20 Recommended Books on Dating & Preparing for Marriage

Posted On: June 18, 2019

These are some books I’ve come across over the years that have come highly recommended and I wanted to share this list with you. Do note that some of them are from a religious angle – I would say “take what is useful and let go of what is not” if you do not identify as religious. I personally have read, like and would recommend books 5, 7, 9, 19 listed below.

1. Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?

Happy is good. But holy is better. Your marriage is more than a sacred covenant with another person. It is a spiritual discipline designed to help you know God better, trust him more fully, and love him more deeply.  What if God’s primary intent for your marriage isn’t to make you happy . . . but holy?

Sacred Marriage doesn’t just offer techniques to make a marriage happier. It does contain practical tools, but what married Christians most need is help in becoming holier husbands and wives. Sacred Marriage offers that help with insights from Scripture, church history, time tested wisdom from Christian classics, and examples from today’s marriages.

 

2. From This Day Forward: Five Commitments to Fail-Proof Your Marriage

The choices you make each and every day determine not only your relationship with God but also the quality of your marriage. The decisions you make today will determine the marriage you will have tomorrow.

In From This Day Forward, you will discover five commitments that will absolutely fail-proof your marriage:

If you and your spouse will earnestly commit to do all five of these things, you’ll discover a richer, deeper, more authentic relationship and a more rewarding, more passionate love life.

Don’t be a statistic. Don’t be average. Let’s get you the marriage you’ve always wanted.

Starting right now—from this day forward.

 

3. Bigger Love: How to Have the Love of your Life for the Rest of Your Life (The Love Endeavor)

Learn the tips, tools and tricks that helped the authors bring their relationship back from the brink of divorce, to better than ever thought possible.

Written in He Said: She Said format

This book is the story of what the authors had to learn about themselves and each other, that enabled them to transform their relationship.

You will love the unique and totally authentic, lighthearted banter between the authors.

 

 

 

 

4. Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs

Reveals the secret to couples meeting each other’s deepest needs–without love she reacts without respect, and without respect he reacts without love, and a painful, negative cycle begins.

Discover the Single Greatest Secret to a Successful Marriage

Psychological studies affirm it, and the Bible has been saying it for ages. Cracking the communication code between husband and wife involves understanding one thing: that unconditional respect is as powerful for him as unconditional love is for her. It’s the secret to marriage that every couple seeks, and yet few couples ever find.

Today, you and your mate can start fresh with the ground-breaking guidance that Dr. Emerson Eggerichs provides in this book. His revolutionary message, featured on Focus on the Family, is for anyone: in marital crisis…wanting to stay happily married…who’s feeling lonely. It’s for engaged couples…victims of affairs…pastors and counselors seeking material that can save a marriage.

And if you’ll take this biblically based counsel to heart, your marriage could be next!

 

5. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge. How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life?

In the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today.

The 5 Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful. Updated to reflect the complexities of relationships today, this new edition reveals intrinsic truths and applies relevant, actionable wisdom in ways that work.

Includes the Couple’s Personal Profile assessment so you can discover your love language and that of your loved one.

6. Three to Get Married

One of the greatest and best-loved spokesmen for the Catholic Faith here sets out the Church’s beautiful understanding of marriage in his trademark clear and entertaining style. Frankly and charitably, Sheen presents the causes of and solutions to common marital crises, and tells touching real-life stories of people whose lives were transformed through marriage. He emphasizes that our Blessed Lord is at the center of every successful and loving marriage. This is a perfect gift for engaged couples, or for married people as a fruitful occasion for self-examination.

 

 

 

 

7. Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex

Rediscover the most famous relationship book ever published

Once upon a time Martians and Venusians met, fell in love, and had happy relationships together because they respected and accepted their differences. Then they came to Earth and amnesia set in: they forgot they were from different planets.

Based on years of successful counseling of couples and individuals, Men Are from MarsWomen Are from Venus has helped millions of couples transform their relationships. Now viewed as a modern classic, this phenomenal book has helped men and women realize how different they can be in their communication styles, their emotional needs, and their modes of behavior—and offers the secrets of communicating without conflicts, allowing couples to give intimacy every chance to grow.

8. The Miracle Morning for Couples: Create Legendary Connections One Morning at a Time 

Since 2012, The Miracle Morning has helped to empower millions with a step-by-step process for achieving goals and realizing dreams. Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning Life S.A.V.E.R.S. have been the key to extraordinary success for readers worldwide, and now they can help take your relationships to legendary levels.

The Miracle Morning for Couples uses Hal’s Life S.A.V.E.R.S. to put you on a path of personal development and growth, so you can show up for your relationship and get more joy, greater intimacy, and a lifelong friendship.You’ll learn:
Why mornings matter more than you think
How to become a “morning person” in just five minutes
The secrets to a connected friendship and long-term happiness
The formula for an exceptional daily routine together, right after you wake up
The steps to building greater intimacy and fostering deeper vulnerability and trust
How to pull all the pieces together to become a Legendary Couple!
The Miracle Morning for Couples is your key to nurturing a fulfilling, lasting relationship with the one you love, and living a miraculous life together.

9. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert

John Gottman’s unprecedented study of couples over a period of years has allowed him to observe the habits that can make—and break—a marriage. Here is the culmination of that work: the seven principles that guide couples on a path toward a harmonious and long-lasting relationship. Straightforward yet profound, these principles teach partners new approaches for resolving conflicts, creating new common ground, and achieving greater levels of intimacy.

Gottman offers strategies and resources to help couples collaborate more effectively to resolve any problem, whether dealing with issues related to sex, money, religion, work, family, or anything else.

Packed with new exercises and the latest research out of the esteemed Gottman Institute, this revised edition of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is the definitive guide for anyone who wants their relationship to attain its highest potential.

10. The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating

Single? Looking for the “right person”? Thinking that if you met the “right person” everything would turn out “right”? Think again.

In The New Rules For Love, Sex & Dating, Andy Stanley explores the challenges, assumptions, and land mines associated with dating in the twenty-first century. Best of all, he offers the most practical and uncensored advice you will ever hear on this topic.

Not for the faint of heart, The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating challenges singles to step up and set a new standard for this generation.

“If you don’t want a marriage like the majority of marriages, then stop dating like the majority of daters!”

—Andy Stanley

11. 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged

More than half of all couples who become engaged this year will never make it to the altar. Why? Leading experts believe it’s because couples fail to really get to know their potential mate before getting engaged. Relationship expert and noted couples counselor Norm Wright steers potential brides and grooms through a series of soul-searching questions to discern if they’ve really met “the One.”

Couples will be much more confident about whether or not to pursue marriage after completing these in-depth and personal questions. Norm also addresses the delicate subject of calling off the wedding if readers discover that a potential mate isn’t actually meant to be a life partner.

 

 

12. The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts

When it first appeared in 1995, The Good Marriage became a best-seller. It offers timeless clues to the secret of happy, long-lasting marriages. Based on a groundbreaking study of fifty couples who consider themselves happily married, psychologist Judith Wallerstein presents the four basic types of marriage — romantic, rescue, companionate, and traditional — and identifies nine developmental tasks that must be successfully undertaken in a “good marriage” — separation from the family of origin, up-and-down vicissitudes of early years, children, balance of work and home, dealing with infidelities, and more.

The men and women Wallerstein interviewed readily admit that even the best relationship requires hard work and continuing negotiation, especially in the midst of societal pressures that can tear marriages apart. But they also convey an inspirational message, for almost all of them feel that their marriage is their single greatest accomplishment. The Good Marriage explains why, and its lively mix of storytelling and analysis will challenge every couple to think in a profoundly different way about the most important relationship in their lives.

13. The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Okay, folks, do you want to turn those fat and flabby expenses into a well-toned budget? Do you want to transform your sad and skinny little bank account into a bulked-up cash machine? Then get with the program, people. There’s one sure way to whip your finances into shape, and that’s with The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition.

By now, you’ve heard all the nutty get-rich-quick schemes, the fiscal diet fads that leave you with a lot of kooky ideas but not a penny in your pocket. Hey, if you’re tired of the lies and sick of the false promises, take a look at this—it’s the simplest, most straightforward game plan for completely making over your money habits. And it’s based on results, not pie-in-the-sky fantasies.

 

14. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

Based on the acclaimed sermon series by New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller, this book shows everyone—Christians, skeptics, singles, longtime married couples, and those about to be engaged—the vision of what marriage should be according to the Bible.

Modern culture would have you believe that everyone has a soul mate; that romance is the most important part of a successful marriage; that your spouse is there to help you realize your potential; that marriage does not mean forever, but merely for now; and that starting over after a divorce is the best solution to seemingly intractable marriage issues. But these modern-day assumptions are wrong. Timothy Keller, with insights from Kathy, his wife of thirty-seven years, shows marriage to be a glorious relationship that is also misunderstood and mysterious. The Meaning of Marriage offers instruction on how to have a successful marriage, and is essential reading for anyone who wants to know God and love more deeply in this life.

15. Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

Originally published in 1988, Getting the Love You Want has helped millions of couples attain more loving, supportive, and deeply satisfying relationships. This 20th-anniversary edition contains extensive revisions to the groundbreaking book, with a new chapter, new exercises, and a foreword detailing Dr. Hendrix’s updated philosophy for eliminating all negativity from couples’ daily interactions, allowing listeners of the 2008 edition to benefit from his ongoing discoveries during his last two decades of work.

 

 

16. A Love Letter Life: Pursue Creatively. Date Intentionally. Love Faithfully.

As Jeremy and Audrey write, if you can fall into love, you can fall out. True love is something you choose to live out each day through your actions, decisions, and sacrifices. To find and still seek, now that is love. From the moment you meet your potential spouse, you can be intentional about shaping a beautiful love story, uniquely written for who God created you both to be. Whether you’re single and searching, in a serious dating relationship, or desiring to love your spouse better, Jeremy and Audrey equip you to pursue an intentional, creative, and faithful love story by sharing theirs.

The journey to their wedding day was the culmination of a bumpy and complicated dating relationship. From health problems, to emotional walls, to being separated by one thousand miles, the couple faced daunting obstacles. But their unique approach to dating empowered them to write an uncommon love story and prepared them for married life. Because as beautiful as their wedding was, the Roloffs made a point to prepare more for their marriage than their wedding day.

17. Are You the One for Me?

Finally, the information you’ve been waiting for to help you find and keep the right partner and make love last. A renowned expert on relationships and personal growth, and best-selling author of How To Make Love All the Time and Secrets About Men Every Woman Should Know, Dr. Barbara De Angelis explains everything you need to know about compatibility and shares secrets for making healthy love choices.

With powerful advice and groundbreaking techniques that have helped millions of people transform their lives, Dr. De Angelis will show you the formula for creating love that lasts. Whether you’re single and looking for love, married and wondering if you could be happier, in love and wondering whether your partner is right for you, or divorced and hoping to avoid making the same mistakes again, Are You the One for Me? will help you understand yourself and relationships as you never have before.

 

18. Praying Circles Around Your Children

Mark Batterson shares a perfect blend of biblical yet practical advice that will revolutionize your prayer life by giving you a new vocabulary and a new methodology. You’ll see how prayer is your secret weapon. Through stories of parents just like you, Batterson shares five prayer circles that will not only help you pray for your kids, but also pray through your kids. Batterson teaches about how to create prayer lists unique to your family, claim God-inspired promises for your children, turn your family circle into a prayer circle, and discover your child’s life themes. And he not only tells you how, he illustrates why. As Batterson says, “I realize that not everyone inherited a prayer legacy like I did, but you can leave a legacy for generations to come. Your prayers have the power to shape the destiny of your children and your children’s children. It’s time to start circling.”

19. His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage

In the classic best-seller His Needs, Her Needs, Willard F. Harley, Jr., identifies the ten most vital needs of men and women and shows husbands and wives how to satisfy those needs in their spouses. He provides guidance for becoming irresistible to your spouse and for loving more creatively and sensitively, thereby eliminating the problems that often lead to extramarital affairs.This revised and expanded edition has been updated throughout and includes new writing that highlights the special significance of intimate emotional needs in marriage.

 

20. Committed: A Love Story

At the end of her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe – a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship who’d been living in Indonesia when they met. Resettling in America, the couple swore eternal fidelity to each other, but also swore to never, ever, under any circumstances get legally married. (Both survivors of difficult divorces. Enough said.) But providence intervened one day in the form of the U.S. government, who – after unexpectedly detaining Felipe at an American border crossing – gave the couple a choice: they could either get married, or Felipe would never be allowed to enter the country again.

Having been effectively sentenced to wed, Gilbert tackled her fears of marriage by delving completely into this topic, trying with all her might to discover (through historical research, interviews and much personal reflection) what this stubbornly enduring old institution actually is.

Which of these books have you read? Which would you recommend? Can you think of any which you think I should add to this list? Do let me know! Leave a comment below!

About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality before launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.

She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling in May 2018. In practice for more than nine years, she is the only certified sexuality educator and certified sexuality educator supervisor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore.

Often cited in the local media, Dr. Lee is the appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She is the host of weekly radio show Eros Evolution on the OMTimes Radio Network.  She has published four books: Love, Sex and Everything In-BetweenOrgasmic Yoga,  From Princess to Queen and {Un}Inhibited.

Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.

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