Last Sunday, when I preached about marriage I suggested that one of the best ways to invest in your marriage is to read something with your spouse. Marriage (and sex) throws up many challenges in every season of life; to keep reading not only gives us good healthy input that can help us negotiate these challenges, but helps us to keep talking with our spouse, allowing our marriage to mature and grow. Here’s some recommended reading:
Marriage: The Big Picture
John Piper – This Momentary Marriage
This book is a rich exploration of what marriage is really all about. If you need reminding what the point of it all is or need help to stick in there when the going gets tough, this book paints a beautiful picture of the high calling of marriage.
Gary Thomas –Sacred Marriage
Gary Thomas picks apart the myth that marriage is primarily about us being happy and explores the rich truth that marriage is much more about making us holy. All of us need to read this kind of book to help us shift our focus so that our marriages can flourish in freedom rather than be crushed by our wrong expectations and agendas.
Marriage: Practical Help
Cloud and Townsend: Boundaries in Marriage
Written by two Christian psychotherapists, this book addresses many of the disfunctions that regularly occur in marriages. The book is very down to earth, but with sharp analysis, helpful illustrations and plenty of tools to help you begin to identify and address problems.
Gary Chapman: The Five Love Languages
This book has ‘gone viral’ in recent decades. It is not a holistic book about marriage – there are a huge many areas in which it has nothing to say, but it is a useful and well written book that helps you and your spouse to think and talk about the way you receive and give love.
Some other books I haven’t read but are generally highly recommended are
Tim and Cathy Keller: The Meaning of Marriage and Nicky and Sila Lee: The Marriage Book
In addition to general books on marriage, I want to recommend a few particularly on sex. It can be really hard to find good resources and it can be embarrassing to search for them! So here is a few books that are good places to start:
John Piper (ed): Sex and the Supremacy of God
Many different writers contribute chapters on different topics to this book. Many of them are excellent: There are individual chapters for husbands and wives which contain a lot of really helpful practical advice from both a male and female perspective. Perhaps the best chapter though is written for those who have been abused or have had destructive sexual habits in the past.
Kevin Leman: Sheet Music
This is a very practical book about sex written by a Christian doctor! It addresses many issues from physical, psychological and theology perspectives. Leman helpfully emphasises the importance of sex in a marriage, helps you think straight about it (and about your spouse), but also provides a lot of practical help that we need to hear but are often too shy to talk about.
John White: Eros Redeemed
This book was written a while ago, but is still (in my opinion) the best book out there for those for whom sex is tainted, either by abuse, by sexual addictions or other ways in which sex has become complicated. Full of profound honesty, compassion and wisdom, John White helps us to find hope in God’s grace whilst challenging us to seek his healing.
Other recommended reading:
For Women: Linda Dallow: Intimate Issues
For Men: Stephen Arterburn: Every Man’s Battle