There are many resources available to couples to reinforce relationship strength and focus. Below is the list of books most often recommended to couples at Keystone Counseling for relationship therapy on the go. Check them out and see what happens in your own relationship. (Just ignore your partner’s side eye when you break out the weird questions.)
The Hard Questions: 100 Questions to Ask Before You Say “I Do”
by Susan Piver
This book leads couples to discuss key topics often overlooked due to the consuming task of planning a wedding. The book arranges the questions in categories such as home, money, work, sex, community, family, and friends. It challenges couples to work through assumptions they have regarding each other’s views while helping each individual explore their own meaning attached to the various topics.
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
by John Gottman
Don’t let the word marriage scare you. This is a basic must have for anyone in a relationship. Written by relationship expert John Gottman, it is a great summary of his work that very simply outlines what makes and breaks a healthy relationship. He uses everyday language to explain his findings on how to build and sustain a healthy relationship. He incorporates quizzes couples can complete together to explore their levels of appreciation, positive perspective, friendship, etc. This allows couples to focus on what research has proven is truly beneficial to a relationship rather than spending time on pop-culture philosophies and relationship fads.
by McFarlane and Saywell
The If . . . books are easy for couples to keep in the car for traveling or to bring along on dinner dates. Each book in the series offers hundreds of questions ranging from practical to crazy and ethical to hilarious, each beginning with the word “If”.
Couples often complain they have run out of subjects to discuss with their partners or are worried they are becoming a boring couple when they sit in silence over meals. This book allows them to explore one another’s minds and rediscover their partner in a fun, easy manner.
Always offer the rule each person has the right to veto a subject or question if they feel too uncomfortable to answer it at the current time. The goal is to create positive conversational experiences, so use discretion in order to avoid arguments or point out each others’ weaknesses. Keep it friendly people.
And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives
by John Gottman
New parents, this is a must read. Couples often get wrapped up in preparing for the baby, and while the transition is a welcome one, they forget about the toll it will take on their relationship. The book leads couples to discuss the possible pitfalls of parenthood and how to guard their intimacy as they move into being a new parenting team.