Books, if you’ll excuse the saying, truly are the gifts that keep on giving. One thought, new idea or helpful insight can have us see our situation, our life, even our world, completely differently. From a new perspective comes the opportunity for change, creativity, forgiveness, peace, more compassion and more love.
With the winter settling in in Asheville, it’s time to cozy up by the fire and read a book. I thought I’d round up some of my favorite books for couples, all of which I read this year and found to be immensely helpful for my coupledom.
THE FOUR TENDENCIES
BY GRETCHEN RUBIN
Here’s how I explain this book to pretty much anyone in my life I’ve recommend this book to (which is pretty much most people I know): everyone in your life will finally make sense to you after you read The Four Tendencies. Through an incredible amount of data and research, Gretchen Rubin (also the author of The Happiness Projectand Better Than Before) separates people into four categories: Upholders (organized, reliable, able to keep internal and external agreements), Questioners (reliable, data-driven, and able to keep agreements when they make sense to them), Obligers (able to keep agreements with others, very reliable, but can have a hard time keeping agreements with themselves) and Rebels (have a deep dislike of internal and external obligations, rules and anything deemed confining).
You can take the quiz online here and get a quick/brief overview of your tendency, but I really suggest diving into the book or gifting it to pretty much any couple in your life. They will truly find it fascinating.
THE POWER OF MOMENTS
BY CHIP & DAN HEATH
Brothers and co-authors of Made to Stick and Switch, Chip and Dan Heath have hit the bestseller list with another gem, this time focusing on how we can understand why some experiences linger in our minds for years, even decades, and why other moments seem to drift into the deep annals of our mind, never to surface again. Turns out there is a science to why memories last and, more importantly, a strategy to crafting experiences that turn into lasting memories.
What The Power of Moments reveals is that we’re not very good at investing in our best moments, but that can change with some skill, awareness and practice. The authors invite us to become moment spotters, and learn to “think in moments, to spot the occasions that are worthy of our investment.” So, before you spend hundreds of dollars on those concert tickets or thousands on your next vacation, give this book a read to discover how to make those moments last forever.
WHAT ALICE FORGOT
BY LIANE MORIARTY
If you caught the HBO mini-series Big Little Liesthis year, than you’re familiar with Liane Moriarty and her ability to weave a page-turning (and show-binging) tale. What Alice Forgot tells the fictional story of Alice, who bumps her head and experiences a 10-year gap in her memory. Her last memory is of being twenty-nine year’s old, head over heals in love with her husband and pregnant with her first child. In reality, she is 39, facing divorce, the mother of three kids and the center of a frazzled and unhappy life.
Having lost ten years of memories, Alice must slowly piece together how on earth she got to where she is and why her life and relationships are in such shambles. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over. A friend of mine calls this book “the best marriage therapy she’s ever had.”
COME AS YOUR ARE
BY EMILY NAGOSKI
Anyone who has ever read my Huffington Post article on scheduled sex will know that intimacy after 13 years of marriage isn’t something that happens easily for me. But rather than feel ashamed or broken, I’ve opted to be really compassionate and curious, which is what led me to read Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life. Through her experience as a counselor and sex researcher, author Emily Nagoski helps readers understand that there is so much more at play than just hormones and attraction as it relates to sex for long-term monogamous couples. Give this book to your spouse and make a plan to both read it. The result will be a much greater understanding of what makes you both tick and how that impacts what happens in and out of the sheets. At the very least, you’ll have a newfound understanding of what’s normal, because according to the author, we all are.
We’d love to hear from you? What are your favorite books for couples? Leave a comment below to share your recommendations.