By Andrew Kushnick, MFTI –
Are you and your partner trying to work on your relationship? You may be frustrated by months of arguments and trying to figure out how to connect. Or maybe you’re happily single and eager to understand yourself and relationships better. No matter which of these might describe you, you’d like some guidance, right? Now that you’ve read each of the “Six Books that Couples Should Read Together” in Cameron Yarbrough’s helpful post, you’re eager for more, right? Of course. Without further adieu, here are six more books that couples should read together:
Talk to Me Like I’m Someone You Love, by Nancy Dreyfus. Ever find you your loved one stuck in a frustrating spiral of blaming and defensiveness? This book can help guide you both in a more compassionate and peaceful direction. It contains over 100 written “repair” messages in the form of “flash cards for real life.” You can either speak these messages or actually show your loved one the flash card. Either way, they’ll help you find the ideal tone and words to shift the tone and the feel of difficult conversations.
How to Be an Adult in Relationships, by David Richo. With an elegant writing style, Richo shows us how we can see ourselves in an honest light, so that we can find within ourselves what we may or may not have received when growing up: attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing. Whether we’re single or in a relationship, by loving mindfully, we can become a better partner and live and love more meaningfully.
Nonviolent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg. This is a classic that launched a movement. The late, great Marshall Rosenberg provides a simple how-to guide for replacing judgment and criticism with direct and compassionate expressions of what’s happening within us. It’s a new way of speaking and a new way of listening, designed to get your needs met, enabling you to connect with others on a deeper level.
Emotional Intimacy, by Robert Augustus Masters. So many of us are baffled by these things called emotions. Whether it’s shame, anger, guilt, or fear, they feel foreign. We don’t know what they mean, or what we should do with them. While not geared exclusively towards couples, this powerful book introduces us to this strange new world of emotions, and shows us how to be with them, express them, and utilize them to connect to others. A fascinating read.
The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. We all want to feel loved and cared for, but each of us speaks a different language to convey it. Some might find the right words, while others might convey it through a thoughtful gift. With helpful quizzes, you can identify the love language(s) that resonate for you and your partner. While the book is largely heteronormative and geared towards married couples, anyone can benefit from this quick read.
Wired for Love, by Stan Tatkin. The human brain is more wired for war than for love, quick to perceive threat and respond accordingly. By tuning into our partner on a moment-by-moment basis, and by harnessing the power of our right brain, we can become experts on our partners, learning how to please and soothe them, creating a durable sense of security. Easy-to-read, sensible and practical, this is my favorite relationship book out there.
Andrew Kushnick is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern at the Well Clinic in San Francisco. As a former practicing attorney, Andrew brings conflict resolution skills and an analytical sense to his work with couples, while offering a gentle and compassionate perspective.