The 5 Best Marriage Counseling Books (to Help Your Marriage)

Can a marriage counseling book transform your marriage?

Can it a good alternative for a marriage counselor?

In my experience, the answer is YES.

Inspiring and insightful marriage help books can help a troubled marriage and make it better than ever.

The 5 books you’ll find below offer some of the best advice available for couples and make a low-cost alternative to couples therapy.
The 5 Best Marriage Help Books for a Troubled Marriage

This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you make a purchase using some of our links.

(For me – this free marriage assessment & email series by Mort Fertel was the best place to start)

Finding the right book can help you solve marital problems, and strengthen your marriage to a state that it hasn’t been in years, perhaps ever.

Here are 5 of my top picks from the last few years, and why I chose them:

The 5 Best Marriage Counseling Books for Couples

If you want to awaken the passion, restore the connection and intimacy in your marriage, getting a book or two would be well worth it.

Here are the best books to help you save your relationship, reviewed and rated:

1.  The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts / Gary Chapman

the five love languages book on saving marriage

(208 pages)

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Five Love Languages relationship advice book is still a New York bestseller, for 8 years running.

The basis in Dr. Gary Chapman in this practical (yet inspiring) marriage self-help book is that there are 5 love languages, and most of the time you and your spouse “speak” a different one.

This leads to feeling unloved.

I quickly found that my primary love language is “acts of service” and my husband’s one is “physical touch”. Hmmm.

The 5 languages are:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

What you’ll find inside:

gary chapman book for troubled marriage


What I liked about it

  1. The book shows you what things your spouse is really looking for in your relationship, and what YOU want as well. It helps to understand each other better.
  2. The stories and examples are interesting and some are inspiring.
  3. The book is relatively short (208 pages) and easy to read
  4. You can use this approach with other meaningful relationships in your life (parents, in-laws, etc.)
  5. The audio version (you can get it here) is great – Dr. Chapman reads the book to you and it feels like he is talking to you in person
  6. Clear, practical and tangible advice
  7. A great quiz to help you quickly find your love language.

 Preview the book on Amazon.

What I didn’t like

  1. The author tends to praise himself and include praise from his clients
  2. This book seems to be written mainly for Hetero-Christian-monogamous couples only.

I also recommend that you check out my Marriage Fitness Review. For me, it was a life-changing alternative to marriage counseling.

2.  Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs / Emerson Eggerichs

emerson eggrichs love and respect counseling book

(324 pages)

Eggerichs’ book tries to crack the communication code between couples through the biblical understanding of love and respect.

He claims that what your husband mostly needs is unconditional respect, and what a wife needs mainly is unconditional love.

Until I read this marriage communication help book, I never thought that respecting my spouse would make him feel loved, but apparently – it does.

The book and CDs are for anyone in a marital crisis, want to prevent separation and divorce, or just want to stay in a happy and healthy marriage.

(And don’t forget to check out the workbook too)

What you’ll get inside:

marriage counseling books


What I liked about it

  1. Clear and spiritually based marriage education – written as if you were talking to the author at your kitchen table.
  2. Helps understand both your needs from each other.
  3. Sparks interesting conversations with your spouse and friends.

 Preview first chapters on Amazon

What I didn’t like

  1. The theory may not be true for all married couples. Maybe you need more respect while he needs more unconditional love?
  2. Questions are repetitive

3. The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship: A Toltec Wisdom Book / Don Miguel Ruiz

self help marriage books

(210 pages)

I loved Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The four agreements“. It has changed my life and started me on a spiritual journey lasting to this day.

That’s why I had to read “The Mastery of Love”.

Ruiz uses insightful stories to bring his messages to us:

  • Fear-based beliefs undermine our love for each other and lead to unnecessary and destructive drama in our relationship
  • We must restore playfulness in your relationships (here’s the quickest way to spark up your marriage)
  • How the war of control ruins us
  • Why we should look to love ourselves and stop hunting for love in others.
  • Why we should forgive ourselves and others

Here’s what you’ll find inside:

mastery of love don miguel ruiz

I loved this book so much that I’ve bought it for all my close friends and family (starting with my parents…)

What I liked about it

  1. Good lessons and powerful, life-changing messages
  2. Reminded me that self-love comes first and everything else follows
  3. Learning how to process the baggage we all carry
  4. Simply written, yet no clichéd

 Preview the book on Amazon

What I didn’t like

  • The language used may not be relatable to everyone – he uses a lot of Toltec-related concepts

4. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God / Timothy & Kathy Keller

best marriage help books

(352 pages)

This religious marriage counseling book by Timothy Keller is based on his sermon series and explains why most marriages are in trouble, and to rescue them.

He shares a lot of his own experience from his marriage to Kathy, his wife of 37 years and counting.

It seems like he wrote this book to give you his vision of what marriage was designed to be from the bible – from the first marriage of Adam and Eve to the last marriage of Christ and the church.

Here’s what you’ll get inside:

the meaning of marriage book


What I liked about it

  1. Very readable, encouraging, and practical commentary
  2. Refreshing discussion about sex
  3. Builds a great case for marriage
  4. His marriage provides ample illustrations that are both helpful and funny

 Preview the book on Amazon

What I didn’t like

  • Seems to be limited to a strictly Christian audience

5. The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships / John Gottman

marriage guidance books


(336 pages)

Gottman has already written many books to help marriages mend and grow stronger, but I found “The Relationship Cure” to be the best one in 2018.

(I also enjoyed his first book that I read – “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child“).

It is wonderfully clear and offers tangible facts and tools to build a better relationship.

It is packed with fascinating questionnaires and exercises, that’ll secure its place on your shelf for years to come.

Gottman suggests that relationships are built from bids for connection – anything from requesting help, to touching.

The spouse can react to these bids in 3 different ways:

  • Turning toward the bid
  • Turning away from the bid
  • Turning against the bid

Read parts of the book for free HERE.

What I liked about it

  1. Great exercises and questionnaires
  2. Stories are simple and easy to read
  3. The author has studied married couples for years – and it shows

What I didn’t like

  • The print is too small for me; it makes the content a bit difficult to read.


You’ve just found the 5 top-rated marriage help books of all time (up to 2018 that is), and what I liked and disliked about each one.

I truly believe that even reading just one book can open your eyes, expand your consciousness and change your entire perspective – thus changing your relationship for the better.

(Check out more than 30 tips to instantly improve your marriageHERE)

What’s the best marriage book you’ve read so far? Don’t keep it to yourself…share with our community in the comments below.

Rooting for ya,



6 thoughts on “The 5 Best Marriage Counseling Books (to Help Your Marriage)”

  1. My husband and I have been married for 8 years, together for 10. We are both on our second marriage and we have kids from our previous marriages. The kids are pretty much all grown and on their own. My daughter is a senior in high school and she is the last one at home. The biggest problem we have faced is lack of communication. During the early years, I would feel very disrespected that my husband wouldn’t include me in disisions he and his ex-wife would make regarding their children. Disisions that would affect our home, such as when the kids would be coming for the summer vacation or when he would be out of town to see them. I would never tell him it couldn’t happen, I would explain to him that I just wanted to be able to know so I could plan accordingly and adjust my childs visitis with her other parent or so I could make sure something that may have been conflicting could be rescheduled. My husband is a very defensive person. He would get very defensive when I would ask to be included. Now that the kids are grown and this is no longer an issue, I am still finding that he just doesn’t communicate with me. If I want to know anything, I have to always ask. When his mother comes to visit, I have to play 20 questions to find out exactly what days she will be here. I have been more vocal about how this bothers me lately. Which i’m sure hasn’t helped the situation but I can’t be quite to this behavior anymore. However, it doesn’t seem to matter because he is just defensive about EVERYTHING. I can’t ask how his day was at work with out him snapping a defensive answere at me. I have tried chaning my tone and how I aproach him to ask a question, but he always snaps at me in a very defensive tone. He will speak to my daughter in a loving tone, but turn to me and be very short and clipped. When I asked him why he said he’s not doing anything different. He tells me that I make him feel stupid and talk down to him. And I can admit there have been times I have. It’s very hard to not be condescending when you feel that you’re not respected enough to be given any infomation or talked to like you’re cared for. However, I AM working very hard to be a nicer, more understanding person and trying not to let the “not communicating” affect me. But I am finding his constant defensiveness more than I can deal with. How can you show respect for someone who always comes across as being guilty of something and always defending themselves? I can’t even ask, “are you feeling ok?” when he’s obviously not feeling well. He will literally answer ” I’m fine” in a why are you judging me tone. I have no Idea how to show him love and respect anymore. Can you recommend a book that would help me know how to phrase and tone a conversation with him so he won’t feel judged or attacked?

  2. Me and my wife are married for 11 years now with two boys (5 year and 8 years). We come across various conflicts in daily life and have been going through worse phase of our marriage life. I expect very basics things from my wife as mother of two which fails to fulfill and results in nasty arguments whenever we try to discuss the matter. My wife interferes a lot when i try to teach our children good things which dilutes all my efforts. She lacks a lot when it comes to organize things whether its children clothes, keeping house clean etc. which impacts our day to day life and cause the bitter argument almost every day.
    Can any of the above book help our marriage life? Please suggest.

  3. Thanks for putting this list together. My wife and I are married 11 years and have 3 girls ages 9, 9 and 7. we struggle a lot and I believe many of the problems stem from personality issues that she and/or I carry with us due to our separate childhood experiences. My question is do these books address specifically couple related issues of communication or do the books delve into the deeper aspect of the personality issues?


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.