Looking for the best relationship books ever written? You’re in the right place!
I still remember walking into the kitchen, aged 14, and announcing to my mum that I was pretty sure that nobody would ever love me. I was disconsolate. No matter what she said, I knew the truth. I was destined to go through life alone.
Silly, right? 😅
And yet this moment of crushing insecurity was probably the least alone I’ve ever been.
Because we’ve all been there with 14-year-old Arthur, haven’t we?
We all know what it feels like to wonder if we’ll ever find what the whole world is looking for; if we’ll ever truly penetrate the secret machinations of love.
It’s a complicated subject. And it doesn’t help that we only have one word to describe a HUGE range and depth of attachments.
But the good news is, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Because if there’s one passion I never realised would so impact the way I think, feel and go about lust, love and relationships it’s been my life-long love-affair with books.
From fiction to nonfiction to poetry, from the sad to the wise to the scintillating there is almost no part of the wonderful world of love and partnership that hasn’t been beautifully captured in writing.
This reading list focusses on the best practical, nonfiction in that canon.
So here they are, the 16 best relationships books that everyone should read.
I hope you enjoy them, I hope they inspire you and (if you haven’t found them already) I hope the best friend and partner out there looking for you has the good fortune of finding you soon.
And until next time, be awesome, love yourself and go well. 🙌
The 16 Best Relationship Books Ever Written
Why these best relationship books and not others? The best relationship books below are the top picks from my master database, ranked by a combination of Goodreads rating, the number of Goodreads reviews and first publication date. The goal is to give a good balance of what’s most loved, what’s most popular and what’s delivered timelessly relevant advice.
Where should you start? Treat this list of the best relationship books ever written like a menu. Start at the top, work your way down and begin with the first couple of titles that jump out at you. Remember, you can always come back for more later.
- The 5 Love Languages (1990), Gary Chapman (FREE Summary)
The Secret to Love that Lasts
A concise, actionable and time-tested guide to letting others know they are loved and feeling loved and appreciated in return – by best-selling author, pastor and marriage counselor, Gary Chapman.
209 pages. Rated 4.3 over 282,400 reviews on Goodreads.
- The Art of Loving (1956), Erich Fromm
192 pages. Rated 4.0 over 49,700 reviews on Goodreads.
- The Mastery of Love (1999), Miguel Ruiz
A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship
240 pages. Rated 4.3 over 34,900 reviews on Goodreads.
- Codependent No More (1986), Melody Beattie
How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
276 pages. Rated 4.2 over 26,200 reviews on Goodreads.
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (1999), John M. Gottman
A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert
271 pages. Rated 4.2 over 16,200 reviews on Goodreads.
- Love and Respect (2004), Emerson Eggerichs
The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs
336 pages. Rated 4.2 over 43,500 reviews on Goodreads.
- Models (2011), Mark Manson
Attract Women Through Honesty
246 pages. Rated 4.4 over 9,400 reviews on Goodreads.
- Mating in Captivity (2006), Esther Perel
Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic
272 pages. Rated 4.2 over 16,100 reviews on Goodreads.
- For Women Only (2004), Shaunti Feldhahn
What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men
224 pages. Rated 4.1 over 24,000 reviews on Goodreads.
- On Love (1993), Alain de Botton
194 pages. Rated 4.0 over 20,500 reviews on Goodreads.
- Attached (2010), Amir Levine
The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love
304 pages. Rated 4.1 over 16,800 reviews on Goodreads.
- Come as You Are (2015), Emily Nagoski
The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life
400 pages. Rated 4.3 over 13,600 reviews on Goodreads.
- The State of Affairs (2017), Esther Perel
352 pages. Rated 4.4 over 7,400 reviews on Goodreads.
- Getting the Love You Want (2005), Harville Hendrix
A Guide for Couples
336 pages. Rated 4.1 over 7,800 reviews on Goodreads.
- Hold Me Tight (2008), Sue Johnson
Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
300 pages. Rated 4.1 over 7,400 reviews on Goodreads.
- Sex at Dawn (2010), Christopher Ryan
The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality
400 pages. Rated 4.0 over 22,400 reviews on Goodreads.
Frequently Asked Questions
The secret to picking the best book on dating for YOU is to understand what you want out of dating in the first place. If you’re looking for love, then check out books like Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages (#1) or Mark Manson’s Models (#7). If you’re more interested in the sexual side of dating, you might enjoy Esther Perel’s State of Affairs (#13) or Christopher Ryan’s Sex at Dawn (#16). For more suggestions, explore my full reading list.
The top marriage books on my reading list are John Gottman’s Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (#5) and Emerson Eggerichs Love and Respect (#6). For more suggestions, explore my full reading list of the best books on relationships. You might also enjoy these book recommendations on the best books on emotional intelligence and the best books on communication.
By far my favourite book on love ever written is Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving (#2). But if you want something super-practical then Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages (#1) is also excellent. For more suggestions, explore my full reading list.
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