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23 Books You Need To Read Before You Get Married

These chapters will help you start your new one.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what book(s) people should read before getting married. Here are some of the best suggestions:


2. The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

"Honestly. Marriage isn’t a fairy tale. You have joyful times and horrible times. Success in marriage, like in life, isn’t about things never going wrong, but in having things go wrong and still choosing, every day, to keep going."


3. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

"Every character has their own version of what marriage is/should be and was really fascinating to read. Throw in some kids, and it turns out you really get to know your spouse and other people by how they interact with their children."

Sheridan Watson

4. Lila and Gilead by Marilynne Robinson,

"Lila is incredibly beautiful, generally, and an amazing look at a marriage between two vastly different people — and it's even better if you read Gilead first."

Rachel Sanders


5. Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith

"By the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It’s the story of the first year of marriage, when not everything is easy. It’s helped me keep perspective in my own first year of married life!"


6. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

"It's about reconnecting with your partner. It makes you think about what real love its really about, it makes you appreciate the little things, and it's just such an amazing novel."

–Florence Gonzalez, Facebook

7. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

"It's about a woman who's going through a divorce but loses her memory in a freak accident. She can't remember anything about her life for the past 10 years, and has to evaluate how she got in her present situation, and how to get out of it. It's a great reminder to re-focus your life, not get caught up in the hustle and bustle and pay attention to what really matters, including why you chose your spouse to begin with. Best book I've read in a while!"

—Amanda Williams, Facebook

8. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

"It helps not only in marriage areas but just life, in relationships, whether those be with your child, a coworker, or a significant other. Very helpful!"


"It really teaches you how to show the other person how much you love them in an effective manner. It will bring you so much closer, and although it definitely helps in a rough patch, it would be awesome to read and understand before it is necessary."

–Ashley Eichhorn, Facebook


9. The Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work by John M. Gottman

"He is one of the leading experts in marriage couples and family therapy and his work is grounded in science. It’s wonderful and it also includes questions in each chapter for you and your partner to reflect upon. I can not recommend it enough."


"It's cheesy, but it's also pretty great."

Rachel Christensen

10. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray / Via

"It's actually really good. Even disregarding gender, it really helps with communication between different types of people, and how to understand and appreciate the differences."

—Mani Rivera, Facebook

"Even though it has become kind of a joke, it's actually a pretty good book. It explains differences in the ways men and women think and how to communicate more effectively."



14. The Conscious Bride by Sheryl Paul

"This book, which is geared toward brides, helps explain and guide you through the feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness, and/or loss of identity that typically accompany a huge life change like marriage. When I got engaged, I questioned why I was so sad and scared of getting married when, I absolutely knew he was the right one for me. This book helped me work through those feelings; enabling me to feel validated, not alone, and as a result, helped me really look forward to my marriage!"


15. The Journal Of Best Practices by David Finch

"It's half memoir, half self-help, and aimed at people who have (or are) spouses on the autistic spectrum, but it's actually a really good memoir/handbook on how to be more self aware in your marriage and attentive to the shit that you do that is irritating to your spouse because of habits that you may not even realize you have — and how to be understanding and accepting of those same inclinations (to a certain, reasonable extent) in your own spouse. "

Kristin Chirico

18. Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson

"It's amazing and digs deeper than any other book I've read to get into the deeper emotional drives that people don't always access and recognize."

—Kathleen Ostby, Facebook


19. The New Monogamy by Tammy Nelson

"I highly, highly recommend this to anyone in a monogamous relationship. It is geared towards evolving a relationship after an affair, but there are so many fantastic and important questions provided to ask your partner (about sex, desire, arousal, flirting, domestic life, and so on) and helps provide an outline for healthy and honest communication."

—Vanessa Zarembo, Facebook

21. Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

"This book was recommended to us by a marriage counselor we were seeing during a rough patch. It totally changed the way we view each other's needs, and how we argue. The 'crazy cycle' he discusses really opened our eyes on how to avoid those pointless fights with no resolutions. We keep that in mind now whenever we get frustrated or argue, and when we make decisions."

—Emily Hetherington McElroy, Facebook

22. The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

"I read it in sociology class in junior college and it's informed my adult relationships tremendously and positively, including my eight-year marriage."

—Manya Tighe, Facebook

23. I Do, But I Don’t by Kamy Wicoff

"It's a great book about the reasons behind the traditions of marriage, and how those ideas and traditions are outdated. It really helped me understand that a big, white wedding had nothing to do with how good your marriage will be, and that perhaps instead of focusing on what kind of party I was going to throw, and how much money I could spend, what I really needed to focus on was making my relationship and marriage stronger."


Submissions have been lightly edited for length/clarity.

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