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Top 10 Self Help Books for Couples

There are so many books out there for couples needing help with their relationship, so how do you help couples find the book that is right for them? One of my favourite exercises is to put together an amazon/Indigo booklist of a wide range of books related to couples/marriage therapy and ask the couple to each go through it and pick the top two books they find most salient to the situation they find themselves in and these four books become their reading list. I ask the couple to buy two copies of the first book and to read it chapter by chapter and to have a discussion at the end of each chapter. I encourage keeping a journal that is just for the reading of these books and the discussions at the end of the chapters. The following are a few of the best known couples therapy books to start you off. Please feel free to look over the Recommended couples therapy book list that I created on Amazon.  I use this list as the basis of a personalized list that I create for each couple that I give this exercise to. The book descriptions below were taken from   Take care, Andrew Sofin, CAMFT President

Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson

In this book for couples, Canadian attachment therapy pioneer, and CAMFT member, Dr. Sue Johnson presents Emotionally Focused Therapy to the general public for the first time. Johnson promotes and teaches couples how to re-establish a safe emotional connection and preserve the attachment bond, a critical feature of EFT. She focuses on key moments in a relationship—from “Recognizing the Demon Dialogue” to “Revisiting a Rocky Moment”—and uses them as touch points for “seven healing conversations." This highly acclaimed resource teaches couples how to nurture their relationships through case studies, advice and practical exercises.

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman

This resource for couples is based on the idea that partners’ challenges often come about because they speak different “love languages, or choose distinct ways to express love that can be misunderstood and lead to significant relationship difficulties." Chapman describes “quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch” as the five basic love languages and guides couples towards a better understanding of their unique languages of love. This book promises to teach couples to speak and understand each other’s love language, to express and feel love, and learn skillful communication.

Divorce Busting: A Step-by-Step Approach to Making Your Marriage Loving Again by Michele Weiner-Davis

In this foundational self-help book Michele Weiner-Davis offers down-to-earth, effective advice to couples who are working together and to individuals attempting unilaterally to save a troubled marriage. Weiner-Davis has a uniquely optimistic, pragmatic and accessible way of addressing couple interactions that invites couples to shift their relationship in a positive direction, step-by-step, without necessitating drawn out explorations of hurts and unresolved issues from the past.

Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix

Divided into three sections, this book covers "The Unconscious Marriage," which details a marriage in which the remaining desires and behavior of childhood interfere with the current relationship; "The Conscious Marriage," which shows a marriage that fulfils those childhood needs in a positive manner. This book features a 10-week "course” in relationship therapy, and provides exercises for couples to change their interactional patterns. This book is praised for offering valuable information, interesting case studies and helpful exercises.

Rekindling Desire: A Step-by-Step Program to Help Low-Sex and No-Sex Marriages by Barry McCarthy & Emily McCarthy

This resource is a comprehensive, thoughtful, un-gimmicky guide and roadmap to the many, low and no sex couples who are seeking to change their relationship. The discussions and cases included in this book have depth, and readers struggling with the problem of a low sex relationship will find themselves reflected in its pages. A major strength of this book is the inclusion of concrete suggestions to couples for rethinking, reframing, and constructively talking to each other about this important, joint problem. This book also challenges long-held myths that can sabotage a couple’s chance to reconnect sexually.

Getting Past the Affair: A Program to Help You Cope, Heal, and Move On -- Together or Apart by Donald Baucom & Kirstina Coop Gordon

Discovering that a partner has been unfaithful can be devastating for an individual and a relationship. Whether couples want to end the relationship or piece things back together, Getting Past the Affair offers guidance through the initial trauma so that couples can understand what happened and why before deciding how to move forward. This compassionate book offers support and sound advice from a team of award-winning couple therapists and includes realistic tips for rebuilding relationships and restoring trust.

Fighting for Your Marriage: Positive Steps for Preventing Divorce and Preserving a Lasting Love by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, Susan L. Blumberg

This book is focussed on divorce prevention through encouraging couples to adopt good listening and communication skills and developing ways to manage conflict effectively. The book offers hope to couples stuck in unhelpful ways of communicating and illuminates patterns of interactions that are predictive of divorce and how to address these, as well as advice about how to avoid problematic communication and successfully deal with conflict.

Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive In Committed Relationships by David Schnarch

This pioneering book explores the ways couples can keep passion alive and reach high levels of sexual and emotional fulfillment later in life. Acclaimed psychologist David Schnarch guides couples toward greater intimacy with techniques developed in his clinical practice and worldwide workshops. This resource offers tools for increasing connectedness and for keeping sexual sparks alive and offers techniques for overcoming sexual and emotional problems. This book has helped many couples invigorate their relationships and reach the fullest potential in their love lives.

Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman and Nan Silver

In Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Gottman and Silver shatter common myths about divorce and share what is important to have a happy marriage, information based on Gottman’s years of research. This book provides helpful information, danger signs to look for and address in couple relationships and offers an important wake up call to couples wanting sound and tested advice as well as guidelines for communication and behaviour.

The Good Divorce: Keeping Your Family Together When Your Marriage Comes Apart by Constance Ahrons

In this groundbreaking book, internationally acclaimed family therapist Constance Ahrons defines “the good divorce” and shows how couples can achieve one. This book challenges the notion that divorce inevitably turns adults into bitter enemies, results in damaged children and broken homes. Dr. Ahrons focuses on what divorcing couples can learn from those families that maintain family bonds and continue to meet the needs of their children. This is a hopeful, practical book that is neither pro-divorce nor anti-marriage that underscores the need for society, professionals and families to: remove the stigma of divorce, redefine the divorced family as “binuclear”, help parents and children to establish new roles, rules and rituals to support the new family structure, and learn parenting strategies that facilitate rather than hinder healthy development. 

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