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Every marriage can use a little help now and again. Mine has been everywhere from a passionate love story to a devastating heartbreak, and everything in between. I’ve learned a lot over the years and carry many battle scars, but I know now– more than ever– that God is here in the midst of my marriage and He will carry us through. Today I’m sharing a list of the top 10 faith based books and resources that have helped to strengthen my marriage (and my walk with God!) over the years. I pray that they will be a blessing upon you and your home, too.
1. The Bible
By The Holy Spirit (and for this edition, Thomas Nelson)
The Bible is un-equivocally, 100% the most important book that has or will ever help my marriage and for that reason I strive to read it daily. If we are going to honor God and have success in this life, we have to stay connected to the true vine (John 15:1) through the Word of God. We must seek Him each day for all things– including the strength, endurance, and health of our marriages.
This is the bible I use daily. I have several different bibles because I enjoy studying the various translations, but this is my #1 favorite. I absolutely love it because:
-It’s a study bible so it includes lots of extra footnotes to give me more context around the verses I’m reading.
-It’s written for women, so there are wonderful devotionals and encouraging quotes included that speak directly to my heart and the things I face in my life.
-It’s so pretty! This bible is excellent quality and very nice to feel and look at.
See More Here: http://amzn.to/2lFdjW8
I would love, love, LOVE to know what bible and translation you most enjoy! Please tell me in the comments!
2. Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs
My husband and I got so much out of this book that we actually went to a Love and Respect Live Conference back in 2011– which was awesome!
This was one of the first books God used to show me exactly what my husband needed from me and gave me examples (that weren’t obvious) of where I was missing it. My husband always used to tell me he was feeling judged by me and I couldn’t figure out why! I wasn’t trying to judge him– I was just… communicating with him. I learned so much about how my tone, body language, and facial expression mean SO MUCH MORE than my words.
My husband was equally touched by the book and event, and absolutely takes strides to this day to show me love the way Dr. Eggerichs taught.
We refer to examples, analogies, and lessons from this content REGULARLY in our home and always recommend it when ministering to other couples as well.
See More Here: http://amzn.to/2ljVBLZ
3. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
OH. MY. GOSH. This book is such a game-changer. I personally carried a lot of rejection issues into my adult life that made me operate from a place of always seeking the approval of others. (Another awesome book for this is Approval Addiction by Joyce Meyer!) I had SO MUCH trouble saying no. I would over-commit myself (and my family) and often feel bad if anyone was unhappy with me for any reason. The result: I was constantly burned out, crabby at home, and often resentful that no one else seemed to be as “committed” as I was. This book totally rewired me.
I learned that I had a complete misinterpretation of scripture on the whole topic of Christian living and our responsibilities to others.
This book was great for my marriage because it was an issue of contention between us that I would never say “no” when I/we were asked to help with something. My husband wanted more of me and wasn’t excited to constantly share me, my energy, and my time with everyone else.
I love this excerpt from the book:
“Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances — Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions — Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others — Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator — Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations.”
Learning healthy boundaries has really brought a new equilibrium to our home and has given both my husband and myself so much peace in knowing that we can both say “no” when we need to and “yes” when God leads us to.
See More Here: http://amzn.to/2lF3A2l
4. Sacred Marriage
Sacred Marriage is extremely powerful when your marriage is going through a trial, a dry patch, or MUCH WORSE. It re-framed my fairy-tale ideal of marriage into God’s purpose for the covenant and gave me strength to endure the hard times with grace.
I think the tag-line on the cover says it all:
“What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”
Truly an excellent read for anyone going through a trial in marriage or a season of feeling unfulfilled.
See More Here: http://amzn.to/2mypS9R
By John & Stasi Eldredge
OK, so I really recommend that you get this book and the next one as a pair. If your husband is on board to read these together– you should read Captivating first and he should read Wild at Heart. Then switch.
Both books are written by the same couple and Captivating is all about understanding the heart of a woman, what she most needs, what she most wants, and how God wired her. Many women read this and think– “How did they get in my head??”
Just a tiny little excerpt to whet your appetite:
“Every woman was once a little girl. And every little girl holds in her heart her most precious dreams. She longs to be swept up into a romance, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, to be the beauty of the story. Those desires are far more than child’s play. They are the secret to the feminine heart.”
The best part is when your husband reads this book. He will understand you like never before. Seriously, such a powerful duo of books for more romance, better communication, understanding each other’s needs and desires, and falling deeper (or back) in love.
See More Here: http://amzn.to/2mk5mJH
6. Wild at Heart
By John Eldredge
So here’s the second one– the man’s version of Captivating, if you will.
My husband was frequently moved to tears reading this book– and he’d tell you that himself. It was like– he was both feeling understood AND understanding himself for the first time. It sparked in him a self-assurance and a tenderness that I hadn’t seen before.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Every man was once a boy. And every little boy has dreams, big dreams, dreams of being the hero, of beating the bad guys, of doing daring feats and rescuing the damsel in distress. Every little girl has dreams, too: of being rescued by her prince and swept up into a great adventure, knowing that she is the beauty.
But what happens to those dreams when we grow up? Walk into most churches, have a look around, and ask yourself: What is a Christian man? Without listening to what is said, look at what you find there. Most Christian men are . . . bored.”
I would suggest, even if your husband isn’t a reader or won’t go through these books together with you, read them both. Captivating first, then Wild at Heart. God will do so much through it, I promise! And even if your husband never reads either book, you will understand both of you better and it will elevate you to a higher emotional and spiritual maturity.
See More Here: http://amzn.to/2myrZL0
7. The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands
Introducing— my (BY FAR) most controversial selection. But seriously– this CHANGED EVERYTHING in my marriage. I refer back to it often, recommend it frequently, and think of it constantly. You may have read my post before called “Confessions of a Controlling Wife”— and that’s exactly what I was. Nagging. Controlling. Demeaning. And Judgmental. The crazy part is that I had no idea. I couldn’t stand women with these qualities and didn’t think that the way I was acting towards my husband fell into those categories AT ALL. This book opened my eyes because of all the examples she gives.
Dr. Laura is famous for her ultra-conservative, anti-feminist radio talk show The Dr Laura Program. It’s definitely received a lot of criticism over the years for being so socially conservative– and I’ll tell you, I’ve never listened to the show, but the book was so eye-opening that I’ll keep recommending it. regardless of criticism. It’s also received a lot of praise for exposing the traps of the devil in marriage and promoting a biblical worldview on the institution of marriage.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Women want to be in love, get married, and live happily ever after. Yet disrespect for men and disregard for the value, feelings, and needs of husbands has fast become the standard for male-female relations in America. Those two attitudes clash in unfortunate ways to create struggle and strife in what could be a beautiful relationship.
Countless women call Dr. Laura, unhappy in their marriages and seemingly at a loss to understand the incredible power they have over their men to create the kind of home life they yearn for. Now, in The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, Dr. Laura shows you—with real-life examples and real-life solutions—how to wield that power to attain all the sexual pleasure, intimacy, love, joy, and peace you want in your life.”
If your husband ever says he feels judged by you, or that you’re controlling or over-bearing, or that you clearly don’t like him at all, or seems really unhappy in your marriage– I would seriously recommend that you humble yourself, read this book with an open mind, and ask God to show you the truth. It was a HUGE deal for me and all of the wives I’ve recommended it to.
This book can reinforce great marriages, improve stale marriages, and resurrect dead marriages.
See More Here: http://amzn.to/2m0biGA
8. Battlefield of the Mind
This book was recommended to me when I was going through a very difficult trial and the enemy was tormenting me with terrible thoughts. Have you ever been there? When you just feel overwhelmed by the “what ifs” or a terrible movie reel of upsetting pictures? This book is how I conquered them. (I’ve also heard amazing things about Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick for this type of struggle, but I haven’t read it yet.)
I studied Battlefield of the Mind during that difficult season in my life and made it my resolute goal to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). This book laid out the specific framework to help me succeed and I recommend it ALL THE TIME. I also really benefited from the DVD if you’re more of a watcher.
This book helped my marriage mostly because it helped me to grow and mature in my own walk of faith. I became more able to respond to life from the truth of the Word of God instead of my emotions and it made me a stronger helpmate for my husband.
See More Here: http://amzn.to/2lk8O7s
9. Grooming the Next Generation for Success
This book is THE BEST book on parenting I have ever read. It helped my marriage so much because it got us on the same page about parenting and brought so much peace to our home.
There’s also a DVD and CD set which were so helpful to go through together, but the book is enough if you’re on a tight budget.
What I really appreciate about this curriculum is that, in addition to teaching very practical discipline techniques and creating a culture of honor in your home, it also teaches you how to empower your kids with success skills. Dani goes into money management, spiritual equipping, understanding different personality types, self image, accountability, and planning and dreaming for the future.
We go through it again and again at least once per year to stay fresh on the principles.
See More Here: http://amzn.to/2lk7tgL
10. The Big Kahuna— The Restoring Relationships Ministry
Several years ago I thought my marriage was going to end. My husband and I had hit such a place of mutual offense with each other that it truly seemed insurmountable. We had done things that felt unforgivable, and neither of us were in a place of wanting to move forward.
By the grace of God, someone at church recommended this ministry, and I have no reservations in saying that it is what God used to save our marriage and reconcile us completely.
This is for people or couples who:
-Can’t see a way forward in their relationships
-Carry resentment, unforgiveness, or bitterness that they can’t get rid of– even though they’ve tried
-Feel a separation from God they can’t explain
-Have unresolved hurts in their past that they know hinder them today
-Know their marriage needs professional counseling or some kind of intervention
-Are hoping to reconcile with their spouse even though he or she seems unwilling
I hope this list offers some help and some hope to you! There’s no magic bullet to a healthy marriage. It takes sacrificial love, perseverance, daily effort, and the grace of God. But I know that these tools can help in the areas you know need strengthening! I pray blessings of intimacy, joy, peace, and the presence of God over you marriage and home, in Jesus’ name.
What resources or books helped to heal or transform your marriage? I would love to hear about them in the comments!