 5 minutes of meeting a couple if they are going to stay married or get divorced (with over 90% accuracy) because he knows the signs that lead to marital catastrophe. Want to know what these signs are so that you can ditch bad habits and develop the ones that help you stay together? Pick up this book. I’ve seen Dr. Gottman present in person and he is very intelligent yet down-to-earth. Gottman compiles his experience and scholarship and tells you upfront, without mincing words if you are engaging in divorce-like behaviors and he explains how to kick those habits out! I first read this book while I was a student in my counseling program and I still return to it over and over.
- The Exceptional Seven Percent by Dr. Greg Popcack
I love this book because it focuses on the positive. Greg Popcack uses research to focus on the 50% of marriages that do not end in divorce. He takes it one step further and finds which of those 50% are happily married. Not all marriages that last are necessarily happy marriages; in fact, Popcack says only 7% of marriages are truly happy. Some couples, while not divorced, go through life together but they might not rate their marriage as content, fulfilling, or completely satisfying. They would be considered to be in a conventional type of marriage. With that, Popcack creates an interactive book in which you and your spouse can find out what category your marriage falls into (shipwrecked, conventional, partnership, or romantic peer) and discuss ways to make your marriage look like the exceptional seven percent. This book is good for anyone. You’re relationship does not have to be in jeopardy to benefit from reading it. It will help take any good marriage from good to better to exceptional! The book has discussion questions at the end of each chapter which provide deep conversational points for you and your spouse. I read it with my husband and still benefit from the tips and insight.
- Holy Sex by Dr. Greg Popcack
Contradictory title? I think not! Holy Sex may speak more to a Catholic audience as it uses Catholic teaching to guide the discussion around enhancing one’s sexual relationship, however this is no dry, boring, or dull read by any means. If you’re tired of having draining conversations about sex with your spouse, read this book. There are hilarious stories combined with witty writing throughout. Not only does this book address communication and learning how to argue less about sex, but it also shows you how a happy (or holy) sex life will improve your marriage. Popcack helps couples view sex as a way to love the other in a mutually gratifying way. It is sure to entertain and help you have a more satisfying sex life with your spouse.
- Heaven’s Song by Christopher West
If you’re looking for a more reflective or philosophical type of book, this is the one for you. Featured on MSNBC, ABC News, and the New York Times, Christopher West is a well-renowned public speaker and author, and he’s got some incredibly beautiful reflections when discussing sex and the marital relationship. This book is especially for anyone who might be uncomfortable with sex in general. West utilizes a combination of Scripture, pop music, and other cultural references throughout the book to give you your own mini retreat-like experience while reading. He reaches in and renews the “dirty” connotations of sex. Heaven’s Song is perfect for quiet introspection and is a major game changer for marriages.
There you have it. My top 5. It was hard to choose only 5! There are so many wonderful books out there and others that I use in therapy as well. If you have any books that you’ve found helpful to your marriage or dating relationship, please comment and share below. Now go ahead, grab some coffee, curl up, and dabble away!
If you’ve ever wondered if you might benefit from couples counseling, please visit my website for more information www.reginaboyd.com.