Every book on this list has something important to offer for the marriage crisis you are facing. Some are geared toward relationship crisis, others are genius when it comes to processing life and its many struggles, and still others offer insight into personal growth. We urge you to enter this crisis with an attitude of openness and humility – of, “My life isn’t working right now, so what am I supposed to be learning?” Anytime you are in one of life’s downturns, the best thing you could possibly do is to take care of yourself and learn and grow, so here are some of the best books the world has to offer to help you along that path:
- Unhappily Marrieds/Considering Divorce/Your Spouse Wants to Leave
- Dealing With an Extramarital Affair
- Individuals who are Definitely Separating or Divorcing
- Improve Your Marriage or Relationship
- Basic Understanding of Emotional Health & Life, etc.
- Subconscious Mind-Related Books
- Parenting Books
Unhappily Marrieds/Considering Divorce/Your Spouse Wants to Leave
Recommended reading for every LEANING-OUT partner in the marriage crisis:
Davis is a well-known and respected Marriage and Family Therapist who styles her interventions using a popular theory known as Solutions-focused therapy that all Marriage & Family Therapists have to learn in graduate school. It is hopelessly optimistic, full of good advice for how to conduct yourself when your spouse is rejecting you, and that is just what a leaning-out partner may find helpful during this time.
Old as the hills. (1986) You can order it used off of Amazon. A book Doctor Becky used in her dissertation, and best and most expressively explains the process of how a couple “uncouples.” If you feel your relationship is coming apart, this will be helpful to understanding what you’re going through. ISBN:0-19-503910-6
Dealing With an Extramarital Affair
This is the best book I know that helps a person heal the pain and rebuild trust after a partner has been unfaithful. Doctor Becky has attended workshops that this author has facilitated; she was inspired to study the subject after her own spouse had an affair. Extremely helpful and deals with the issue from both perspectives – the cheater and the cheated-on.
Written by a leading expert on infidelity, Glass says we are right not to believe the words, “I’m telling you, we’re just friends.” So, no, you’re probably not crazy if you think your spouse may be cheating. This book will help.
Individuals who are Definitely Separating or Divorcing
This book (and the workbook) provide a 10-step process to understand and recover from the loss of a relationship, especially due to divorce. It will make the process easier if you follow it. Also, check the Internet for Rebuilding Seminars available near you.
Written for academics, it’s kind of difficult to wade through, but if you have recently gone through a split you will devour Pearson’s detailing of the process of breaking apart. Fascinating and enlightening, and almost psychically tells you what you and have your spouse have been thinking as you go through the process.
What a book! Created for people who are in the midst of separation and divorce, I recommend it to every person in my office who is in the midst of that experience. It is an absolute must-read. Trafford’s understanding of the period leading up to separation and divorce and the experience itself is uncanny. She explains how we set ourselves up for the ultimate end without even being aware of it. That information alone is something I use in my practice almost weekly — I can warn couples what is likely to happen if they don’t change and grow into healthier individuals. This book was given to me years after my own divorce by a friend … I was stunned by it’s insight and so wish I had read it many years before.
Improve Your Marriage or Relationship
Doctor Becky loves the work of Terry Real – she and Terry are influenced by many of the same theorists of how to be a healthy individual, and how to be a great relational partner. This book is honest and contains great insight claiming that one of the reasons marriages don’t work these days is that the old-fashioned male values haven’t caught up with the new age of gender equality. It is a great, great book.
Dr. Sue Johnson created the amazingly effective theory of marital repair known as Emotionally Focused Therapy. She believes many marital issues stem from attachment issues, and how right she is! If you don’t understand what attachment issues are, it is vital that you learn it. Her second book, “Love Sense” listed below focuses primarily on that. It is a must-read, as is a book not written by her, “Attached,” also listed below.
One of Doctor Becky’s favorite books, and a must-read to understanding the importance of attachment in your love relationships.
Attachment theory was pioneered by psychologist John Bowlby in the 1950s — the field of attachment posits that each of us behaves in relationships in one of three distinct ways:
- Anxious people are often preoccupied with their relationships and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back
- Avoidant people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness.
- Secure people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving.
In this book Levine and Heller guide readers in determining what attachment style they and their mate (or potential mate) follow, offering a road map for building stronger, more fulfilling connections with the people they love.
Doctor Becky says: “This is one of the best “self-help” books I have ever read. I highly recommend it – it can really change your life!”
Any book by Don Miguel Ruiz is one of Doctor Becky’s most highly recommended! This book is about true, deep, mature love. It’s what we all want, and what few have.
Based on the PREP program – Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program that is seen in workshops nation wide. Doctor Becky likes it because it talks about many of the basic patterns of behavior couples get into and helps them understand how to stop it.
Written by the marital research guru. His research is amazing, his books have lots of statistics and questionnaires in them, but the bottom line message is right-on. The work of Gottman must be mentioned as he has done much of the most important research on what makes relationships successful, and what breaks them apart.
A classic book that has helped millions of couples.
Before you say, “I don’t need this, I’m not codependent,” think again. Doctor Becky will tell you she hasn’t met anyone who is not codependent, so if you don’t think you are you need to learn what it really is. Often misunderstood, it is the biggest problem in why relationships don’t work. All of us must, must begin our work on recovery from codependence. Doctor Becky has studied with Pia Mellody in Scottsdale, Arizona, and her genius insight informs much of what Becky does. These books are a must-read for those wanting to have healthy relationships with themselves and others.
This book takes readers through the first step of codependency treatment – knowing what it is and how it plays a part in your life. It shows up in each person differently, so figuring out how it affects you is crucial to healing. An absolute must read!
If Facing Codependence explains what codependence is and how it affects YOU, this book gives you a plan for working through it. Another must-read!
Not all codependents are love addicts, but all love addicts are codependents. This is a very hard addiction to break, but the cycle is a love avoidant in a relationship with a person who is constantly pursuing closeness with the avoidant. When the pursuer gives up, the avoidant comes back. The cycle is sick, and never-ending – unless you learn how to have a healthy relationship with yourself. Highly recommended for everyone to understand love addiction, and fits right in to the attachment theory work that is listed above in the Marriage Improvement category.
This is one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. Bradshaw trained with Pia Melody, author of Facing Codependence, and passionately worked the model and found numerous ways for people to work through their shame issues. He explains the dynamic well, and his self-help exercises are invaluable.
Bradshaw’s books are fantastic. Every person who took on shame needs to understand what that means and how to do it – this book is the best I’ve seen at achieving that.
Basic Understanding of Emotional Health & Life, etc.
Available at most half price/discount bookstores. Written in the 1970’s, but still a great, great place to start your quest for personal growth. This is THE BOOK I recommend to every person and client I know. Peck was a psychiatrist and spiritual man, and combines the two in this well-known work. I scan this book every six months or so to remind me of its great wisdom – it has changed the life of millions of Americans, including my own.
Available at most half price/discount bookstores. A 100-page gold mine of information on how to live lovingly and joyfully. Based on the difficult to understand, “Course in Miracles,” a spiritually based analysis (for lack of a better word) of how to have healthy mental health and live an abundant life. A very good book for spiritually-minded readers.
Just get it. A dry read, and rather deep, but a great way to live.
Short, sweet, and insightful. Will change your life if you follow its wise insight.
Excellent book for healing and insight into why we are the way we are, and what to do about it so you may lead a healthy life. Highly recommended. 140 powerful pages.
So many of the new age spiritual books are all basically saying the same things, but in different ways. This one is no exception, however I love how Michael Singer explains it. If you read this book and apply what he is saying, you will live in joy the rest of your life. How’s that for an outcome?
Facing the Shadow
Patrick Carnes is the leading researcher and treatment planner for sexual addiction in the nation. His sex addiction rehabilitation center, Pine Grove in Hattiesburg, Mississippi is the most respected treatment center in the world, and is where Tiger Woods went years ago when he was experiencing his major life crisis. In short, Carnes is the man to look to when you want to know about sexual addiction, and this book is his manifesto for that.
Subconscious Mind-Related Books
Available at most book stores. This book is easy to read and explains how powerful your brain and your thoughts are. It will show you how you absolutely cannot afford negative thoughts or visuals. Life changing. Highly recommended.
Oprah’s done at least two shows on it and says the reason her life is so great is that she abides by its principles. People are talking about it everywhere. Enjoyable, easy-to-read book that discusses the Law of Attraction. A concept that is changing many lives.
This is the book I recommend to all parents who have questions about how to handle their children during a marriage crisis, even if the couple is not sure whether or not they will be divorcing. No stone is left unturned here and virtually all of your questions relating to how to handle yourselves and them are answered.