The 10 Best Books for Couples to Read Together
We tend to think of reading as a pretty solitary activity. (Hello, squirreling away to a quiet space with a good book and a giant glass of wine.) But books are also meant to be shared (book clubs, we’re looking at you), and if it works for a group of lady friends, why not with your husband or boyfriend? Here, ten books that will iron out problems in your relationship, spark conversation about timely topics or just help you relax and have fun together.
“Getting the Love You Want”
Relationship therapist Harville Hendrix has spent nearly 30 years helping couples eliminate negativity in their daily lives—Getting the Love You Want was originally published in 1988, and has sold millions of copies. The key to Hendrix’s success? Using personal anecdotes from his two marriages (one failed, one successful) to guide couples out of tricky situations.
“Between the World and Me”
Ta-Nehisi Coates’s best-selling, award-winning book on race in America is nothing if not a conversation starter. Reading it with someone you love will help you process the difficult and very important material, and encourage timely conversations to keep you both intellectually stimulated.
Nick Hornby’s classic about a lovelorn record shop owner is perfect date-night fare, just like the movie adaptation. There’s plenty of romance, tempered by humor and a whole lot of rock and roll.
“The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts”
Most couples would probably tell you that communication is the key to a good relationship. But according to marriage counselor Gary Chapman, how you communicate matters just as much. Some people need words of affirmation, some need physical touch, some need gifts and so on. Chapman helps couples identify where each partner fits in on the spectrum and how to meet those needs together.
“Confederacy of Dunces”
Sometimes, the best way to connect with a partner is to laugh together, which leads us to John Kennedy Toole’s tale of an obese eccentric in New Orleans. Read it with your man, then plan a romantic trip to the Big Easy to re-trace Ignatius Reilly’s steps (and drink a Sazerac or two).
“Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security”
It’s common wisdom that most couples fight more about money than anything else. We suggest tackling it head on, by reading some personal finance wisdom together. If you’re on the same page about mortgages, savings plans and other big decisions, it’ll help the rest of life fall in line.
“Modern Love: 50 True and Extraordinary Tales of Desire, Deceit, and Devotion”
Fans of the New York Times column already know what they’ll find in this anthology: achingly real love stories. They won’t always be the stuff of perfect romance novels, because that’s not how life works. Instead, they’ll serve as a reminder to you and your partner that there’s no rule book—love comes in countless forms.
Home is pretty central to couplehood—whether you’ve just moved in together, just bought a condo or are renovating an old house together. Here, the great Bill Bryson goes room by room through his old Victorian home, reflecting on its place in history.
“Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality”
We’re killing two birds with one stone here: The story of the Supreme Court battle for same-sex marriage is both fodder for a lively conversation about equal rights in an uncertain time and a touching story about the power of love, which really does conquer all.
Not only is Americanah a gorgeous read that’s ripe for discussion (more than 50,000 people recently voted it in as New York’s first “One Book, One New York” city-wide book club pick), it’s also a poignant love story, about a couple finding their way back after living different lives half a world away from each other.