“Don’t forget, it’s not his job to read your mind because he can’t do that.”
I first heard this during the pre marriage counseling sessions my husband and I attended, and they kind of changed my life.
If I’m being honest, that’s the way I expected my marriage to work. I would have a feeling or emotion, my husband who knows me better than anyone else would pick up on that feeling without words and swoop in to make everything better.
I know what you’re thinking. Um…duh Kirsten.
But that’s the way it works isn’t it? You start out in a relationship and think you’re doing well but then when you look back you realize we didn’t know a thing. And yet somehow you make it work.
You never stop learning how to be better. Relationships are always going somewhere, so we better make sure they’re going in the right direction.
And that’s what we’ve gotten from these books. We’ve been given tools and resources that have helped us continue to work on our marriage.
I know that you will gain an immense amount of wisdom from them so I highly recommend reading these with the one you love. Without further ado here are some great books to read with your spouse or significant other as you continue to pursue the heart of Jesus:
#1 Keep Your Love On
by Danny Silk
This is the book we read during our pre-marriage counseling and it was incredibly beneficial. It taught us how to take responsibility for our own thoughts and actions and how love is not something you flip on and off like a light switch. You always leave it on, regardless of what the other person is doing. It was a powerful foundation to base our new marriage on and helped prevent what would have been a lot of unreasonableness (mostly from me – I mean did you read my opening story?)
#2 The 5 Love Languages
by Gary Chapman
You’ve likely heard of this one. It’s a pretty popular book in Christian circles and in my opinion for good reason. It wasn’t a “life changing” book per se, but it was very helpful in some of the practical day-to-day parts of a relationship.
It teaches you how to express love in a way that is meaningful to your loved one and not necessarily in a way that is easiest for you to express it. It’s a great example of loving selflessly with the other person in mind.
For example, my strongest love languages are physical touch and quality time, while my husband’s are words of affirmation and acts of service. So while cuddling up on the couch with him recharges my soul, I’ve learned he is much more affirmed in his role as a loving husband when I actually speak those words over him. Powerful stuff.
by David Platt
The subtitle is “Taking back your faith from the American dream” which is a perfect summary of the book.
If you’re like me, you’ve always pushed back on that concept just a bit. You know that there is no part of the gospel that encourages us to pursue our own comfort and much of what I see as being the American dream is doing just that. Be ready for a good gut-punch in this read, and definitely have your highlighter ready, you’re going to need it.
#4 The Gospel-Centered Life
by Robert H. Thune & Will Walker
Few books have impacted my Christian walk as much as The Gospel-Centered Life has. I first read this book during what I call a “soaking” season. Meaning, I felt like a sponge who couldn’t take in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord fast enough. I wanted everything I could get my hands on. And this book opened my eyes to some basic truths of the gospel that I wasn’t understanding properly.
If there is one thing as Christians we should become quite comfortable with, it’s being told we are wrong (lovingly by a Father who wants the best for us). Or is that just me?
This book isn’t directly related to marriage or being a couple, but the principles are so sound that I believe it’s an important book to walk through.
This is a great book to walk through with a small group or a trusted mentor who will disciple you through it. If you’ve been looking for a new book for one of those purposes, give this one a try!
#5 The Complete Guide to Money
By Dave Ramsey
This is a very practical book suggestion, and one I often encourage newly weds to read together. While it’s less to do with the heart of God and his gospel, it’s extremely beneficial in helping you live in a way that glorifies him – being good stewards of the gifts he’s given you.
It’s about more than tackling your finances together, it’s about becoming a team who’s on the same page for everything in life. Finances are a big source of disagreement in marriages so to think you don’t need a bit of godly guidance in that area is foolish. Even if you have a sound path and plan for your financial endeavors, I encourage you to walk through this book together, complete the work book, and take the opportunity to openly discuss your goals. If you’re able, I’d suggest going through the entire Financial Peace University. You will not regret it.
Of all the books on this list, I think this is the one I read the fastest. And in case you were wondering, I am the nerd described in that book. Without a doubt. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, well you’ll just have to read the book to find out!
#6 You and Me Forever
by Francis Chan and Lisa Chan
This is the book I finished most recently, and probably not by coincidence it is my highest recommendation of the books on this list.
It was a powerful display of viewing your marriage “in light of eternity” as the subtitle of the book explains. It challenges you to put your marriage in the proper perspective and never place it above your relationship with God.
It challenged me to think about what my life would really look like if I lived on fire for the gospel. Because if I’m being really honest–does it? (I know for me the answer is often no).
Another really cool thing about this book; it’s FREE! Yes for real. If you want to actually buy the book you can, but the authors so badly want to communicate the importance of this message they’ve actually made it available as a PDF download for free on their website. So you really have no excuses to get started on it (and you should probably share it with at least one other married couple you know).
BONUS: #7 The Bible
I wasn’t going to end on a cheesy note where I tell you the most important book to read as a Christian couple is your Bible, but then I changed my mind because it’s not cheesy…it’s the truth.
I confess, my husband and I don’t do this often enough. But the times we schedule to sit down and read the word together (like actually read the words out loud) and ask questions of each other about how we interpret the text, and look up references and online resources together, and dig into the passage as husband and wife are truly extraordinary.
There is without a doubt no better way to grow in your relationship together than to both be headed in the same direction, toward Jesus.
So sit down, and read your Bibles together. Pick a book to walk through and read through it out loud verse by verse, chapter by chapter and see where God leads you.
What did I miss?
As I mentioned, I just finished You and Me Forever and I always have my eye out for other good books to read. So what did I miss? Do you have any suggestions for me that I didn’t list here? Please leave a comment with your favorite Christian marriage or relationship book(s) below!