It is said that 'love is a many-splendoured thing', but it's not as easy as it looks. More and more research has been done into how love works and why some relationships end while others thrive. This article rates the ten best relationship books, covering topics like the 5 love languages, attachment theory and much more.
From bestselling relationship guides for couples to modern break-up bibles, we've selected ten must-read books on the tricky art of finding and keeping love. We've found titles by authors like Alain de Botton, Michael Todd and Chidera Eggerue from your favourite shopping sites; Amazon and eBay.
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Table of Contents
Picking the right book will depend on your own personal needs. Are you heartbroken in need of hope or sick of aimless dating? Does your marriage need a boost or are you baffled as to why you're still single? In this guide we'll explore the different types of books on love and their relative benefits.
First think about the general area of love and relationships you want to focus on. Are you recovering from heartbreak, trying to strengthen your marriage, or reflecting on past affairs and wondering what went wrong? This section helps you identify what you really need from your new book.
If you are looking for love right now, then a book which covers dating might be just what you need. There are plenty of books on our list which explore the intricacies of dating, from scrolling through online apps to meeting someone for the first time.
Books which talk about the potential pitfalls and red flags when seeking a life partner are an excellent choice for anyone trying to pinpoint what they do and don't want in love.
Among our picks you'll also spy books which contain chapters on sex, desire and physical intimacy, which can be relevant whether at the beginning of a new relationship or after 15 years of marriage.
Check the spec table to see if a book we've recommended contains chapters on sex if you want to re-ignite once-flaming passions or find a healthier, happier approach to sex than the one we're often bombarded with in the media and online.
Many of our books are full of wisdom that can be applied to your marriage. Skim through our top ten to see which books dissect the difficulties of wedded bliss.
These books often look at new communication techniques, simple behavioural changes that can improve long-term relationships, and much more.
Perhaps you've dated, been in love and even got married, but now you're heartbroken and in need of a glimmer of hope. In our top ten ranking you'll spy one or two editions which focus specifically on moving on from heartache.
These books are great for re-building your self-confidence, unpicking why we cling to 'failed' relationships and understanding how to let go of past pain and move forward with optimism. In the meantime: Alexa, play 'Since You've Been Gone'!
As well as the particular moment you're at in your quest to find or keep love, it might also be useful to learn about specific areas of love psychology, which could help you understand why we make the mistakes we do, often multiples times. Browse the subjects covered in our books to see which fits.
Secure partners believe they deserve love and are happy to reassure others. Anxious partners have a sixth sense for abandonment and betrayal. Avoidants are so fearful of heartbreak they refuse to get close. If any of these patterns sound like you, then a book on attachment theory could be just up your street.
Many of the books on our list touch on the topic of attachment which stems back to childhood. Reading a book on the subject could clarify why you repeatedly feel similar disturbances in different relationships and how you can learn to work with your natural tendencies, rather than against them.
How do you understand love? Is it through words, gifts, touch, time, or acts of service? Working out the ways you communicate love and your favourite modes of receiving it can do wonders for a relationship, be it brand new or a decade young!
Check the tables for books on love languages if you want to understand what your partner needs and realise why certain forms of expression mean more to one of you than to the other.
Do you find yourself in relationships with addicts, troubled souls or people who need 'fixing'? It could be that you're co-dependent. The caregiver in these stormy relationships often feels as physically and mentally ravaged as the addict themselves.
Co-dependency is the theory that we attract these damaged types instinctively to take the focus off our own need for self-work and self-reflection.
If any of this sounds familiar, consider a book looking at co-dependency. You will find examples from couples all over the world, chapters on the childhood roots of this behaviour and ideas on making a life-long commitment to your own needs over the struggles of others.
As well as looking at behavioural patterns in relationships, some books on our list consider how we feel about ourselves. If this is an area of interest for you, see if the book you like the look of has any chapters on self-acceptance, self-esteem or similar.
The pop star and drag queen RuPaul is famous for asking; "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?" and we believe really liking yourself is a recipe for loving others healthily too. Get your hands on a book that focuses on confidence boosting and self-love if you want to approach romance from a secure foundation.
You'll see when you reach our top ten countdown that we've also pointed out which books contain activities and tasks, as we think this helps consolidate all your learnings and put them into action.
Some books have quizzes you can do with your partner, others have tables to fill out which help you analyse your relationship. Others still have separate workbooks you can buy which encourage journalling and reflection as you read.
An interactive book is always going to be more memorable than a straightforward read, so if retaining new information is tricky for you, a book with tasks may really enhance your experience.
Take a look at the formats your book can be bought in. Brand new books are often only available in a hardcover version, which are usually heavier. This can make you less enthusiastic to pick them up and adds extra weight to your backpack or handbag.
On the other hand, hardcovers are durable and will stay in good condition longer. They also make great gifts and look beautiful displayed as coffee table adornments once you've read them!
Try a paperback if you want something light and low-maintenance you can chuck in your bag or pass around to friends. Paperbacks do become scruffy more quickly, but if you like to bend the spines outward and don't need a book to look elegant long-term, they're generally the cheaper option.
Finally, have a look to see if the book you want is available as an audiobook or eBook.
Audiobooks are brilliant if you love to multi-task, and, with this specific genre in mind, they are particularly enjoyable if read by a charismatic and passionate author. They also allow you to absorb and process often-intense information even if the thought of reading tires you out.
eBooks may not reduce your screen time, but they do allow you to carry multiple copies all in one handy tablet. Great if there are several areas or titles you'd like to explore but you have limited storage space at home.
Click to purchase
School of Life
The Couple's Workbook: Homework to Help Love Last
A Comprehensive Workbook to Keep Love Strong
The Secret to Love that Lasts
The 5 Love Languages
Improve Intimacy by Understanding How Love Is Given and Received
Dr Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller M. A.
Attached: Are You Anxious, Avoidant or Secure?
This Guide to Attachment Theory Could Transform Your Love Life
Path to Love: Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Love You Need
Personal Development as a Basis for Love
Relationship Goals: How to Win at Dating, Marriage and Sex
A Modern, Spiritual Guide to Lasting Love
Co-Dependent No More
Understanding and Escaping the Co-Dependency Cycle
Mating in Captivity
Advice on Finding Passion in Secure, Long-Term Relationships
Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner's Brain Can Help You Diffuse Conflicts and Spark Intimacy
A No-Nonsense Guide to Creating Security and Trust
How to Get Over A Boy
A Self-Love Bible Encouraging Us to Strive Not Settle
Alain de Botton
The Course of Love
A Love Story With an Analytical Twist
We love this book because it is jam-packed with activities that can help make your relationship stronger. The School of Life is an organisation with the sole aim of providing the emotional education few of us receive as youngsters, and its approach to love is realistic and frank.
In this book you'll find a kind of honesty and openness about relationships that you might not even share with your friends; the language is straightforward and colloquial, quite different from typical relationship guides. You'll find pledges to sign with your partner, tables to fill out which allow analysis of your relationship, and quizzes to answer together for deeper understanding.
Understanding how you and your partner like to give and receive love unlocks immeasurable new ways in which you can communicate. Are you a gift-giver or do you perform acts of service? Is it words you need to hear or is time spent together what you crave in love? This book explains how we each feel love differently and why.
More than 11 million copies of this book have been sold around the world, and we can understand why. It de-mystifies the misunderstandings and confusion around love and clarifies the methods we can use to read our partner's love messaging and give them what they need.
This fascinating book has been blowing the minds of heartbroken lovers everywhere for the last ten years and has recently seen a re-release due to a sudden surge in popularity. It carefully explains the three main attachment styles and why they do and don't work in love.
You'll learn through quizzes and questions what your typical attachment style is, and why you may feel stifled or rejected more than others when it comes to love. Packed with tips for understanding the attachment-rooted behaviours in ourselves and others, this book could revolutionise the way you approach love or even your current partner.
Deepak Chopra is world-famous for his accessible approach to spirituality and this book looks specifically at self-love as a basis for solid relationships. It posits that bringing a spiritual element to our lives will make our day-to-day interactions more fulfilling and that coming to romance from a spiritual standpoint will enhance our experience overall.
This book is full of wisdom but also includes ideas for lists to make and questions to discuss with our spouse or partner in order to know ourselves and each other on a deeper level. The overall effect of this book is to release cares, anxiety and ego-driven decision making which can cut off the potential joys of love. The key lesson here is that by loving ourselves, we can better love others; it's a timeless keeper of a book!
Michael Todd found fame with his powerful online sermons, where he preaches Christian values through a very current framework. His book is upbeat, joyful and hopeful when it comes to dating, sex and marriage. Whether or not you're au fait with Bible verses or even in touch with your spiritual side, this guy's energy and optimism about love is infectious.
There are chapters exploring the author's personal experiences of love and heartbreak, ideas on family and the bonds that connect us, ways to keep marriages strong and much more. You might even want to splash out for the accompanying study guide which encourages readers to journal, reflect and pray on topics affecting them around love. A fun read no matter your religion.
This book explores the dynamics of partners who are drawn towards 'fixing' others, whether that's alcoholics, addicts, or anyone lost in a damaging cycle that spirals out into their loving relationships. Packed with real-life examples, this book is informative without being overwhelming.
Encouraging co-dependent readers to focus on their own development rather than devoting their life to dealing with the unhealthy behaviours of their partner, this book is freeing and empowering no matter your typical patterns in love. A unique perspective on why we love addicts.
Esther Perel is a master at the art of desire. She has worked with hundreds of couples to re-ignite passion even after years of marriage. This book explores the reasons why thrill naturally fades in long-term relationships and how we can preserve lust using simple changes.
Described as 'the monogomist's essential bedside read' this book promotes the joys of a playful approach, teaching its readers how to build their 'erotic intelligence' so that desire and fun become second nature, rather than a chore. Warmly written and packed with unique advice.
This book looks at the habits we can adopt in relationships and the small gestures and phrases we can employ to extinguish the early flames of conflict before they explode into wildfires. It encourages readers to see their partner as without fault (!) and coaches us through a brain transformation; from a 'warring' approach to a more understanding and loving one.
We think this is an ideal read for anyone who knows the love they share with a partner is worth investing in, but finds minor conflicts can develop and notices miscommunications causing bigger problems than they need to. A very quick read, packed with genuinely actionable tips!
We adore Chidera Eggerue and this book is another quick and inspiring read from her that we think you'll love. Looking at the reasons we stay in toxic, painful or mediocre relationships, Chidera explains why she believes the relationship with ourselves is paramount when looking for lasting love.
Speaking from personal experience, she encourages self-reflection and high-standard-setting; interweaving her own learnings about attachment theory and the five love languages. This book is aimed specifically at cis-het women so might not appeal to all readers, but we feel the lessons are applicable to people of any gender and sexuality suffering from heartache.
This book takes the form of a novel; examining an everyday relationship which blossoms from love into marriage. With his trademark frankness and realism, Alain de Botton examines each stage of this love story from a psychologist's standpoint, explaining why we behave the way we do.
At times painful and certainly a far cry from the fairytale many of us were raised on, this book looks at how we can patch up romance after a betrayal, why having less sex isn't a disaster and how parenting affects relationship dynamics. It's a little depressing at times, but reassures us that misshapen marriages are anything but unusual.
Books are a brilliant way to educate yourself and flex your mind-muscles – entirely screen-free! Below we've shared links to our favourite articles on educational books so you can fill your head and your shelves with knowledge, and get inspiration for your creative and professional projects, too.
Well, there you have it. Some of the most inspiring buys for your bookshelf which will help you better understand love, connection and romantic communication. We hope these books will deepen your relationship with yourself and thus prepare you for healthy, secure and magical relationships with others.
Author: Annie Hopkins
No. 1：School of Life｜The Couple's Workbook: Homework to Help Love Last
No. 2：The Secret to Love that Lasts｜The 5 Love Languages
No. 3：Dr Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller M. A.｜Attached: Are You Anxious, Avoidant or Secure?
No. 4：Deepak Chopra｜Path to Love: Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Love You Need
No. 5：Michael Todd｜Relationship Goals: How to Win at Dating, Marriage and Sex
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