One simple way to improve your marriage is to read good books (or listen to good audiobooks) on the subject. People often ask me to list my favorite marriage books, so I thought I'd put a few of my favorites below. Each of these has been a source of great encouragement in my marriage and I believe they could be a source of great encouragement in yours too.
(In no particular order):
1. The Bible (Seriously, it's an amazing marriage manual)
As a Christian, I believe God is the inventor of love and marriage, so it makes sense that the Bible would be a valuable source for marriage help. It's been, by far, the most life-changing and marriage-building book I've read.
2. "The Meaning of Marriage" by Timothy Keller
I'm in the process of reading this book right now, and it's one of the most profound and practical examinations of marriage I've ever encountered. I'd highly recommend it.
3. "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman
This book has been camped out on the New York Times bestseller list for what seems like a full century. Its simple approach to helping identify your and your spouse unique "Love Language" has been a game-changer in many marriages and could help YOU and your spouse relate to one another more effectively.
4. "The Love Dare" by Alex Kendrick
This 40-day exercise can be completed even in those situations where your spouse isn't on board. I've heard many people credit this book with saving their marriages. Very practical and very profound.
5. "For Couples Only " by Shaunti Feldhahn
Shaunti is a good friend and she's also a brilliant researcher and author. Her insights could help you see your marriage in a whole new light. I'd recommend any of her books.
6. "Beyond Ordinary" by Justin and Trisha Davis
In this autobiography, Justin and Trisha share their epic journey through infidelity, heartbreak, forgiveness and redemption. I know them personally and their testimony has given hope to countless couples.
7. "Love and Respect" by Emmerson Eggerichs
This book will make a light bulb flash on over your head as you realize the primary needs and differences between a husband and a wife. A woman's need for "love" and a man's need for "respect" is the central theme, but the explanations and examples in this book will undoubtedly help you see marriage in a new light.
8. "Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas
This classic book examines the Biblical themes of marriage and makes the countercultural claim that marriage exists not for our "happiness" but for our "holiness." Ironically, as we embrace the selflessness required to be a good spouse, we almost always end up finding happiness along the way.
9. "The Argument-Free Marriage" by Fawn Weaver
This new book by the founder of the "Happy Wives Club" is full of wit and wisdom plus practical examples of how to have meaningful discussions instead of arguments with your spouse. The book lays out a simple plan to improve communication and remove unhealthy conflicts from your marriage.
10. "Wife After God" by Jennifer Smith
Also known as "The Unveiled Wife," Jennifer Smith shares some beautiful wisdom, transparency about her own struggles and helpful tools to encourage a stronger, healthier marriage.
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.