Elevate Your Love: Top 21 Books for Better Communication in Relationships

You love your partner more than anything, and you want a happy, healthy relationship.

But sometimes, it’s just hard for you to communicate without things dissolving into an argument. 

Couples, whether married or not, face many challenges when it comes to living together, but healthy communication should be front and center when resolving any challenges. 

However, it is notoriously one of the most difficult parts of a relationship, and every couple can use some insights and instruction on how to do it effectively. 

If you and your partner want to improve your communication, these 15 books have the expert answers to all of your questions. 

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What Are The Benefits of Reading Relationship Communication Books?

In addition to improving communication, there are several other benefits of reading relationship communication books together.

These books are often written by celebrated couples’ counselors, coaches, and family psychologists who have helped countless couples improve their relationships.

Their expertise may also provide support in some other ways, including:

  • Helping you and your partner identify patterns that lead to miscommunication or tension
  • Learning to be more intimate and vulnerable with one another
  • Learning new things about your communication styles
  • Developing healthier habits related to communication

15 Must-Read Communication Books for Couples

If you’re looking for the perfect communication book for you and your partner, there are many on the market.

These 15 books include entries by the top couples’ counselors in the world.

1. The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman & Nan Silver

making marriage work book cover

John Gottman and Nan Silver first published The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work in 1999. Since then, it has helped countless couples learn about addressing the fixable problems in their marriage through small changes every day. 

The book outlines seven principles that Gottman says are the keystone of helping couples stay together.

These include seeking comfort in one another, nurturing your mutual affection, growing love maps, mutual influence, finding a shared purpose, defeating gridlock, and solving what can be solved. 

Gottman also pinpoints four things to avoid while trying to solve your marriage problems: criticism, defensiveness, silence, and contempt.

More key takeaways:

  • Couples should know each other's worlds, from knowing one's favorite pizza topping to understanding one's life dreams.
  • Solving solvable problems requires a gentle approach to talking about issues, accepting influence, and being willing to compromise.
  • Overcoming gridlock involves understanding the underlying dreams and values in perpetual conflicts, not just solving them.
  • Creating shared meaning is essential, where couples build a sense of purpose together through rituals, goals, and shared narratives.

2. Love & Respect For a Lifetime by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

love and respect book

Love & Respect For a Lifetime is an abridged version of Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ book Love & Respect. This marriage-centered version includes tips for couples, both those who are struggling in their marriage and those who want to learn how to foster a happy and healthy relationship. 

You can easily skim the book, as it has quick pages you can read alone or as a couple. Dr. Eggerichs is an expert in child and family ecology and is considered one of the foremost professionals in his field.

This simple book is a must-read for any couple looking to improve their relationship.

More key takeaways:

  • Men need respect and women need love for a marriage to thrive, based on the biblical command found in Ephesians 5:33.
  • The “Crazy Cycle” occurs when men and women react negatively to each other's needs, with a lack of love prompting disrespect, and a lack of respect prompting a lack of love.
  • The “Energizing Cycle” can be used to break the “Crazy Cycle,” by choosing to show love or respect unconditionally.
  • Understanding and speaking your partner's primary language, whether it's love or respect, is key to communication.
  • The “Rewarded Cycle” is a concept where acting in love or respect is seen as rewarding in itself, regardless of your partner's response.

3. Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson

Psychologist and couples’ counselor Dr. Sue Johnson made waves with her book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations For a Lifetime of Love. 

The book covers how to talk about topics ranging from childhood trauma to disagreements to your sexual relationship — all in a way that is productive and healthy. Johnson’s book has been praised by many other leading couples’ therapists. 

Hold Me Tight is your go-to rubric, illustrated with real-life examples from Dr. Johnson’s practice, for navigating difficult or scary conversations to leave you both feeling strengthened as a couple and as individuals. 

More key takeaways:

  • Emotional responsiveness is the key to stronger relationships, which involves tuning into your partner's emotional cues and signals.
  • The “Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love” are structured dialogues designed to address and overcome recurring emotional patterns that can harm relationships.
  • Recognizing and admitting to attachment needs and fears is crucial in creating a secure bond between partners.
  • The “ARE” acronym stands for Accessibility, Responsiveness, and Engagement, which are essential components for emotional connection.
  • Healing past emotional injuries within the relationship is possible through open, honest, and vulnerable communication.

4. Mindful Relationship Habits by Barrie Davenport and S.J. Scott

Too often, couples fall into relationship issues by forgetting to be mindful of each other — they are too distracted by the demands of life. 

Davenport and Scott’s book helps couples foster habits to become more mindful of what they have in one another and their relationship, leading to an environment of intimacy and gratitude. 

Though this sounds complicated, Davenport and Scott outline the basics in 25 simple practices that invite couples to grow their relationship one step at a time. You can make a considerable change in your marriage and your life through these small actions.

More key takeaways:

  • Mindfulness in relationships means being consciously present with your partner, without judgment or distraction.
  • Regularly practicing gratitude can shift the focus from what is lacking in the relationship to what is abundant.
  • Effective communication habits involve active listening, empathy, and avoiding assumptions about your partner's thoughts

5. Communication Miracles for Couples by Jonathan Robinson

In his book Communication Miracles For Couples, Jonathan Robinson provides simple tips for improving your communication skills as an individual and a couple. 

First published in 1997, this guide has been helping couples for more than a quarter century by providing rules for reducing arguments, increasing understanding, and feeling more accepted by your partner. 

If communication is a challenge in your relationship — as in most — this book could be a lifesaver for you.

More key takeaways:

  • Expressing appreciation regularly can transform your relationship by making your partner feel valued.
  • Active listening and empathy are crucial in resolving conflicts and understanding your partner's perspective.
  • Using “I feel” statements instead of “You” statements can prevent your partner from becoming defensive.
  • Setting aside time for uninterrupted, focused dialogue can significantly improve communication and intimacy.
  • Small acts of kindness and thoughtful gestures can be powerful in keeping the emotional connection strong in a relationship.

6. Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix & Helen LaKelly Hunt

Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt are two of the world's most famous and respected couples’ counselors — and they are also married. They wrote Getting The Love You Want after experiencing the near-breakdown of their marriage, despite their successful careers helping other people. 

The book follows 12 exercises for couples on how to express what they want in the relationship and how to provide for their partner’s needs.

Hendrix’s and LaKelly Hunt’s expertise comes from professional experience and a lifetime of working and living together as husband and wife. 

More key takeaways:

  • Romantic attraction is influenced by our unconscious desire to find a partner who can help us heal from childhood wounds.
  • The “Imago Dialogue” is a technique that helps couples communicate effectively and understand each other's feelings and childhood influences.
  • Creating a “Conscious Marriage” means intentionally working towards a relationship that promotes mutual healing and growth.
  • Frustration and conflict in a relationship are opportunities for growth and can lead to a deeper understanding of one another.
  • To sustain love, couples should re-romanticize their relationship by regularly infusing it with positive energy and affirmations.

7. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages is undoubtedly one of the most well-known couples’ communication books ever. 

This fascinating book explores the different ways that people respond to affection and what makes them feel loved.

The Five Love Languages will help improve communication and teach you how to make your spouse feel authentically loved and appreciated, improving your intimacy and satisfaction in your relationship.

More key takeaways:

  • The five love languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch, and each person has a primary love language that makes them feel most loved.
  • Understanding and speaking your partner's love language can drastically improve your relationship.
  • Love is something you do for someone else, not just a feeling you have for them.
  • Acts of service require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy, and if done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love.
  • Regularly asking your partner for their love language preferences and acting on them can keep the love alive in your relationship.

8. 201 Relationship Questions by Barrie Davenport

You might think that you know everything about your significant other, but the truth is that there is always more to learn. 

Barrie Daveport’s book 201 Relationship Questions: The Couple’s Guide to Building Trust and Emotional Intimacy is about learning about your partner in ways you have never considered before. The guide is fairly straightforward: it includes more than 200 questions to ask one another, both about yourself and your relationship. 

As you work through it together, you will learn new things about one another and gain a new appreciation for your partner’s unique personhood.

More key takeaways:

  • Meaningful questions can explore deeper areas of each partner's thoughts and feelings, enhancing intimacy and understanding.
  • Regular, open-ended conversations can keep the lines of communication open and help prevent misunderstandings.
  • Understanding each other's past experiences can provide context for current behaviors and reactions within the relationship.
  • Discussing each other's dreams and aspirations can strengthen the bond and alignment of the couple's future goals.
  • Addressing fears and insecurities in a safe, non-judgmental space can build trust and emotional safety.

9. Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray

John Gray’s book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus is possibly one of the most famous couples’ books ever, having sold more than 15 million copies since it was first published in 1992. 

It is aimed toward helping heterosexual couples understand where the other might be coming from, as our experiences as men and women shape much of the way we communicate — and often, miscommunicate. 

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus is designed to help couples communicate more effectively and better understand one another’s perspectives.

More key takeaways:

  • Men and women have distinct ways of communicating and interpreting language, often leading to misunderstandings.
  • Men typically retreat and want to solve problems independently, while women usually seek emotional support and connection during stress.
  • Appreciating and respecting these differences can prevent conflict and promote a more harmonious relationship.
  • Men often need to feel needed and appreciated for what they provide, while women need to feel cherished and cared for.
  • Effective communication requires not only understanding but also responding in ways that meet your partner's unique emotional needs.

10. The Relationship Cure by John M. Gottman & Joan DeClaire

John Gottman is one of the most prolific authors on the topic of healthy marriages, and his success speaks for itself. The Relationship Cure isn’t exclusively geared toward couples, but large sections are designed to help people strengthen their love relationships. 

The book makes an extraordinary claim: you can fix your marriage by following five simple steps. He emphasizes the importance of “emotional connection” and how you bid with one another for that connection.

As you can imagine, his well-researched steps have helped thousands of couples address many issues preventing a loving, healthy connection.

More key takeaways:

  • Emotional bids, which are attempts to connect with someone, are at the core of building and maintaining strong relationships.
  • Recognizing and responding positively to a partner's emotional bids fosters connection and intimacy.
  • A strong relationship is built on the foundation of friendship, which involves knowing each other's likes, dislikes, and life dreams.
  • Small everyday moments often present opportunities to connect with your partner, and taking advantage of these can strengthen the relationship.
  • Turning toward each other instead of away during times of need is essential for long-term relationship success.

11. Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Have you ever had a conversation with your significant other where you realized that what you were saying could make or break your future?

Crucial Conversations is designed to help you learn how to have these big conversations in a level-headed, empathetic, and logical way. 

Humans tend to get emotional when these topics arise, but Patterson's tactics will help you stay cool under pressure so you can make the right decisions about the things that matter the most, such as your relationship. It’s a useful skill and extends beyond the home and your family. 

More key takeaways:

  • A crucial conversation involves high stakes, differing opinions, and strong emotions, and handling these well is key to relationship success.
  • Starting with heart, which means knowing what you want and staying focused on what you really want, is crucial in crucial conversations.
  • Creating a safe environment where everyone feels comfortable to share their true thoughts and feelings is necessary for productive dialogue.
  • Focusing on facts and mutual purpose, and separating facts from stories in our head, helps keep the conversation objective and purposeful.
  • Actively listening and encouraging others to share their viewpoints can lead to mutual understanding and better problem-solving.

12. Boundaries in Marriage by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

For most people, relationships mean sharing everything you are. But that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be boundaries in a marriage. In fact, these boundaries are the key to fostering healthy emotional intimacy with your spouse. 

In this book by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, couples will explore the ten types of boundaries to employ in their relationship and how to begin doing so. 

Couples might be surprised to learn they feel closer to their spouse and happier in their marriage as a couple and as individuals.

More key takeaways:

  • personal responsibility, and the development of a healthy sense of self which, in turn, enhances intimacy and trust in the marriage.
  • Good boundaries include saying no to behaviors that are harmful or unacceptable, while still saying yes to the freedom of each partner to grow and express themselves.
  • Consequences should be established and upheld when boundaries are crossed, helping to maintain respect and understanding between partners.
  • Boundaries are not about changing the other person but rather about setting a personal framework that fosters a respectful, loving relationship.
  • Communication about boundaries should be clear, direct, and done in a loving manner to ensure both partners understand and agree on these limits.

13. The Five Keys to Mindful Communication by Susan Gillis Chapman

.Susan Gillis Chapman explores how to communicate mindfully in your relationship to advocate for your needs while also navigating conflict. 

These conversations are often fraught with emotion, and as a result, we communicate less effectively. Chapman’s rules are designed to help couples communicate with intention, especially during those stressful moments. 

More key takeaways:

  • Mindful communication involves being present in the moment with an open heart, ready to engage genuinely with your partner.
  • Listening with the whole body, not just with the mind, helps in truly understanding and connecting with your partner's emotions and messages.
  • Green, yellow, and red light states describe the levels of communication openness, with green being open, yellow being cautious, and red being closed.
  • Recognizing which ‘light' state you're in can help you choose the most appropriate and constructive way to communicate at any given moment.
  • The practice of mindful communication can transform conflict into an opportunity for deeper understanding and connection.

14. 8-Week Couples' Therapy Workbook by Jill Squyres Groubert

Couples therapy might seem daunting for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. Dr. Jill Squyres Groubert offers the chance to explore it right in your own home in a way that you and your significant other can figure out together. 

This workbook provides a step-by-step program in which you set the pace, working through it week by week.

Along the way, you will gain inspiration from other couples and find ways to work through your issues while regaining your love and respect for one another. 

More key takeaways:

  • Guides couples through an 8-week structured program that addresses various aspects of their relationship.
  • It emphasizes the importance of setting aside dedicated time each week to work on relationship skills and communication.
  • The exercises encourage couples to explore their relationship patterns, communication styles, and emotional responses.
  • Goal setting is an integral part of the program, helping couples to create actionable plans for improving their relationship.
  • Reflective activities are included to facilitate personal and joint insights into behaviors that may be hindering the relationship's growth.

15. The Space Between by Harville Hendrix & Helen LaKelly Hunt

In The Space Between, couples’ counselors and married pair Harville Hendrix and LaKelly Hunt explore what it means to be an individual in a relationship and how fostering your individuality will lead to a healthier relationship. 

You will also learn tips about respecting your partner’s identity outside your relationship and how the space between you can catalyze deeper intimacy.

More key takeaways:

  • The “space between” refers to the relational environment that couples create through their interactions, which can be either safe or harmful.
  • A conscious relationship is one where both partners realize that their connection is a source of healing and growth.
  • Dialogue is essential in creating a positive space between partners, and this involves truly hearing and validating each other's experience without judgement or defensiveness.

16. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” by Marshall B. Rosenberg presents a transformative approach to interpersonal communication that encourages compassionate and empathetic dialogue.

The book outlines a four-part framework for expressing oneself honestly and directly, while also listening to others with respect and understanding, aiming to resolve conflicts peacefully and build stronger, more harmonious relationships.

More key takeaways:

  • Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is based on principles of empathy and direct, honest expression, promoting peaceful and effective interactions.
  • NVC teaches individuals to observe without evaluating, clearly express feelings and needs, and make requests without demands.
  • The four components of NVC are observation, feeling, need, and request, which together form a powerful framework for understanding and being understood.
  • Empathic listening is as important as honest expression and involves truly hearing the feelings and needs behind another person's words.
  • By focusing on shared human needs rather than judgments or strategies, individuals can find common ground and resolve conflicts.

17. The High-Conflict Couple: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy Guide to Finding Peace, Intimacy, and Validation by Alan E. Fruzzetti

“The High-Conflict Couple: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy Guide to Finding Peace, Intimacy, and Validation” provides couples with practical tools and techniques derived from Dialectical Behavior Therapy to manage intense emotions and improve their relationships.

The book focuses on teaching skills for mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and effective communication to help couples navigate conflict, validate each other's experiences, and foster a deeper, more peaceful connection.

  • Applies Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills to help high-conflict couples regulate emotions and improve their relationship.
  • Key DBT skills taught include mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
  • The book emphasizes the importance of validation—acknowledging and accepting each other's feelings, thoughts, and behaviors as understandable.
  • Balancing change with acceptance is crucial in reducing conflict and fostering a supportive relationship.
  • Effective communication techniques are provided to help couples express themselves clearly and listen to each other without judgment.

18. Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last by John Gottman

“Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last” explores the factors that influence marital stability and offers insights into the patterns and behaviors that can predict the success or failure of a marriage.

Drawing on extensive research, Gottman provides strategies for couples to enhance their relationship through effective communication, conflict resolution, and by nurturing a foundation of mutual respect and admiration.

  • Gottman identifies four negative behaviors, termed the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” that can predict divorce: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.
  • Emotional intelligence and the ability to handle conflict constructively are critical factors in a marriage's success.
  • Marriages succeed when couples create a positive balance between their positive and negative interactions.
  • The book discusses the importance of nurturing fondness and admiration, which act as antidotes to contempt and help maintain a sense of respect.
  • Problem-solving and establishing shared meaning are also key themes, as they contribute to a deeper connection and shared life goals.

19. After the Fight: Using Your Disagreements to Build a Stronger Relationship by Daniel B. Wile

“After the Fight: Using Your Disagreements to Build a Stronger Relationship” offers a perspective on how couples can use the inevitable conflicts that arise in their relationships as opportunities for growth and increased intimacy.

The book provides guidance on how to engage in post-conflict conversations that foster understanding, repair emotional damage, and strengthen the bonds of the relationship.

  • Disagreements and fights, when handled constructively, can be opportunities for growth and understanding in a relationship.
  • The book emphasizes the importance of turning toward each other post-conflict to repair and deepen connection, rather than withdrawing or harboring resentment.
  • Daniel B. Wile explains that the immediate aftermath of a fight is a critical time for couples to address underlying issues and engage in healing dialogue.
  • The author encourages couples to explore the deeper wishes and feelings that underlie their conflicts, leading to greater empathy and intimacy.
  • Wile suggests that couples can develop an ongoing “conversation” about their relationship, which includes acknowledging both partners' perspectives and creating a narrative that includes both viewpoints.

20. The Couple's Survival Workbook: What You Can Do To Reconnect With Your Partner and Make Your Marriage Work by David Olsen and Douglas Stephens

“The Couple's Survival Workbook” is a practical guide filled with interactive exercises designed to help couples enhance their relationship and overcome challenges together.

It focuses on improving communication, rebuilding trust, and establishing a deeper emotional connection, providing tools and techniques for couples to actively work on their marriage.

  • The workbook provides practical exercises designed to help couples strengthen their relationship through improved communication and problem-solving skills.
  • It emphasizes the importance of understanding each other's emotional needs and learning to respond to them effectively.
  • The authors encourage setting realistic expectations and goals for the relationship to prevent disappointment and resentment.
  • Trust building is a central theme, with activities focused on rebuilding trust in cases where it has been damaged.
  • The workbook includes strategies for managing stress and conflict, which are common challenges that can strain a relationship.

21. The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work by Terrence Real

“The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work” challenges conventional notions of marriage and provides modern strategies for couples seeking to foster a genuine connection in their relationship.

The book emphasizes the importance of emotional honesty, personal responsibility, and the cultivation of emotional literacy, offering guidance for couples to navigate the complexities of intimacy and create a fulfilling and equitable partnership.

  • Terrence Real discusses the importance of personal accountability and taking responsibility for one's own happiness within the marriage.
  • The book challenges traditional gender roles and expectations that can create imbalances and dissatisfaction in modern relationships.
  • Real introduces the concept of “joining through the truth,” which involves being honest and transparent with one's partner as a way to foster intimacy and connection.
  • He emphasizes the need for emotional literacy, especially for men, in order to engage in more meaningful and fulfilling relationships.
  • The author provides tools for couples to break free from negative patterns and create a more loving and respectful partnership based on equality and mutual support.

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Finding The Right Couples’ Communication Book For You

Try a few different books to find the one that works best for you, your partner, and your communication issues. With some effort, you will find the one that helps you work together toward a healthier, more intimate relationship.