Building and maintaining all the relationships in your life can be a full time job in itself. From your family and spouse to your co-workers and friends, there are so many people in your life – and how you treat them makes a huge difference. Here are some books that touch on all different types of relationships – to help you and the people around you thrive.
Best Books About Improving Relationships
1. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. John Townsend & Dr. Henry Cloud
Dr. Townsend and Dr. Cloud have written the book on healthy boundaries. Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances — Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions — Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others — Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator.
We often focus so much on being loving and unselfish that we forget our own limits and limitations. Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouse, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.
Did you know that women speak an average of 20,000 words a day? New York Times bestseller Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman explores how to better control your tongue, knowing what to say and how to say it, and realizing when it is best to say nothing at all. Keep it Shut teaches us to:
- To pause before we pounce, preventing regret and wounded relationships
- The difference between gossip and properly processing with a trusted friend
- How to properly use our digital tongues when we talk online or on social media
- How to make our speech laced with grace, sweet as honey, and seasoned with salt
- How to avoid saying something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off
Filled with humor and insight alike, Keep it Shut shows readers powerful ways to use our words to speak life to family, friends, coworkers and even strangers.
3. Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford
Rachel Macy Stafford shares nine habits that will impact your relationships. From surrendering control to establishing boundaries and learning to actively listen – these habits can transform how you interact with everyone from your spouse to your boss to your best friend.
Arianna Huffington says Hands Free Life, “offers the inspiration and the daily actions to live our lives with more grace, more joy, more gratitude and more love.”
Ultimately, Hands Free Life is a soulful call to action. “I can see clearly that my days are made up of a million little choices,” writes Stafford. “Choices to grasp what really matters or let them slip through my multitasking little fingers.”
Author and entrepreneur Alli Worthington has an issue with being busy: “So we aren’t sleeping, we aren’t taking care of our bodies, and we aren’t doing things we enjoy with people we love. Then what in the world are we busy doing?” This is exactly why she is calling all women to break the habit of busy in her upcoming release Breaking Busy:How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy.
In the book, Alli identifies seven signs that someone is too busy, including an inability to control your emotions, lack of self-care, illness, and chronic lateness. From her own life experience as a mother of five boys, an entrepreneur, blogger and business consultant, Alli understands the word “busy” and the dangers of it.
5. 7 Secrets to An Awesome Marriage: Strengthen Your Most Intimate Relationship by Dr. Kim Kimberling
Strong, successful marriages requires hard work and a guide. Dr. Kim Kimberling is that guide, and the 7 secrets show wives and husbands how they can have the kind of communication and intimacy that results in loving, lifelong marriages.
Dr. Kimberling draws on his more than 30 years of counseling experience and shares stories of real couples with real problems as well as what he’s learned from his own marriage, at one point considering divorce with his wife, who he has now been married to for more than 40 years. Some of Kimberling’s examples have happy endings, and some do not, but as couples read through the book, they will learn the “secrets” that can change their marriage.
Having an “awesome marriage” can be easier than couples think, according to Kimberling. Most couples have some idea of what they should do and not do in a marriage. They just never get around to doing them, or there are obstacles that keep them from doing them.
If you have people in your life who avoid taking ownership of their responsibilities, who don’t pull their weight or who assume special unearned privileges, you are experiencing an attitude of entitlement. It can range from an adult child who refuses to find work, to a friend who insists that you treat her as a special case, to co-workers who expect a great deal for little effort. Entitlement is all around us in varying degrees, and it is debilitating our culture, attaching marriages, families, businesses and relationships.
In The Entitlement Cure, Dr. Townsend, New York Times bestselling author of Boundaries, helps readers recognize the problem and hands us clear-cut solutions to prompt change and success. Whether you are living with or working with an entitled person, there is hope in finding a more balanced and productive life for you and for them.
Lack of connection with others, decreased life satisfaction, more young people viewing pornography and lack of empathy are just some of the negative things Pastor Craig Groeschel attributes to a tech revolution that is changing how people do just about everything.
“We still have the age-old struggles with comparison, envy, jealousy…only now we have new ways to escape from those ‘real life’ struggles, even as we create new battles in the virtual worlds we inhabit,” he writes.
Based on his own experiences, as well as those of his 70,000 church attendees, Groeschel diagnoses the problem with our ever-increasing reliance on technology and suggests a better way forward. Using biblical references, insights from psychology and social science and stories from more than two decades as a pastor, he explores technology’s false promises as well as the legitimate needs people have and are trying to meet via smart phones and social media: things like contentment, authenticity, intimacy and worship.
Everyone seems to be into social networking these days, but relationship expert and New York Times best-selling author Leslie Parrott believes women need a different “soul-shall network” for a deeper and more vibrant faith.
“Somewhere along life’s journey, I have come to understand that, as a woman, friendships are essential to the foundation of my faith,” Dr. Parrott writes in her latest book. “Especially in the midst of those moments when the tears are flowing involuntarily—as if the somehow the dry soil of my soul has triggered some cosmic sprinkler system triggered by my Master Gardener. The truth is, as women, we are uniquely designed by God to lean on soul friendships.”
Using hilarious stories and quirky insights from the trenches of motherhood, Melanie Dale encourages moms to take a risk and develop relationships with other moms. In Women Are Scary she guides readers in how to develop relationships from acquaintances to lifelong friends.
With sarcasm, plenty of personal experiences, and the “bases of dating” metaphor from traditional courting, Dale helps women navigate past the judgmental stares and awkward small talk to find more intentional, encouraging and lasting relationships
10. How to Have That Difficult Conversation: Gaining the Skills for Honest and Meaningful Communication by Dr. John Townsend & Dr. Henry Cloud
Successful people confront well. They know that setting healthy boundaries improves relationships and can solve important problems. They have discovered that uncomfortable situations can be avoided or resolved through direct conversation. But most of us don’t know how to have difficult conversations, and we see confrontation as scary or adversarial.
Authors Henry Cloud and John Townsend take the principles from their bestselling book, Boundaries, and apply them to a variety of the most common difficult situations and relationships. Full of practical tips and how-tos, this book will help you make your relationships better, deepen your intimacy with people you care for, and cultivate more love, understanding, and respect between you and others.