Come As You Are

If you only buy one book from this list, buy this one. Read it. Reread it. Then go back and highlight the entire book. Then give it to a man in your life. Then prepare yourself to say, “You’re welcome” to all the women in his life who will thank you.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

At first glance, this could easily be mistaken as a simple book for children. And it is. But we were all children at one point in our lives. And when read through the lens of an adult, being in a relationship with another adult, this book provides a different perspective. One not only of nurturing but also of expectations and the roles we each play in our relationships.

The Happiness Advantage

The big takeaway from this book is that not only is there an advantage in being happy, but it’s also been proven. And while the title mentions “success” and “work” – you can take comfort in the knowledge that all successful relationships take work.

The Inner Game of Tennis

For me, the simplicity and effectiveness of this book lies in how the author returns to the principle of how you see yourself. While imagining yourself on the court is one thing, it’s another thing altogether when you see yourself not only through someone else’s eyes (the tennis pro) and how your perspective of yourself changes.

On Living

Not an easy read, to be honest. But if you’re the type of person that can only see what something really is when someone tells you what it really isn’t this may be the book for you. Chances are that even if you read this book and you don’t see much benefit for yourself, you probably know someone that would. When you’re done reading it, give it to them.

How Attachment Styles Work

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It Didn't Start with You

This particular book is for the person that is more aware of their past and where they are in their own journey to improving their future. I don’t recommend this book if you are new to the headspace of investigating one’s own past. However, I will say that this book is helpful if you’re looking to understand how a clearer look into your past can help you forge a better path for your future.

The Body Keeps the Score

Almost everything about this book has already been said. My opinion isn’t very different from the numerous platitudes it’s already been given. But it may not be the best first choice if your past is not-so-far behind you.

Mating in Captivity

Read this in secret and then surprise your partner with your genius insight into why things aren’t working. No, don’t. But everything Perel’s book offers is essentially a spotlight of emotional interrogation where she asks you questions you don’t have answers to… and may be afraid to find out. This may be the best book on the list to read in bed together. Or maybe the mouse one.

The 5 Love Languages

Easily one of the best ways to understand where each of you is in your relationship. No one will fit into just one language, and no one should. But relationships are a bit like potluck dinners: you really don’t know what the other person is gonna bring. This book helps each side understand who ordered pizza and who’s bringing dessert.

How Proust Can Change Your Life

Admittedly, this book is sometimes more farce than fact. And it may not the best book recommendation if your relationship needs a tune up. But it may be the best book you read going into your next one.

Attached

Of the books on this list, this one is where I recommend most people start if they are just beginning their journey of understanding Attachment Theory. There’s science here to be sure but there’s also a fair amount of deduction in this space – especially when it comes the ‘nature versus nurture’ opinion. However, this book presents compelling arguments for the impact of our earliest relationships and how we instinctively react throughout our lives as a result.