Relationship Basics

The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene

Many people seem to equate being intentional with being “manipulative” as if relationships, in order to be “pure” or “sincere” need to be unconscious.  Greene challenges us to believe in the importance of seduction and I happen to agree.  Seduction, at its best, is about intentionally inviting another to fall in love; it is about leading the “dance” and becoming even better as a lover.  Keeping love and sex alive in a long term monogamous relationship requires intentional effort, self-awareness, and studious attention to the nuances of the other.  Love, after all, delights in the otherness of the other and passion is revealed in whatever we put effort into.

Getting it Right the First Time: Creating a Healthy Marriage by Barry and Emily McCarthy

The McCarthys go over the fundamentals of creating a marriage—everything to developing your couple style to sexuality and parenting and in-laws. This is a must read for anyone starting a new marriage and wanting to get it off on the right foot.

Fighting for Your Marriage by Howard Markman, Scott Stanley, and Susan Blumberg

Markman, Stanley, and Blumberg are academic psychologists on faculty at the University of Denver.  They’ve spent their careers studying marriage and relationships–what works and what doesn’t.  Their book is a classic, what might be called the “go to” book on enhancing couple communication and preventing divorce and what I use to teach couples to contain emotional volatility and communicate effectively.

The Solo Partner: Repairing Your Relationship on Your Own by Phil DeLuca

This book is for those who want to improve their relationship but find themselves having to work at it without the help and cooperation of their partner. The idea behind this book is that one person changing their steps to the dance can change the dance of two.

The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Love, Work and Family by Eleanor Payson

This book is a classic and one that I often recommend to those who are in difficult relationships because the first thing one needs to do to repair a relationship is to set realistic expectations. Not everyone is capable of mutuality in a relationship, so first find out whether you’re in a relationship where your hope for mutuality is reasonable, then choose your course of action.  This book helps you do just that, and, in the process, you might just learn a thing or two about yourself.

Living Like You Mean It: Use the Wisdom and Power of Your Emotions to Get the Life You Really Want by Ronald Federickson

This book is excellently written.  In it, the author explains emotions and why they are important in clear language that the layperson can easily understand.  He also explains how people avoid emotions and what to do instead.   The ability to experience and express emotions is foundational for mental health and for healthy relationships.