I love to read.
Honestly, I wish I could set aside more time to read. I love those ‘self-help’ books by Christian authors who make me want to constantly better myself. The problem is, if I start reading, I can’t just simply put the book back down. I find myself encompassed in what I’m reading, and I’ll find myself going through a book a day if I don’t put it down. This makes reading before bed almost impossible for me.
After you get engaged, it’s no secret that you’ll find yourself being given so much advice you probably won’t know what to do with it all. (Which is a good thing!) I was given so many books from my loved ones about the season of engagement and walking into marriage with your new spouse. Sometimes I feel that my husband and I couldn’t be any more of opposites. But, these books really opened my eyes on how to love my husband well and succeed in this beautiful thing God gave us.
Let’s face it, men are just as complicated as women.
I am a firm believer that there are things within these books for everyone. Reading books on marriage doesn’t mean that you don’t know how to love your spouse. It doesn’t mean your relationship with your spouse is struggling or your relationship is on the brink of divorce. It means that you love your husband so much that you willing to take the time to learn about the wiring of your special person. Better yet, you’re wanting to love him well.
Prayers for new Brides by Jennifer O. White
I’ve highlighted this book on my Instagram already, if you’ve been around a while. But, it seriously has been one of my favorites. She gets real with telling you that marriage isn’t pretty. She makes you realize that Satan wants to destroy your marriage when God is at the center of it. But most importantly, she gives you the biblical knowledge on how to win this spiritual battle.
Each mini chapter highlights a different part of marriage/ your relationship with your husband. It also highlights a prayer at the end of each chapter. I decided not to read the book all the way through at once. Instead, I’ve found that it’s the perfect daily devotional for myself.
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman
This is another one of my favorites. It really opened my eyes on how I can truly love my husband well. Everyone feels ‘loved’ differently – whether it’s through words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, or physical touch. It really made me realize that the things that say “I love you” to me aren’t always the same things that say “I love you” to my husband.
For example, my love language is words of affirmation while my husband’s is acts of service. Simply telling my husband I loved him wasn’t always screaming it as loud as I wanted to. This book is about learning the love languages of both your husband and your self so that you can both say it (and hear it) clearly.
Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge & Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
Captivating and Wild at Heart are books that truly need to be read together. They explore the souls and wiring of men and women (and how they fit together perfectly!) These books are even a part of the curriculum in our small group at church.
Wild at Heart is about recovering man’s masculine heart and defining it in the image of a passionate God. It’s a really great book for women to discover the secret of a man’s soul and to delight in the strength and wildness men were created by God to offer.
Captivating is the women’s version of the book with the focus on unveiling the mystery of a woman’s soul. (and saying it’s okay to be a complicated woman, y’all!) It shares a story of how God is the Hero of your story, and how He is rescuing your heart and releasing you to live as a fully alive and feminine woman who is truly captivating.
Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman
This book is focused on planning your marriage before you plan your wedding. (Wait, what?!) Yes! This book was written to help you realize your goal of marital happiness and how to work towards that goal together. Chapman gets real by telling you things like that being in love is not enough to make a successful marriage. You can read this book with your spouse and honestly share your thoughts and feelings, learn to respect each other’s opinions, and find solutions to your differences.
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman
This isn’t written from a biblical standpoint, but I have still loved reading it all the same. I feel like it really opened my eyes on how to be a more ’emotionally intelligent’ couple. This book talks about a study that the author conducted with couples over a period of time that allowed him to observe years of habits that make and break marriages. From this study he wrote about his findings in this book: the seven principles that guide couples towards a long-lasting marriage. He outlines approaches to solving conflict, finding common ground, and achieving greater levels of intimacy with your spouse.
Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley
Just like Emily says in the opening paragraph of Grace Not Perfection: Somewhere along the way, someone told us we weren’t good enough. We weren’t pretty enough, creative enough, crafty enough, or dedicated enough. Social media feeds, blogs, magazines, and other people began to set the standard for us. And they set it high – unreachably high. We mashed together other people’s highlights and best moments and created this standard of perfection we’re all after. Once we reach it, we tell ourselves, I’ll be good enough. This book is a must read for women trapped in the comparison game that social media (and society!) has us in.
I can only hope that you take the time to read at least a couple books from this list. Plus, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! If you have a book that you love, didn’t see here, and wish to recommend to brides or newly-weds, leave a comment below! I’d love to hear more!