Reading

The Marriage Resource Center recommends the titles below to help deepen your knowledge in various aspects of relating to both ourselves and others.

The High Conflict Couple by Alan Fruzetti

You hear and read a lot about ways to improve your relationship. But if you've tried these without much success, you're not alone. Many highly reactive couples—pairs that are quick to argue, anger, and blame—need more than just the run-of-the-mill relationship advice to solve their problems in love. When destructive emotions are at the heart of problems in your relationship, no amount of effective communication or intimacy building will fix what ails it. If you're part of a "high-conflict" couple, you need to get control of your emotions first, to stop making things worse, and only then work on building a better relationship.

 

The High-Conflict Couple adapts the powerful techniques of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) into skills you can use to tame out-of-control emotions that flare up in your relationship. Using mindfulness and distress tolerance techniques, you'll learn how to deescalate angry situations before they have a chance to explode into destructive fights. Other approaches will help you disclose your fears, longings, and other vulnerabilities to your partner and validate his or her experiences in return. You'll discover ways to manage problems with negotiation, not conflict, and to find true acceptance and closeness with the person you love the most.

 

This book has been awarded The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Seal of Merit — an award bestowed on outstanding self-help books that are consistent with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and that incorporate scientifically tested strategies for overcoming mental health difficulties. Used alone or in conjunction with therapy, our books offer powerful tools readers can use to jump-start changes in their lives.

The Relationship Cure
by John Gottman

From the country’s foremost relationship expert and New York Times bestselling author Dr. John M. Gottman comes a powerful, simple five-step program, based on twenty years of innovative research, for greatly improving all of the relationships in your life—with spouses and lovers, children, siblings, and even your colleagues at work.

Gottman provides the tools you need to make your relationships thrive. In The Relationship Cure, Dr. Gottman:

 

  • Reveals the key elements of healthy relationships, emphasizing the importance of what he calls “emotional connection”

  • Introduces the powerful new concept of the emotional “bid,” the fundamental unit of emotional connection

  • Provides remarkably empowering tools for improving the way you bid for emotional connection and how you respond to others’ bids

  • And more!


Packed with fascinating questionnaires and exercises developed in his therapy, The Relationship Cure offers a simple but profound program that will fundamentally transform the quality of all of the relationships in your life.

In Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, marital psychologists John and Julie Gottman provide vital tools—scientifically based and empirically verified—that you can use to regain affection and romance lost through years of ineffective communication.

In 1994, Dr. John Gottman and his colleagues at the University of Washington made a startling announcement: Through scientific observation and mathematical analysis, they could predict—with more than 90 percent accuracy—whether a marriage would succeed or fail. The only thing they did not yet know was how to turn a failing marriage into a successful one, so Gottman teamed up with his clinical psychologist wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, to develop intervention methods. Now the Gottmans, together with the Love Lab research facility, have put these ideas into practice.

What emerged from the Gottmans’ collaboration and decades of research is a body of advice that’s based on two surprisingly simple truths: Happily married couples behave like good friends, and they handle their conflicts in gentle, positive ways. The authors offer an intimate look at ten couples who have learned to work through potentially destructive problems—extramarital affairs, workaholism, parenthood adjustments, serious illnesses, lack of intimacy—and examine what they’ve done to improve communication and get their marriages back on track.

Hundreds of thousands have seen their relationships improve thanks to the Gottmans’ work. Whether you want to make a strong relationship more fulfilling or rescue one that’s headed for disaster, Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage is essential reading.

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work has revolutionized the way we understand, repair, and strengthen marriages. John Gottman’s unprecedented study of couples over a period of years has allowed him to observe the habits that can make—and break—a marriage. Here is the culmination of that work: the seven principles that guide couples on a path toward a harmonious and long-lasting relationship.
 
Straightforward yet profound, these principles teach partners new approaches for resolving conflicts, creating new common ground, and achieving greater levels of intimacy. Gottman offers strategies and resources to help couples collaborate more effectively to resolve any problem, whether dealing with issues related to sex, money, religion, work, family, or anything else.
 
Packed with new exercises and the latest research out of the esteemed Gottman Institute, this revised edition of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is the definitive guide for anyone who wants their relationship to attain its highest potential.

This breakthrough book guides you through a series of self-tests designed to help you determine what kind of marriage you have, where your strengths and weaknesses are, and what specific actions you can take to help your marriage.

You'll also learn that more sex doesn't necessarily improve a marriage, frequent arguing will not lead to divorce, financial problems do not always spell trouble in a relationship, wives who make sour facial expressions when their husbands talk are likely to be separated within four years and there is a reason husbands withdraw from arguments—and there's a way around it.

Dr. Gottman teaches you how to recognize attitudes that doom a marriage—contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling—and provides practical exercises, quizzes, tips, and techniques that will help you understand and make the most of your relationship. You can avoid patterns that lead to divorce, and—Why Marriages Succeed or Fail will show you how.

The Dance of Anger
by Harriet Lerner

Anger is something we feel. It exists for a reason and always deserves our respect and attention. We all have a right to everything we feel - and certainly our anger is no exception.

"Anger is a signal and one worth listening to," writes Dr. Harriet Lerner in her renowned classic that has transformed the lives of millions. While anger deserves our attention and respect, women still learn to silence our anger, to deny it entirely, or to vent it in a way that leaves us feeling helpless and powerless. In this engaging and eminently wise book, Dr. Lerner teaches both women and men to identify the true sources of anger and to use it as a powerful vehicle for creating lasting change.

For decades this book has helped millions of listeners learn how to turn their anger into a constructive force for reshaping their lives. With a new introduction by the author, The Dance of Anger is ready to lead the next generation.

It was under the bodhi tree in India twenty-five centuries ago that Buddha achieved the insight that three states of mind were the source of all our unhappiness: wrong knowing, obsessive desire, and anger. All are difficult, but in one instant of anger—one of the most powerful emotions—lives can be ruined, and health and spiritual development can be destroyed.

With exquisite simplicity, Buddhist monk and Vietnam refugee Thich Nhat Hanh gives tools and advice for transforming relationships, focusing energy, and rejuvenating those parts of ourselves that have been laid waste by anger. His extraordinary wisdom can transform your life and the lives of the people you love, and in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, can give each reader the power "to change everything."

The Relaxation Response
by Herbert Benson

Herbert Benson, M.D., first wrote about a simple, effective mind/body approach to lowering blood pressure in The Relaxation Response. When Dr. Benson introduced this approach to relieving stress over forty years ago, his book became an instant national bestseller, which has sold over six million copies. Since that time, millions of people have learned the secret—without high-priced lectures or prescription medicines. The Relaxation Response has become the classic reference recommended by most health care professionals and authorities to treat the harmful effects of stress, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure.

Rediscovered by Dr. Benson and his colleagues in the laboratories of Harvard Medical School and its teaching hospitals, this revitalizing, therapeutic tack is now routinely recommended to treat patients suffering from stress and anxiety, including heart conditions, high blood pressure, chronic pain, insomnia, and many other physical and psychological ailments. It requires only minutes to learn, and just ten minutes of practice a day.

World-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us. For him a ringing telephone can be a signal to call us back to our true selves. Dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality. The most profound satisfactions, the deepest feelings of joy and completeness lie as close at hand as our next aware breath and the smile we can form right now.

Lucidly and beautifully written, Peace Is Every Step contains commentaries and meditations, personal anecdotes and stories from Nhat Hanh’s experiences as a peace activist, teacher, and community leader. It begins where the reader already is in the kitchen, office, driving a car, walking a part—and shows how deep meditative presence is available now. Nhat Hanh provides exercises to increase our awareness of our own body and mind through conscious breathing, which can bring immediate joy and peace. Nhat Hanh also shows how to be aware of relationships with others and of the world around us, its beauty and also its pollution and injustices. The deceptively simple practices of Peace Is Every Step encourage the reader to work for peace in the world as he or she continues to work on sustaining inner peace by turning the “mindless” into the mindFUL.

The New Rules of Marriage
by Terrence Real

In his extraordinary new book, Terrence Real, distinguished therapist and bestselling author, presents a long overdue message that women need to hear: You aren’t crazy–you’re right!

Women have changed in the last twenty-five years–they have become powerful, independent, self-confident, and happy. Yet many men remain irresponsible and emotionally detached. They don’t know how to respond to frustrated partners who just want their mates to show up and grow up.

Enter the good news: In this revolutionary book, Real shows women how to master the new rules of twenty-first-century marriage by offering them a set of effective tools with which they can create the truly intimate relationship that they desire and deserve. He identifies five non-starters to avoid and shares practical strategies for bringing honesty, passion, and joy back to even the most difficult relationship. Using his experience helping thousands of couples shift from despair to profound emotional closeness, Real guides you through the process of relationship repair with exercises that you can do alone or with your partner. With this program you’ll discover how to

- identify and articulate your wants and needs
- listen well and respond generously
- set limits, and stand up for yourself
- embrace and appreciate what you have
- know when to seek outside help

The New Rules of Marriage will introduce you to a radically new kind of relationship, one based on the idea that every woman has the power to transform her marriage, while men, given the right support, have it in them to rise to the occasion.

We have never wanted so much from our relationships as we do today. More than any other generation, we yearn for our mates to be lifelong friends and lovers. The New Rules of Marriage shows us how to fulfill this courageous and uncompromising new vision.

Us
by Terrence Real

Not much is harder than figuring out how to love your partner in all their messy humanness—and there’s also not much that’s more important. 

At a time when toxic individualism is rending our society at every level, bestselling author and renowned marriage counselor Terrence Real sees how it poisons intimate relationships in his therapy practice, where he works with couples on the brink of disaster. The good news: Warmer, closer, more passionate relationships are possible if you have the right tools. 

In his transformative new book Us, Real brilliantly observes how our winner-takes-all culture infiltrates families with devastating results: repetitive fights that go nowhere, or a distant relationship in which partners end up living “alone together.” With deft insight, humor, and charm, Real guides you to transform your relationship into one that’s based on compassion, collaboration, and closeness. 

Us is a groundbreaking guide to a new science-backed skillset—one that will allow you to get past your knee-jerk reactions and tap into your wiser, more collaborative self. With a novelist’s flair, Real shares the stories of couples whose relationships have been saved by these skills and pans out to the culture that reinforces our dysfunction. If you and your partner are backed into separate corners of “you” and “me,” this book will show the way back to “us.” With Us, your true relationship can begin.

The State of Affairs
by Esther Perel

An affair: it can rob a couple of their relationship, their happiness, their very identity. And yet, this extremely common human experience is so poorly understood. What are we to make of this time-honored taboo—universally forbidden yet universally practiced? Why do people cheat—even those in happy marriages? Why does an affair hurt so much? When we say infidelity, what exactly do we mean? Do our romantic expectations of marriage set us up for betrayal? Is there such a thing as an affair-proof marriage? Is it possible to love more than one person at once? Can an affair ever help a marriage? Perel weaves real-life case stories with incisive psychological and cultural analysis in this fast-paced and compelling book.

For the past ten years, Perel has traveled the globe and worked with hundreds of couples who have grappled with infidelity. Betrayal hurts, she writes, but it can be healed. An affair can even be the doorway to a new marriage—with the same person. With the right approach, couples can grow and learn from these tumultuous experiences, together or apart.

Affairs, she argues, have a lot to teach us about modern relationships—what we expect, what we think we want, and what we feel entitled to. They offer a unique window into our personal and cultural attitudes about love, lust, and commitment. Through examining illicit love from multiple angles, Perel invites readers into an honest, enlightened, and entertaining exploration of modern marriage in its many variations.

Fiercely intelligent, The State of Affairs provides a daring framework for understanding the intricacies of love and desire. As Perel observes, “Love is messy; infidelity more so. But it is also a window, like no other, into the crevices of the human heart.”

Mating in Captivity
by Esther Perel

One of the world’s most respected voices on erotic intelligence, Esther Perel offers a bold, provocative new take on intimacy and sex. Mating in Captivity invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home.

Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships. Wise, witty, and as revelatory as it is straightforward, Mating in Captivity is a sensational book that will transform the way you live and love.