Whoever said ‘marriage is not a bed of roses’ was very accurate because in marriage, we get to see the beautiful and ugly side of each other. Most married couples have personality differences which play a greater part of what a particular marriage will be like. In fact, one thing that both religious and non-religious people easily agree on is this topic is that no married couples are completely compatible.
Those who learn to accept and adapt to their differences are usually successful while those who don’t, tend to become miserable and may even seek for a way out. If you are looking for non-religious marriage books that can help you master your relationship, one that I have found really helpful is How to Improve your Marriage Without Talking About. It’s around $13.15 only on Amazon and is authored by Patricia Love and Steven Stosney.
Like any other couple, Patricia and Steve have learnt to live in harmony. The did not come into marriage knowing the dos and don’ts because they too had to go through really rough patches to reach there.
As in, in marriage, individuals need to learn what works for them and what doesn’t which always doesn’t come easy as one would think. It takes one or both of the partners efforts, time, compromise, understanding and love to grow a marriage.
If you are on that rough phase of your marriage at the moment, take heart because you will get through. Just so you know marriage is not for the faint hearted. So, brace up as there are experts who have dedicated their time, effort and expertise into writing books that will help you when your marriage is not sailing merrily.
Therefore, if your marriage is almost hitting the rocks because of one issue or another, a little inspiration for you and your partner may be the help you are looking for.
The Top 5 Non-religious Marriage Books
#1. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.
This book is written by John Gottman, an expert psychological researcher who has done extensive research on divorce prediction and marital stability. Some of the principals he shares here coincide with one research article that appears inThe Journal of Marriage and Family. With a writer like this, you need to be all ears because you are in for some new discoveries…
The Seven Principle for Making Marriage Work is a practical guide book to help spouses understand aspects that will improve their marriage. The principles listed by the book are based on extensive scientific research on the habits of married couples. This book literally combines science and romance in its content and you can be assured that what you will be following has been tried and tested.
Moreover, this book provides mini-tests and exercises that you and your significant other can work on to better internalize the lessons that you have picked up through your reading. When reading and exercises come together, you definitely know that you will not snooze off.
A little sneak peek on the principles; the first principle is to ‘enhance your love maps’. Here, Gottman leads you on a path of discovering who your spouse is as a person. Of course you know what his favorite sport or her favorite color is but do you really take part in your partner’s interest?
Do you know what his/her hopes and aspirations are? Not really, right? We are all guilty on this and we can blame it on our busy schedules and anything along those lines but the book explains why it is crucial.
Therefore, by learning how to enhance you and your partner’s love maps, you will not only understand him/her better but also rekindle romance in your marriage. This is just a whiff of what to expect in the 271-page practical book, so get your copy and learn about all the principles to make your marriage work!
#2. Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last
This is another book in the non-religious marriage books collections by Dr. Gottman to help spouses keep their marriage going indefinitely. It is a breakthrough guide book which spells out reasons that make marriages succeed or fail. Think of it as a book with all the secret ingredients that you can use to season your marriage.
In marriage, individuals have to start thinking as “we” and not “me” since everything you do affects your partner both directly and indirectly. This becomes a source of great stress as you will rub shoulders from time to time before reaching a common ground. Navigating through this rough patch could be daunting if you have no idea on how to carry yourself. Therefore, you shouldn’t do all the heavy lifting because this book offers you all the support that you need.
Dr. Gottman in his book gives you a glimpse of what your strengths and weaknesses are. A concept that is also supported in one study article in the Journal List HHS Public Access. With this knowledge you will be able to understand your differences and how to go around them. In fact, you get to learn on specific actions that you and your partner will need to incorporate in your marriage to make things work.
The Golden tips this Marriage Book helps you grasp include;
- More sex does not make a happy marriage
- Frequent arguing doesn’t mean divorce is on the way
- Financial issues should not always bring trouble to the relationship
- Reasons why husbands tend to withdraw during arguments
- Detrimental effects of negative attitudes (such as criticism) in a marriage
After getting these wise doses, Dr. Gottman still needs you to put them into practice thus the book comes with practical exercises and quizzes to help you make the most out of this book. So if you want to evade the pitfalls of a failing marriage and learn the right attitudes to keep your marriage going, here’s the book for you.
#3. His Needs Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage
The author of this book is Willard F. Jr. Harley, a best-selling author who has a number of books under his name. He is a clinical psychologist and a marriage counselor which means he has vast experience in his field.
His Needs Her Needs is a timely book in these times when affairs are wreaking havoc in marriages. Though originally published in 1986, this book gives spouses an insight to their partner’s deepest needs. With the help from this classic best seller, you will learn ten vital needs; five unique to men and five unique to women to help you understand on how best to meet them.
Willard’s hope for this book was to provide guidance on how to keep partners attracted to each other throughout their marriage because with attraction still intact, partners will not be distracted by affairs. In fact, you can learn on how to remain irresistible to your partner and grow your love after reading this author’s work.
The beauty about this book is that it is thought provoking and can be a conversation starter for couples who are still getting to understand each other. Through vivid examples that Willard provides, readers will be able to recognize where their greatest efforts will be required in terms of fulfilling their spouse’s needs.
Since this book was written in the 80’s, some readers found it portraying traditional views that may not be concurrent with today’s relationships. Women readers in particular found it to be one-sided thus the book to them did not do justice to Her Needs. A research on women needs appears in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology.
That said, other readers still find this book relevant and a good read for couples who want to spice up their relationship. So if you need some old but golden advice to understand your spouse’s emotional needs, then you may want to grab a copy.
#4. How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It
Men communicate their vulnerabilities differently from women. While women are good at talking about issues affecting their relationship men tend to become silent as a coping mechanism. Following this difference, couples often find themselves in conflicts that they can do little about.
In light of this, Dr. Patricia Love and Dr. Steven Stosny joined their forces and intellect to create a guide book that helps solve this mystery. This book addresses problem solving without having to talk about them. So if your hubby complains of nagging or your wife complains that you ignore her, then this book will provide you with all the insights that you require.
According to this book, love is not all about better communication but more of how we connect to each other as a couple. The logic behind this book therefore, defies what we have been taught all along. It is eye opening to learn that male emotion like women’s sexuality is sensitive topic that needs a bit of learning in order to grasp.
Like women, men also want their marriage to be intimate as per these writers. However, men broach the topic quite differently. This guide book helps women understand that talking does not bring men closer but instead repels them. This book does not leave this stunning discovery there as it touches on ways to connect to men. So, touch, routines, activities and sex are more like it.
For men, women’s vulnerability requires you to bring her closer. Unlike you, your woman complains so that you can assure her. Her complaining may not be a way to shame you but her way of expressing her frustrations and thanks to this book it will help you learn all about that.
So, if you need to understand the reason behind your husband’s stone walling or your wife’s nagging, then the answer is here…
#5. What No One Tells the Bride
Lastly, on this list of non-religious marriage books, we have a book that captures the perspective of the woman only, more specifically, the bride. It is a book by Marg Stark, a writer, an author, a wife and mother who together with other fifty women tell the bride on the intricacies of being newly married.
The comical cover tells you that you are in for a fun read. It is recommended as a must read for every bride by John Gray, the famous author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.
Stark and friends through this book help the new bride learn about the transitions she will undergo from singlehood to being married. As a new bride, you will also find out on how to cope through these life altering changes as they can take a toll.
Topics that were skilfully picked by this author revolve around life after the wedding, having second thoughts about the wedding, sex after the honeymoon, conflicts about money and in-laws, maintaining your identity and feeling happy above as well as other savory details that no one tells you about.
If your wedding is just around the corner or you are already experiencing wedding blues, this book covers extensive advice you may need. Contributors of this work have at one point experienced the disappointment, self-doubt, conflicts and other issues of being a new bride so you should be relieved to know that you are not alone. This book is inline with one scientific research report on reasons for divorce, which appears in the journal Couple and Family Psychology.
So, instead of wallowing in self-doubt as you transition or nag your friends about your partner, read the advice this book provides. It is a fast paced read and you will find yourself agreeing with what your fellow brides went through. And fortunately, you will know how to handle yourself better as you start on this challenging yet exciting journey called marriage.
It is quite common to hear men complain that their wives are nagging them which could be true based on how the writers theorize that communication is not always the answer to a couple’s feud. In fact, they suggest that connection is more superior to communication which challenges the mantra we have been fed on for a very long time. Understanding why men go silent during turmoil helps women not to bombard them with complaints that to men is the so called “nagging”. Getting to know how to reach out to him I’ve learnt is even more beneficial than getting my points across.
Additionally, I think this book does a good job at incorporating couple stories. These couples according to the authors were able to turn their marriage around and embark on actions that built their relationship further.
This book also had lots of customer reviews with most readers claiming that it was better and cheaper than marriage counselling. Women readers found it to be insightful especially on understanding their husband’s behaviors when dealing with vulnerabilities. Men reviewers also appreciated the two perspectives found in this book. Overall, this is a good read and if your marriage is facing communication issues, this book could be much needed.
There were also a few negative reviews as well. Individuals who rated this book with few starts mentioned that it did not address some of their communication issues.
That was my take on these books but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out the others. Every couple has unique needs and based on mine I gravitated towards my first choice. That goes to show that you should also assess what your needs are and pick out a book.
How Do you Make the Most out of these Non-Religious Marriage Books?
- Read with the intention of grasping the key points. Don’t just read like you would a comic book. Take notes if you can or just mark the key points for easy reading.
- Be open-minded when reading. We all have our prejudices as individuals and it is quite normal. However, it is healthy to at times set them aside in order to take in new knowledge. If you don’t agree with the author on some aspects it is totally okay but at least you may have learned about a different view point.
- Pull in your spouse. By reading these books, you must be looking to improve your marriage, therefore, don’t read alone instead engage your partner. If your partner does not want to read the whole book just share the key points.
- Do the practical exercises. Some of the books come with practical exercises. Try them out not only for learning purposes but also as a fun activity.
Having reached the end of our non-religious marriage books review, it is time for me to give you my best book among the five books. First off, all the books reviewed here are awesome reads that can help you figure out ways on making your marriage worthwhile. However, I have to pick only one.
Drum rolls…the book I would pick as my first choice is How to Improve your Marriage Without Talking About It by Patricia Love and Steven Stosney and the reason is quite simple. This book has two authors who are from both gender and to me that tones down on the stereotypes that may surface when only one author writes. Although most of these books have been based on scientific research, we can never undermine the writer’s bias that may surface however subtle. For instance, most women readers found His Needs, Her Needs to be kind of one-sided and maybe if it was co-authored by a woman, a balance would have been struck.
Going back to my number one book, I also find the fact that it touches on how to communicate both men’s and women’s vulnerabilities quite refreshing. For me, understanding that conflicts in marriage are due to biological differences was eye opening. It therefore means that once we uncover these differences, we can live in harmony as we grow in our marriages.