Books That Have Changed My Marriage

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As a single, I read dozens of books on relationships. But I quickly discovered that there were two types of books on love and marriage:

  1. The books that told all the depressing divorce stories, brought up every negative aspect of the differences between men and women, and then invariably told you how to have a new relationship by Friday.
  2. The books that told the truth about our human sin and selfishness, but pointed to the Savior as the redeemer of relationships, the definition of agape love.

There was an astounding difference between the way the two kinds of books affected me. The first left me feeling hopeless and blaming anyone but myself for any relationship problems; the second left me feeling hopeful with ideas of how I could love better no matter how I was loved in return.

The books we read color the lenses through which we view our life and relationships. As such, we must choose our reading carefully. Especially when it comes to books about one of the most complicated, yet rewarding relationships on earth: the marriage relationship between a husband and a wife.

Here you’ll find a collection of some of our favorites books on relationships and marriage. A few old classics, some newer titles. All with timeless truths about trust and true love.

The books we read color the lenses through which we view our life and relationships. As such, we must choose our reading carefully. Especially when it comes to books about one of the most complicated, yet rewarding relationships on earth: the marriage relationship between a husband and a wife.

Our Favorite Books About Marriage

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn
(reviewed by Gretchen Louise)

In For Women Only, Shaunti gives women valuable insight into the men they love. Through a national survey, Shaunti asked men to explain how they thought and felt about all aspects of life, work, and relationships, and their answers provide the framework for the book. While the survey data may not be an exact representation of your husband’s thoughts and feelings on each topic, it is enough to give you real understanding about how very differently men in general tend to think about things than we do as women. Some of the facts may shock you, others simply confirm what you’ve already wondered or observed. But you’ll close the book feeling empowered with knowledge about how to better love, serve, and understand your man. (Disclosure: I received a free copy of the revised version of For Women Only in exchange for an honest review. Another book I’ve enjoyed that doesn’t have the statistical data, but goes into more practical detail on similar points is Becoming the Woman of His Dreams.)

Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney
(reviewed by Gretchen Louise)

Feminine Appeal is one of those books you want every wife, mom, and older teen girl to read. It’s beautiful, sincere, and life-changing. Filled with quotes from Elisabeth Elliot as well as many other classic authors, Feminine Appeal is the Let Me Be A Woman of this generation. (Read full review.)

Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace by Gary and Betsy Ricucci
(reviewed by Gretchen Louise)

This book is a gem. The Ricuccis show you the good, the holy, the Biblical why’s and how’s of loving each other.  They inspire you to change without making you feel like a failure.  They give you practical ideas without being so specific it doesn’t apply to your marriage. (Read full review.)

Marriage Wisdom for Women by Matthew and Lisa Jacobson
(reviewed by Gretchen Louise)

Reading Marriage Wisdom for Her is like having a chat over coffee with two mentors who are committed to speaking the truth. Matt and Lisa take turns giving practical, scriptural marriage advice. Matt gets straight to the point, giving wise counsel while helping a wife see the husband’s perspective. Lisa is genuine and personable, humbly admitting her own mistakes while gently sharing exhortations along with memorable anecdotes. Marriage Wisdom for Her is the kind of book you’ll want to share with all your girlfriends–but you’ll want to keep your own copy close at hand to re-read often.

Marriage Wisdom for Men by Matthew L. Jacobson
(reviewed by Gretchen Louise)

Marriage Wisdom for Him is hard-hitting man-to-man advice. Practical and down-to-earth, it’s just the kind of advice every husband needs to hear from time to time, packaged in a quick and easy to read format. Relatable and real. Makes an excellent wedding or anniversary gift.

The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason
(reviewed by Jeannie Pederson)

The Mystery of Marriage is not a practical book, not the kind of book that will change your marriage. More of a philosophical treatise, it may well change the way you look at marriage. Mason delves deep into the heart of marriage, exploring not “why does my spouse act this way”, but “what is love and how does it change us” and “how marriage reflects the Trinity.” I’m fairly certain C.S. Lewis would have loved this book, and with a forward by J.I. Packer, it’s no lightweight. Read this one slowly and take time to savor it. (Read the review of a similar book, The Meaning of Marriage.)

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
(reviewed by Natasha Metzler)

The premise of Gary Thomas’ books on marriage is this: “What if marriage was designed to make us holy more than to make us happy?” Thomas challenges readers to look at marriage in a different light. To view it not as a romantic or self-fulfilling industry, but rather, as a practical way to live out the Christian faith. (Read full review.)

Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas
(reviewed by Natasha Metzler)

In Christian societies today, there are many twisted views of womanhood and Thomas begins Sacred Influence by making two beautiful (and freeing!) statements: you have influence over your husband and you have the right to influence him. “Submission” does not equal “passive”.  Sacred Influence is full of gentle but firm responses to many of the issues that women face in marriage. It is Biblically sound and full of encouragement and grace. (Read full review.)

Love Life for Every Married Couple by Ed Wheat, Md. and Gloria Okes Perkins
(reviewed by Callie Mitchell)

Dr. Wheat began his career as a medical doctor.  Throughout the course of his practice, he learned that many of our physical ailments are related to the condition of the heart. A committed Christian, he then added a sex therapy and marriage counseling certification to his credentials, to address the full personhood of his patients.  My pastor and his wife worked through this book with us during our premarital counseling and I was awed by the beauty of marriage that Dr. Wheat presented. This isn’t a book focusing on roles or serving well to be loved well. Instead, Dr. Wheat’s edifying message is that God desires for us to have a marriage filled with romantic love, and He works this out through teaching us about His agape love. Bringing marriage passages into the full context of Scripture, it is a book of learning to truly love one another as individuals, as whole people, as God intended.

Our Favorite Books About Relationships

The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman
(reviewed by Shannon Coe)

The Birth Order Book gave me such insight into my husband and to why he was the way he was. Understanding him took away a large amount of temptation to “fix” him. He didn’t need me to fix him, he needed to me to love him. I credit this book with several turning points in our marriage, where my heart turned back to him in love and compassion. (Read more about birth order.)

How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich
(reviewed by Trina Holden)

I love studying personality styles, love languages, and the like. This is one more classification method that will blow your mind with how it informs and enlightens the trouble spots in one’s relationships. How We Love focuses on attachment styles—that is, the blueprint we receive at a young age that informs how we attach (love and interact) with people in our adult lives. The book (and attached workbook) thoroughly explore each attachment style, walk you through letting go of the lies and wounds that foster that style, and demonstrates how you can relearn to love in a healthy manner. It also gives tips for how to interact with each style if you’re the spouse! (Read full review.)

Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk
(reviewed by Trina Holden)

Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk is the best book I have read yet on healthy communication and loving the people around you even when it’s difficult. The book focuses on practical ways you can “keep your love turned on” toward the people you interact with, even if they aren’t meeting your needs, communicating well, or loving in return. (Read full review.)

What is one book that has changed your thinking about marriage or relationships?

Photo Credit: JenniMarie Photography


  1. Disappointed that Love & Respect was not on your list. I read it and it changed my attitude toward my husband and in turn has changed our relationship and marriage.

  2. I have read some of the books recommended above, but I would like to add the books by Elizabeth George, A Wife after God’s Own Heart and A Woman after God’s Own Heart. These books blessed me so much, and keeps going back to Scripture. Full of practical ideas of how to implement each topic, her advice always returns to PRAYER. These 2 books definitely changed my marriage for good.

  3. I’ve read several of the ones mentioned and would endorse them as well. My husband and I also found it fascinating to read and discuss “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” I don’t know if that’s one of the ones you put in the depressing/negative category. I think “For Women Only” sums up some of those same points nicely. Of course there are also some books that go into detail about sexual intimacy. Those can break the ice in talking about awkward topics, and our communication is definitely better thanks to reading marriage books together and discussing them.

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