The 21-book Bucket List to read with your partner for a truly top-notch relationship…
How Will You Measure Your Life? By Clayton Christensen. This book, while much of it is geared towards career and work, has a significant chunk devoted to the importance of nourishing and investing in your romantic relationships and other important connections in life. That on failing to do this, they are likely to wither, diminish, and possibly even die. Thus, this will remind, as well as help guide you towards structuring your life in such a way for when the end comes, that you can then be able to look back and feel you lived a life of utmost meaning. It’s that much-needed reminder of just how important our close interpersonal connections really are. And how to structure our lives in such a way to allow for this priority.
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age by Sherry Turkle. A relevant and timely reminder (or, hopefully, more like a swift kick in the pants), in terms of our current near-obsession with and perpetual preoccupation and distraction by our devices, which is chipping away at, taking away from, and even ruining our interpersonal connections. A fascinating, jarring read. This will change how you perceive the landscape surrounding, of heads ever craned downward, faces bathed in LED light, fingers tap-tapping away, no one ever looking at each other for any sustained period of time any longer. And, it just might shift your behavior on this very issue.
How to be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Ricco. Simply one of the best books I’ve ever read about romantic relationships. The title is misleading. Instead, it’s about love in general. How to both choose right, as well as be, a great romantic partner. It also includes concepts such as self-love, when to let go, parental/familial love, as well as platonic love.
Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression, and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari. An eye-opening book that will turn everything you think you know about depression and anxiety, on its head. It will alter forever what you believe about depression, as well as, the ways in which as a society, we attempt to treat it (hint: we are doing it all wrong). This book can also change, in significant ways, how you consider the importance of connecting with your loved one(s). And thus, result in altering your behavior as a result.
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. This is a necessary book for both men and women alike. It will blow your mind apart, and change completely, the ways in which you regard our culture, how our culture treats women (in terms of, encouraging us to inflict self-harm on ourselves- cosmetic surgery, eating disorders, etc, in order to garner approval and desire by men), as well as how it influences men to treat and regard women. It might actually change your life.
Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel. A must-read for all committed, monogamous couples. Even if you are totally at home and one hundred percent contented in your monogamous connection with your love, it’s still an informing, thought-provoking, crucial read.
The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity by Esther Perel. Similar to the book above, even if you’ve never cheated, and feel certain that you never would, this is a fascinating book. I guarantee you’ve never read one like it with regards to romance and sex. It will open your mind, big time, on this relational issue which, as long as monogamy and romantic relationships exist, this issue will too. Thus, it’s still very much worth a read, if only for the education aspect on the topic.
The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm. One of the best books I’ve ever read on love. It’s short and sweet, poetic and philosophical, and quite inspirational.
The Soulmate Experience: a Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships by Mali Apple. And, another one of the top books I’ve read on the topic. This one, slightly more unconventional, though incredibly eye-opening and inspiring. It will likely offer you insights and thoughts which you’d never considered for your relationships.
What Love Is, and What it Could Be by Carrie Jenkins. An unconventional, outside-the-lines read about love. Though a mind-opening one for sure. Both, regarding how love is currently regarded, and how much more it could be.
The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck. This one is more a philosophical and self-help book about love in general. From self-love to parental love, as well as romantic love. How most of us think we understand what this is, but in actuality, we are quite misinformed and even flat out wrong. This book is another thought changer.
Just Kids by Patti Smith. A memoir, poetic, gorgeously written, about two unlikely people falling in love. One of the more inspiring, beautiful, memorable, as well as unconventional love affairs of which I’ve ever read. Patti and Robert have much to teach us about love, if only we weren’t afraid.
Are You The One For Me? Knowing Who’s Right and Avoiding Who’s Wrong by Barbara De Angelis. Though it’s a bit on the old school side, this book is surprisingly excellent. It definitely makes the top five of the best books on dating and choosing a romantic partner (as well as, learning to be a great one) which I’ve ever read. Ignore the strange/offputting cover and get this book. It will change how you choose and assess romantic partners over the course of your life, in a great way.
The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work by John Gottman. An excellent one on both marriage and long term committed relationships, how to keep them happy and healthy. John Gottman is one of the leading psychologists on romantic relationships. He is able to predict with something around a 96% accuracy rate, after watching a couple interact for just fifteen minutes, whether or not their relationship will endure. Thus, this one is legit, chock full of worthwhile gems and insights.
Open Marriage by George O’Neill. No, this is not about having sex with people other than your spouse. This book has far more riches to offer than that simplistic and incorrect perception of what an open marriage or open relationship might mean. It can mean that. It doesn’t have to though. A couple can have an incredibly open relationship/marriage while still being monogamous. Bet that surprises you. That’s because our culture has decided that the only interpretation of “open” is in reference to sex. This is an excellent book though and will somersault how you think about what having a healthy relationship with your partner really means.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. This is a beautiful, true story of a months-long conversation that plays out between the author and his college mentor, who is actively dying. They cover all sorts of topics, from love to friendship, family, etc. It’s emotionally moving, inspiring, and will cause most people to consider their priorities far more carefully following reading it.
The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick. Even if you aren’t religious, I still recommend this book. In which case, if you aren’t into it, ignore that aspect of it. This book has many riches to offer, in terms of deepening and elevating your relationship with your partner. It includes various romantic gestures and activities which can really help with amping up the romance, as well as strengthening the connection between you two.
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it Can Help You Find- and Keep- Love by Amir Levine. This is an eye-opening, fascinating one. In a highly readable format, this book can improve your relationships drastically via information with regard to attachment styles. The way it’s written though, is conversational and personal, engaging and interesting.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. A beautiful, moving story of first love, though even more so, it’s a tender tale of two very different people. One who comes from a white picket fence, all-American, standup family, whereas the other comes from a sadder, more difficult, darker type of family scenario. Thus, it’s about the lessons each of these people stand to learn from each other, with regards to their vastly different upbringings and thus, contrasting experiences of the world and, as a result, their approaches to love.
The Relationship Cure: A Five-Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships by John Gottman. This is a great one for all people looking to improve any of the relationships in their life. Or, for those who feel their relationships are all already top-notch, the wisest among us know that all of us still ever stand to learn more. This book is a great read if only for the purpose of keeping your relationships that way. John Gottman is one of the top relationship psychologists, so I highly recommend most any book by him. Though personally, I found this one to be especially excellent.
The Friendship Factor: How To Get Closer To The People You Care For by Alan Loy McGinnis. One of the best books I’ve read on friendship, though all of which can also be applied to romantic relationships. A significant aspect of a quality romantic relationship is also friendship, yes? Thus, this book will improve both your romantic connection, as well as the friendships in your life.