The Best Counseling Books For Your Marriage Troubles

Updated March 22, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Marriage counseling is a great experience. Talking to a marriage and family therapist can offer you professional insight that you might not have otherwise thought of alone. Marriage counseling is a great way to not only explore aspects of yourself and your relationship, but it will aid in helping you gain insight into why your marriage is the way it is. Marriage and family therapists can help you better understand yourself and your relationship while giving you and your partner the tools you need to have a successful marriage.

Some marriage and family therapists may provide extra resources for you and your partner to explore outside of the counseling sessions or perhaps you and your partner want to find more resources to learn more about your relationship. These resources could include worksheets, workbooks, or books that can give you more knowledge and insight about marriage.

The good news is that you and your partner are appearing to be geared for success insofar as you have already taken the important step of recognizing and acknowledging your issues and the need to seek outside help to remedy those issues. Now that you've done that, you can start improving the relationship and working your way through the struggles you're facing to achieve success and will fair better than most since you are already armed with valuable information and a strong desire to keep the marriage intact.

You can increase your abilities with some of the best marriage books available, which will provide you with practical tips to help you understand yourself and your partner a whole lot better than you currently do. Many marriage books help married couples (as well as life partners or newly engaged couples) through some of the most common issues in relationships including money management, communication, expressing love, sexual intimacy, and deepening emotional bonds so you don’t just feel like two married roommates. Books about marriage are often more than a marriage and family therapist, and the top relationship books can be almost as effective as marriage therapy. In fact, many marriage and relationship books are written by therapists who use these techniques for their own relationships or throughout their practice. If you are really dedicated to boosting your marriage, you could even speak to a marriage and family therapist and use counseling books in conjunction with your treatment.

The best books for marriage counseling

However, researching for the right book can be difficult, and we understand that you may be struggling to find great books. If you are having this issue and could use guidance, here are some of the best marriage counseling books on the market and what you will receive from them.

The Five Love Languages -Gary Chapman

Learn more on how to improve your marriage with Regain

A relationship book that helps you understand yourself and your partner better, The Five Love Languages looks at the things that each of you does to show love and the things that you want to feel loved. The truth is, not everyone feels or shows love in the same way, and the chances are that this love can get lost in translation. If you show love in a specific way, then the chances are that's how you also feel love. If your partner shows love in a different way that you aren't quite able to understand, this can lead to a disconnect between you and your partner, and you may feel lost rather than together in marriage. You each think that you're showing love but are not receiving it from the other person, even though you're each trying to show that love to the other. You can’t fix your marriage without talking to each other in a language you both understand! Understanding this, it can help you communicate better on an equal field where you both understand each other's needs. If the issue is feeling unloved by someone who is supposed to be your spouse, this is the resource you should go to.

This marriage counseling book made our list because it’s like having your personal marriage and family therapist right on your bookshelf. The concept of the five love languages may sound simplistic, but it’s actually a quite an advanced topic when you get into it. Read this book for practical advice about not just how to understand love languages, but to find concrete methods about how you and your partner can better communicate in languages that both understand. You’ll also read real-life stories of married couples who developed a successful partnership once they learned each others’ love languages.

Marriage therapists recommend this book to help manage marriage expectations and deal with troubled marriages between two people who just can’t get on the same page. After reading this book you may find yourself strengthening your marriage, family, and even friendships through healthy communication.

Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married - Gary Chapman

Another book by Chapman, this book is about getting to know your partner a little better and making sure that you can survive the things that might tear apart another marriage. Specifically, it targets 12 main areas of stress that married couples will often encounter and it gives you a comprehensive overview of each and helpful methods that will allow you and your partner to tackle them better when they eventually show up in your marriage. By understanding your partner, you can make better choices and work through things easier, and this book will help you figure out just how to do that, which is important if you're trying to make things work but aren't sure how. These are the things you should be asking before you tie the knot, but if you've never thought about them, it's time to do the work now.

The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work - John M. Gottman and Nan Silver

With this book, you'll find out about your partner and be able to improve your relationship through a series of different and revitalizing exercises that reintroduce the spark and sense of wonder and discovery to your marriage. As a prerequisite, you and your partner both need to be willing to work on things for this to be successful but you'll be able to help improve communication and a whole lot more if you just give it a chance. With just seven simple steps, you're going to be on your way to a healthier relationship already.

Interestingly enough, John M. Gottman is rather well-known in the marriage-based therapy space and has established his system of solving marriage issues that are based on a model known as the Sound Relationship House. Much like a house, a healthy relationship only stands upright with the proper foundation and materials. Gottman believes that these materials include trust, commitment, building loved maps for better knowledge of your partner, fondness and admiration for your partner, turning towards them instead of away from them, maintaining a positive perspective on everything that occurs within the relationship, and in both of your lives, managing conflict that comes up during the course of the marriage, making life dreams and goals come true, and creating a meaning (such as through morning and evening rituals) that defines the marriage. If you're looking for supplementary material to accompany this book, Gottman's own methods would make a great addition.

This book is a detailed guide from the country’s foremost relationship expert. Gottman and his wife are famous marriage and family therapists, known for their ability to predict with stunning accuracy whether or not a couple will divorce after just one conversation. Even if the book takes a few months to read, you are using the knowledge contained within for the rest of your life.

Love and Respect Workbook - Emerson Eggerichs

There's actually a book (Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs) and a workbook to go along with this book set and if you read the book and then start the workbook to make sure that you finish the whole series that Eggerichs provides, you're going to have a whole lot of things to help you and your partner when you finally begin diving into all of the information that this book has to offer. Firstly, the book helps to give you all of the information necessary to understand how to better love and respect your partner. Then, the workbook is used during your reading as well as afterward and helps you through a series of different exercises that will help you create a strong relationship and show you how to show love and respect to your partner (and it is aptly named because of this). This is extremely important in a relationship that's struggling, but if you go through the workbook, you'll find that the process of giving love and respect to your partner does not have to be difficult and is quite rewarding when you pour your effort and your soul into your relationship. It should be noted that this book is heavily based on Bible scripture and Biblical themes, and it is not recommended for couples who are not interested in this kind of material. (However, it could serve as a great lesson to treat your partner with love and respect if they are of a different religious group than you!) Marriage therapists recommend this book for anyone dedicated to the process of building up a successful marriage with consistency and care.

Emotional and Sexual Intimacy in Marriage: How to Connect or Reconnect With Your Spouse, Grow Together, and Strengthen Your Marriage - Marcus and Ashley Kusi

One area of marriage that often loses its luster and strength throughout a marriage is emotional and sexual intimacy, and it can often be difficult for people to talk about their loss of intimacy and seek the help they need. Even marriage therapists sometimes focus too much on familial love between partners and forget the sexier side, which is exactly what makes a romantic pair different than any other type of relationship.

In some cases, there may be sexual intimacy, but one partner is not receiving the satisfaction they need and is sparing the other partner's feelings by avoiding the topic and letting them think that everything is fine. While this is a noble act, it doesn't help to fix the marriage if there are any issues present and it can only add to the anger and resentment that currently exists and add to the growing pile of issues that are tearing a married couple apart. Intimacy, both sexual and emotional, is key to a healthy marriage, and some can lose their way and find it difficult to get back. With, "Emotional and Sexual Intimacy in Marriage: How to Connect or Reconnect With Your Spouse, Grow Together, and Strengthen Your Marriage" by Marcus and Ashley Kusi, the couple that used to have intimacy issues themselves will help you to foster more intimacy by unlocking erotic intelligence in your own love life. The book will help you by providing you with extraordinary insider knowledge and a wide variety of exercises that will get you back to being intimate inside and outside of the bedroom in no time.

For the sex-starved marriage, boosting that marriage libido will make a world of difference in both your physical and mental health.

What we truly like about this book is that it can apply to all kinds of relationship dynamics rather than just heterotypical marriages as some books focus on. Regardless of whether you are a lesbian couple or a gay couple, these exercises will prove to be helpful within your marriage as well and can help you accomplish your own intimacy goals.

Common therapeutic approaches for couples

Know more about the most utilized therapeutic techniques that are effective for couples. 

The Gottman Method

John Gottman talks about seven ways to improve your marriage. He believes that romantic relationships are based on communication, listening, and intimacy. John Gottman created a technique that provides the best marriage counseling. As mentioned above, Gottman talks about the "sound relationship house." Couples in romantic relationships develop meaning in their lives to understand and unite with each other. In his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert, he outlines how to speak one another's love language. The book presents theories about what makes marriages last. Many therapists practice the Gottman method to help a troubled marriage. Gottman talks about seeking help early. If you're in a happy marriage, then you're doing something right. Relationships change over time. Don't wait until you're in a starved marriage to find a therapist. When you see a therapist who practices the Gottman method, you will be engaging in exercises with your partner. You and your partner will practice the communication skills you learn in therapy and outside of the session.

EFT (Emotionally focused therapy)

Sue Johnson is the author of Hold Me Tight Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. The book presents conflict resolution skills and strategies for problem-solving in marriages. Johnson created Emotionally Focused Therapy EFT is based on a nine-step model where the couples identify the problem and then work with the therapist to solve it. EFT focuses on the attachment bond between the couple. Men and women learn to fortify the bonds in their marriage. EFT helps people embrace personal growth. It can particularly help unavailable men with their emotions. EFT supports people to work through their own feelings and accept and embrace their partner's emotions. It's about communicating with one another through essential conversations, respecting the other person's needs, and fortifying a relationship. EFT can make a huge difference in a relationship where it feels like one partner is emotionally unavailable. If you want to make this type of treatment work, you have to be open to feeling your feelings and experiencing empathy for your partner. EFT is an excellent type of therapy for couples, and it has proven great results.

Sex therapy

A sex therapist works with couples on intimacy issues. A trained mental health professional can work as a guide for couples when their marriage is failing. When there are issues in the bedroom, it can be daunting. Maybe the couple believes there's no hope, and they can't fix their intimacy problems. A sex therapist is skilled at understanding physical intimacy problems. If your issues in the marriage surround sexual and intimate relations, a sex therapist may be right for you and your partner. Initially, it could feel embarrassing to reveal intimacy issues to a stranger. You're your personal sex life with someone who doesn't know you. But, that can also be freeing, and a therapist isn't going to judge you. They are there to help you navigate your sexual relationship with your partner. They can show you how to overcome intimacy hurdles and get to a place where you and your partner are both satisfied in the bedroom. A sex therapist is an expert in common intimacy struggles. It's likely that many couples have dealt with the type of sexual problems you are having in your marriage. You're not alone in your struggles. You may be worried about shocking your therapist, but it's unlikely you will do that. Regardless of whether your struggle is old or new territory for them, they want to help you work through it.

Learn more on how to improve your marriage with Regain

Saving your marriage

You have probably entered couples therapy because you're worried about the stability and long-term health of your marriage. If you want to work through your relationship issues, you're in the right place. Couples therapy isn't going to be easy, but it will be rewarding in the end. You will find ways to show your partner how you feel and accept how they are experiencing matters. When you're with a person for years, the resentment can grow. It can be challenging to work through these issues. Remember that a couple's therapist is an expert in helping partners navigate these challenges. They have seen many different dynamics and are available to help you through these complex problems. You have a shot at saving your marriage if you're willing to put in the effort. Both of you wouldn't be in couples therapy if you didn't want to believe that there was a chance to make things work. Congratulate yourself that you are both here, right now, and start to do the hard emotional work. A couple's therapist is in this profession because they believe in love and relationships. They're here to help you and your partner through these challenges because this is their passion. They're passionate about helping romantic relationships flourish. Sometimes it's good to get a couple's therapist who is just starting out because they're fresh out of school and ready to practice the techniques they've learned. They have a passion for the job and want to help you and your partner through challenging problems. Remember that no relationship is perfect. If you're having difficulties with your partner, the chances are that other people have experienced similar issues and have worked through them, maybe with the help of a couple's counselor. If you want a shot at saving your marriage, couple's therapy is an excellent place to start. You can try one of these types of counseling and see if it works for you. EFT, The Gottman Method, or Psychodynamic therapy, are all valid techniques for couples to try. Consider therapy as a way to work through challenges before calling it quits with your marriage.


Let's imagine that you are reaching this guide as a result of researching your DIY marriage counseling methods. Conducting your marriage counseling is an ambitious and commendable goal, but it may not always suffice if you are not able to properly implement the knowledge you are learning into your current relationship. If these books aren't doing enough for you or if they are working well but you feel like you might need a little more guidance in your efforts, you always have the option of seeking out professional help. When you realize the reasons why marriage help books don't always work in your relationship, a therapist, such as those available through Regain, will be able to help you through your workbooks, your exercises, and a whole lot more of both by helping you build up your relationship and understand the things that are and aren't working for you. Best of all, these online counselors are ready to take you anywhere and at any time! Don't take extra time in your marriage to try to decipher these resources. Reach out to a marriage counselor and receive the help you need to bring you and your loved one closer together.

For Additional Help & Support With Your ConcernsThis website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.