relationship goals

8 books on relationship goals every couple should read

Relationship books are a great medium for learning more about your inherent characteristics, how you identify with others, and how you can improve as partners in a relationship.
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Falling in love is may be easy, but staying in love takes work. Despite what they show in romantic movies, it can be safely said that maintaining a happy, healthy and long-lasting relationship can be no less than a roller-coaster ride. More often than not, the assurance of a happily-ever-after is often preceded by arguments, adjustments and finally, the one thing that seals the relationship—a strong commitment. Mutual love for each other is the prerequisite for establishing any relationship goal. However, it takes more than just love to keep the relationship thriving, especially with the endless responsibilities and priorities of life taking up most of our time.

Relationship books are a great medium for learning more about your inherent characteristics, how you identify with others, and how you can improve as partners in a relationship. Written by relationship experts, couple therapists and psychologists, these books can help you nurture your relationship, communicate effectively and learn conflict resolution. The books not only pose important philosophical and psychological questions but also provide compelling answers for the same.

Here are eight books that can help you establish relationship goals, navigate life’s intricacies, teach you to use mindfulness to re-establish trust, build an emotional connection and be a better partner.

The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman

Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages has, over the years, become a handbook for relationship experts and couples in counselling. It remains an absolute classic, and for good reasons. Chapman, who has worked as a couples’ therapist for over 30 years, explains in great detail how each person has a unique love language. It could even be a blend of two, with one always being more dominant than the other. The book outlines five ways to express and experience love through “love languages”, which include receiving gifts, spending quality time, using words of affirmation, indulging in acts of service (devotion), and expressing through physical touch. The book also offers a quiz, which you can take to know which areas you score the highest. Chapman provides first-hand accounts from his counselling practice to help you identify your own love languages. This book teaches you how to keep your relationship strong amidst the demands, conflicts and weariness of everyday life.

What Makes Love Last?, By John Gottman and Nan Silver

Widely acclaimed relationship expert John Gottman shares his research on love and what it takes to build a trustful, intimate and emotionally satisfying relationship. Based on years of cumulative research findings, this book guides you in identifying the behaviours and patterns that indicate a damaged relationship, and provides practical solutions for repairing what is lost or broken. It teaches you how to deal with disagreements and unresolved traumas that creep into your present and affect your relationship. The book includes assignments and tests that help evaluate your relationship and keep it on track. The step-by-step methods for avoiding betrayal and salvaging relationships headed towards crisis can be useful for struggling couples by helping them change their patterns of behaviour and perspectives.

Hold Me Tight, by Sue Johnson

In Hold Me Tight, celebrated couples’ therapist Dr. Sue Johnson talks about the ideal approach to enhance a relationship, which is, building a secure emotional connection. The book emphasises on the importance of nurturing and protecting the bond between couples by being open and receptive to each other’s emotional and physical needs. Dr. Johnson explains seven distinct conversations that partners can share to create a long-lasting bond. These conversations can help couples feel closer to each other and turn conflicts into opportunities for bonding. With the help of contextual case studies, enlightening guidance, and practical exercises, you can learn the tricks of building and securing a close bond with your partner.

Attached, by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

Neuroscientist Amir Levine and psychologist Rachel Heller use science to unravel the key to a good relationship, and what makes some couples click while others struggle. The book explains the concepts of love and relationships through the lens of different kinds of people. It sheds light on the science behind attachment and how it differs based on your past experiences. The authors divide attachment styles into three categories—anxious, avoidant and secure. This book helps you figure out your attachment style and how you should communicate to create a more sustainable relationship goal. Recognising your attachment style is also a good way to understand yourself and how you view relationships, thus giving a more profound insight into your mindset and outlook towards life.

How to Be an Adult in Relationships, by David Richo

David Richo’s book talks about mindful relationships in a day and age where we’re increasingly mindless about the connections we establish. Richo offers a fresh point of view that focuses not on finding an ideal partner, but on becoming a more loving and caring individual. It explores the five principles that constitute a mindful relationship. Elaborating on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, the book talks about the five characteristics of a mindful relationship—Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection and Allowing—and how they play key roles in the quality of your relationship. These habits can help you move away from judgement, fear and blame to a place of receptiveness, empathy and authenticity about life and relationships. By focusing on these five A’s, you can create a deeper and more meaningful relationship, and pave the path for personal growth. If you and your partner are genuinely interested in incorporating mindfulness into your relationship, this book makes for a fitting read.

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, by John Gray

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus is an iconic book on relationships that has remained popular through the years. It creates a strong framework for the generalities and differences of men and women without making broad assumptions. The book aims at helping couples understand each other’s viewpoints, acknowledge that men and women are different, and learn to communicate effectively. By understanding these distinctions and learning how to deal with them, couples can learn to strike a balance and foster a harmonious relationship.

Mindful Relationship Habits, by SJ Scott and Barrie Davenport

This book is for you if you feel that your relationship has taken a backseat on your priority list. The bestselling authors explain how to re-build relationships by developing new mindful habits together and becoming more proactive. According to the book, this can be achieved by being intentional in all your interactions with your partner. Through 25 mindfulness practices explained in the book, you can learn how to convey your feelings better and build a more loving and empathetic relationship. These relationship goals can further help you stay away from counterproductive arguments. Each habit offers a clear explanation of why it is indispensable to the wellbeing of your relationship, and also lays out instructions on how to incorporate the same in your interactions. When practised regularly, the habits illustrated in the book can help you appreciate your partner while also ensuring that your own needs are met.

Getting the Love You Want, by Harville Hendrix

Authored by a therapist, this book is for those who wish to stop their past from negatively influencing the bond they share with their partner. Dr Hendrix writes about eliminating negative thoughts and behaviour patterns you may have developed during your childhood and youth, which continue to interfere with your current relationship goals. The author also throws light on the revolutionary technique of IMAGO Relationship Therapy, which can be used to help couples replace antagonism and criticism through a healing process of mutual growth and support. In a step-by-step manner, Dr Hendrix offers advice on communicating with sensitivity, letting go of self-limiting behaviour, and focusing on addressing your partner’s needs. Regardless of how long you have been in your relationship, this book can guide you to communicate more effectively, resolve conflicts and achieve mutual emotional satisfaction.

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