Couples tend to spend months preparing for their wedding day but wait until after they say "I do" to think about a game plan for the marriage. While caught up in the excitement of planning such an affair it's easy to forget to address real issues, which in turn leads the realities of marriage to come as quite the shocker. Marriage is great, but it requires work. In between cake testing, ordering flowers online and dress shopping, flip through a few of these books to prepare for your marriage, too.
The 5 Love Languages
If you only read one book from this list, read this one. After years of counseling troubled couples, Dr. Gary Chapman (pictured) saw a pattern in relationships where both parties were trying but neither were feeling completely loved. He discovered that the main reason is because everyone has a primary way they express and receive love, and it is often different from and unknown to their spouse. In this book, Chapman describes what he has labeled as the five love languages—words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch—and helps couples realize how to better speak each other's language. It's a simple concept that can have immediate and lasting results, and lead both partners to feel more fulfilled in the relationship.
The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
There's a lot you might want to skip through in this book, but enough gold nuggets here and there make it worth the read. Through his discussions, author M. Scott Peck aims to debunk the myth of romantic love. Instead of encouraging the idea that love is a feeling, Peck affirms that love is a decision and an action (which leads to all those happy feelings). He touches on delaying gratification, responsibility and individual growth. Though a bit heavy at times, Peck's book can help couples learn to set realistic expectations and distinguish dependency from love.
1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married
A fun and interactive read, this book by relationship expert Monica Mendez Leahy will help you and your significant other dig deeper and discuss hypothetical situations that will inevitably come up in the future. Ranging questions from "is there such a thing as innocent flirting?" to "is it OK to cheat on your taxes?" the book includes many fun formats with multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank worksheets. You may have discussed many of the topics already, but chances are you'll find quite a few you hadn't considered.
Photos: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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