We were formally taught History, Math, and English.
But when it comes to love and relationship, our understanding comes from what we gleaned from our families – both through observation and the patterns that were passed down to us – and what we’ve pieced together through our personal experiences.
For most of us this means: we still have a lot to learn!
Luckily there are many people who have dedicated their lives to studying and writing about relationship so it’s not too late – no matter your age or relationship status – to learn more so you can have greater fulfillment in your relationships. Information is power!
Here are a list of books I frequently recommend to my coaching clients and friends that people testify as being relationship game changers. I hope they will be for you too.
I think learning about attachment theory is the #1 most useful thing you can do to open your eyes to what’s really going on in relationship dynamics (both if you’re single, in a committed relationship, or something in between). Attachment theory is a huge field of inquiry with many blog posts and books being written all the time, but this book is a particularly clear and great place to start.
What is the spiritual and psychological purpose of marriage? What is the deep inner wiring that makes you attracted to the people that you are? How can couples learn to communicate better and work through challenges, instead of distancing themselves when things get hard? This is one of the best relationship books I’ve read. It gives you Hendrix’s illuminating view on relationship (things you’ll wish you learned years ago), how he works with couples (some of which you can try with your partner), and exercises you can do to work on your relationship in new ways now.
This has much of the same info as Getting the Love You Want except it’s also a workbook that will have you explore, in more detail than you’ve likely done before, what challenges, assumptions, beliefs, fears, needs, etc. you bring to relationship. If you want to deeply learn about yourself so you can make a genuine inner shift that will change the dynamics you experience, check this book out. It’s excellent for anyone who wants to enter into an illuminating process of self-inquiry.
The thing about relationships is we get confused about what’s going on in them. We bring so many assumptions, attachments, projections, stories, and overall baggage to them, we lose our ability to see straight and then things can get really messy. All of these books will help you relate with greater clarity. But Byron Katie’s way of looking at things is so unique and refreshingly clear that it snaps you out of suffering-creating thought loops and inspires you to see things with non-attachment, personal responsibility, and deep (true) love. She’s also great to watch in action, like here.
Years ago I taught a class called “Self Love, Spirituality, & Sexuality” to the advanced students in my intuition courses. This was one of our course books and it opened people’s eyes to the blind spots and naive assumptions they had about relationship. Just as “The Four Agreements” revolutionizes communication, “The Mastery of Love” will advance the awareness and maturity you bring to relationship. (And make you want to live your life from the place of having a Magical Kitchen:)
What does awareness practice look like in relationship? How do we transform moments of relationship struggle, suffering, and misunderstanding into food for our spiritual growth? And, perhaps most true to this book, how do we stop trying to change our partners into being who we want them to be and instead focus on being the people we want to be in relationship with? This sounds potentially heavy, but Cheri’s disarming way of writing, as well as the childlike font and illustrations, makes it not only an illuminating read, but a fun one.
If you read the above 6 books you’ll feel so much more educated and empowered about relationship than you do now. But, what about the deep lifetime patterns that impact all aspects of your life that you can’t help but also bring to relationship? The following books are helpful in shining a light on this level of your experience.
If you know or care nothing about astrology, I virtually guarantee that once you start reading the chapter that applies to you, you won’t be able to put this book down because it will ring so true. This book tells you about your North Node, which is what your soul is here to learn in this life that you don’t (yet) know how to do. What you do know how to do is your South Node. But that’s an approach you need to release so you can learn the new approach of your North Node. Every time someone’s over and they open this book, they get lost in it, take it home, and return it with their eyes opened. If you want to feel clearer on your objective in life as well as the familiar, yet limiting habits you’re being asked to release for your growth – check out this book.
There are lots of systems that provide powerful lenses for looking at our inner workings. Astrology is one. Human Design is another. The Michael System is another. The Enneagram is yet another. What I like about the Enneagram, as opposed to others, is it doesn’t tell you what you are. You have to observe yourself, how you show up, your motivations, and see for yourself which of these 9 types describes you. Just that will teach you so much! There are many Ennegram books but this one is particularly clear, easy to read, and full of lists, inquiry questions, and interesting antidotes. Want a sneak peek on which type you might be? Watch these short videos.
Learning about yourself is great, but what you really want to know is how you match up with the person/people you’re in relationship with. Right? If so, here’s your book.
Are there illuminating books/resources on love & relationship you’d like to recommend? If so, please share them in the comments!