5 Books About Relationships & Love To Read During A Rough Patch, According To Couples Therapists
Are you and your partner having trouble? I've got five book recommendations from couples therapists for relationships going through a rough patch. Whether your problems are big or small, one of these books might help you find your way back to happiness.
Romantic partnerships can take a lot of hard work to maintain. Sometimes, you might think it would be easier to just be single. And while that may be true for some couples — as it certainly was for me and my ex — others are truly at their happiest when they are together, rain or shine.
In all of this, please remember that the absence of physical abuse does not mean your relationship is a healthy one. It isn't your job to fix your partner, and it isn't your fault if they hurt you.
If you know your relationship is worth saving, or even if you just know that you want it to be, the books on the list below can help you find your way toward reconciliation and mutual respect, according to the couples therapists we spoke to for this article. Read them alone, or with your partner, and try to put the advice they have for you to good use.
Marissa Kent-White, LMFT recommends 'ACT with Love' by Russ Harris
"I'd highly recommend the book ACT with Love by Russ Harris. This book is based on the concepts of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), which is part of the new wave of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). Using mindfulness, compassion, and understanding, this books help couples deal with conflicts, past hurts, and personality differences by increasing intimacy, connection, by exploring their values and creating a commitment to change, while accepting the things that are perpetual issues in the relationship. It helps us recognize that all couples struggle and removes the idealistic, fairy tale ideas about love and intimacy in romantic relationships. The writing isn't clinical or overwhelming, but rather personal and easy to digest."
Marissa Kent-White is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Asheville, NC, where she runs a small private practice working with couples and families. She is a 2006 graduate of Northern Illinois University's MFT Master's program.
Danielle Massi, LMFT recommends 'Eight Dates: Essential Vonversations for a Lifetime of Love' by John and Julie Gottman
"My go-to book for couples going through a rough patch is Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by John and Julie Gottman. I firmly believe that love is a choice that you make every single day, and choosing love requires action which is exactly what this book provides. The Gottmans have decades of research backing up their recommendations, so you know that the advice they give is guaranteed to work. Eight Dates makes getting through a rough patch and falling back in love easier than ever!"
Danielle Massi, LMFT is a holistic psychotherapist and private practice owner in Philadelphia, PA. When she's not in the office, Danielle works as an adjunct professor at Penn State University's Brandywine campus teaching courses in the Human Development and Family Studies / Psychology department. Danielle has written for and been featured in the Huffington Post, and has been featured on major news outlets like CBS Philly and Fox29 Philly as an expert in her field.
Rachel Thomasian, LMFT recommends 'Fighting for Your Marriage' by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L. Blumberg; 'The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work' by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver, and 'The State of Affairs' by Esther Perel
"The book I recommend most often to couples I see who are going through a rough patch is Fighting For Your Marriage. It's a super practical guide with tips and tricks to making a relationship work. I also recommend The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. It's by the foremost experts on relationships and their work is amazing, all based on research. For couples who are struggling with infidelity, definitely The State of Affairs[, which] helps people understand cheating and monogamy in a very different, compassionate way."