7 Non-Cheesy Books That Will Help You Strengthen Your Relationship
Valentine’s Day is a complicated occasion. It is, of course, a time to celebrate love, but for many, it feels more like a call to action. Should I be working on my relationship? Am I doing enough for my partner? Do I need to order a copy of “He’s Just Not That Into You”?
Though self-help books may seem like the answer to all your relationship woes, we think there are other reading materials that can help you sort your thoughts and establish your priorities while under the hazy influence of love.
These seven glorious reads will teach you a thing or two about the power of love and what it means to be in a successful relationship—they’re all really enjoyable, too.
VIDEO: The 10 Best Books We Read in 2016
Read up, young grasshopper, the secret to true romance awaits…
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Anne Brashares
In my humble opinion, there is no greater meditation on relationships than Anne Brashares’s YA classic. Tibby, Carmen, Bridget, and Lena can teach us all a thing or two about how to be an amazing friend, or in this case, a partner. If you want to strengthen your bond and explore the truth of what it means to truly care for and support another person, warts and all, you should read (or likely re-read) this timeless novel. Remember: “Pants = love. Love your pals. Love yourself.”
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
We all have different ways of giving and receiving love. Some of us respond best to physical gifts, while others feel most appreciated when receiving verbal praise. Learn the unique way that both you and your partner communicate love and your relationship will certainly benefit.
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
This delicious novel is broken into two parts—the first, the perspective of a husband, and the second, that of his wife. Nothing is as it seems as you travel through this beguiling epic, least of all its complex characters, Lotto and Mathilde. The differences between their views are vast and dramatic—think a novelized version of The Affair. Reading Fates is a wakeup call, a reminder that though you may perceive your partner as an extension of yourself, no one sees things in quite the same way.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
There's nothing little about Yanagihara's sweeping tale of friendship and despair. Though the tears you cry may (read: will) outweigh any semblance of happiness this book brings you, the depth of these decades-long relationships will inspire you to deepen your own. A life, no matter how little, can always benefit from the care and support of others.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Joan Didion's examination of love and loss is every bit as graceful and hopeful as it is heartbreaking. Didion's grief illuminates the true magic of love, and inspires readers to appreciate their loved ones for as long as they can.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
True love can span years and cross continents. Lest you forget, pick up a copy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 21st century epic.
The Wife by Meg Wolitzer
This brief read drives home the importance of keeping a fair power dynamic at play in your relationships. The main takeaway: Don't sideline your dreams for your partner.