Sometimes couples want to try self-help before going to see a counselor. I get that. These are recommendations of books that I have read, trust, and use daily as a therapist—and some as a wife 😉
I have recommendations for communication skills, affair recovery and talking about divorce with your kids. (For those going through a rough heartbreak I also have song recommendations.)
Self Help Books to help you fix your relationship:
Affair Recovery–I think that it is challenging for a couple to recover from an affair without professional help. Each partner can get stuck in a phase, that without guidance will doom the relationship. But if you are taking the self help approach these are the books to read together as a couple:
The Danger of Lack of Physical Intimacy In a Marriage! It’s hard on any relationship when one person is feeling rejected sexually all the time. It isn’t really even about the sex; it is about the loss of the unique special connection with a couple. It helps to make a person feel loved, special, unique, connected appreciated by their partner. Especially men. Lack of sexual intimacy makes any relationship extremely vulnerable to an affair. Not your spouse? Don’t fool yourself. Don’t take advantage that your spouse is a person who would never cheat. When you take anything for granted it goes away. If this is a problem in your marriage FIX IT! (Remember, I specialize in affair recovery.) Michele Weiner Davis, MSW is the expert in getting couples back on track in the bedroom. She has two books that I recommend:
Talk to your kids about your divorce:
This is a cute story about a Mommy & Daddy that just couldn’t live together any more and the child that moves between them. A simple but important message to the children, “It’s not your fault.”
This is by far the best book on how to tell your kids about your divorce:
Recommended Books for Couples or Individuals that want to better their relationship and communication skills:
Dr. John Gottman is the leading researcher on relationships. He uses empirically based methods to figure out what makes couples work or fail.
Dr. Hendrix is the founder of Imago Therapy. The idea is that we all leave childhood with unmet needs that then we unconsciously expect our spouse to fulfill those needs. This is for couples who want to have a much deeper level of communication.
Dr. Sue Johnson is the founder of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. It helps couples learn how to respond to each others emotional needs.
All of Dr. Lerner’s books are good at helping understand the “why” behind different relationship dynamics. The Pursuer-Distancer dynamic is discussed. PS If you are on this website chances are you are the Pursuer!
The theory behind Dr. Chapman’s book is that people have different ways (Love Languages) that they feel loved by their partner. I call it “work smarter, not harder.”