Books I Recommend That Focus on YOU, Dating, Relationships, Loving Others and Marriage

As a little girl, Beauty and the Beast was the most watched movie by my sister and I. As an adult, I like to believe it was because of how much I admired and loved the library Beast gifted to Belle. At 30, I still dream of having my own little “library room” full of books floor to ceiling. I love reading. I love learning from others through their words and advice. I love finishing a book and either giving it away or keeping it on my shelf to read again one day.

While I do not read as much as I once did (kids take up a lot of your time!), I still keep a book in my purse, on my bedside table, and in my work bag. I might be obsessed haha. I have recently been asked by a couple of people to share some of my favorite books and/or devotions that focus on personal growth and/or relationships. I personally choose to read books over devotionals because I feel they are easier to finish, but I do have a devotional and bible study I recommend!

Below is a list of some of my favorite books that focus on personal growth, dating, loving others, parenting, and relationships in general! The book title will be listed as well as the synopsis written by that author. Books in BOLD are my all time favorites.

FOR WOMEN

A Perfect Mess: Why You Don’t Have to Worry about Being Good Enough for God – by Lisa Harper
On those days when French fries litter the floor of your minivan, when you think bad words about other drivers, when your smile hides an anxious heart–in those moments when you fall short of all you’d hoped to be–what does God see when He looks at you?

In this liberating look at how God adores and transforms imperfect people, Bible teacher Lisa Harper weaves poignant stories of her own personal foibles with a fresh take on selected Psalms to reveal a loving Father who remains your greatest champion even when you don’t feel anywhere close to holy.

**If I am honest, I have read many books focused on “speaking to” women. Most of them focus on feeling lonely, anxiety, feeling not worthy, etc. I have not been able to relate to any of them and they have not grabbed my hearts in the way the books below have. BUT . . . if you’re interested in knowing what they are, message me! I’d love to send them your way.

DATING

Love That Lasts: How We Discovered God’s Better Way for Love, Dating, Marriage, and Sex – by Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke
Drawing from Jeff’s “prodigal son” personal history and from Alyssa’s “True Love Waits” experience, the Bethkes point to a third and better way. Blending personal storytelling with biblical teaching, they offer readers an inspiring, realistic vision of love, dating, marriage, and sex.

Young people today enter adulthood with expectations of blissful dating followed by a romantic, fulfilling marriage only to discover they’ve been duped. They learned about love and sexuality from social media, their friends, Disney fairy tales, pornography, or even their own rocky past, and they have no idea what healthy, lifelong love is supposed to be like. The results are often disastrous, with this generation becoming one of the most relationally sick, sexually addicted, and divorce ridden in history.

Looking to God’s design while drawing lessons from their own successes and failures, the Bethkes explode the fictions and falsehoods of our current moment. One by one, they peel back lies such as,

  • the belief that every person has only one soul mate,
  • that marriage will complete you,
  • and that pornography and hook-ups are harmless.

When God Writes Your Love Story: The Ultimate Guide to Guy/Girl Relationships – by Eric Ludy
In their most popular book, bestselling authors Eric and Leslie Ludy challenge singles to take a fresh approach to relationships in a culture where love has been replaced by cheap sensual passion. When God Writes Your Love Story shows that God’s way to true love brings fulfillment and romance in its purest, richest, and most satisfying form.

When Dreams Come True: A Love Story Only God Could Write – by Eric Ludy
This daringly real, intensely moving love story gives vision and hope to everyone in search of a love worth waiting for. In their bestseller When God Writes Your Love Story, Eric and Leslie Ludy described the breathtaking perfection of God’s plans for each young person and offered fresh guidelines for being Christlike in relationships with the opposite sex. When Dreams Come True shares the Ludys’ personal story, illustrating how they lived out the principles of the first book in their own romance and marriage.

Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship – by Joshua Harris
Purpose Driven Romance The last thing singles want is more rules. But if you’re looking for an intentional, God-pleasing game plan for finding a future spouse, Joshua Harris delivers an appealing one. A compelling new foreword, an all-new “8 Great Courtship Conversations” section, and updated material throughout makes this five-year revision of the original Boy Meets Girl a must-have! Harris illustrates how biblical courtship – a healthy, joyous alternative to recreational dating – worked for him and his wife. Boy Meets Girl presents an inspiring, practical example for readers wanting to pursue the possibility of marriage with someone they may be serious about.

LOVING OTHERS

A Love Worth Giving: Living in the Overflow of God’s Love – by Max Lucado
Finding it hard to love? Someone in your world is hard to forgive? Is patience an endangered species? Kindness a forgotten virtue? If so, you may have forgotten a step — an essential first step. Living loved.

God loves you. Personally. Powerfully. Passionately. Others have promised and failed. But God has promised and succeeded. He loves you with an unfailing love. And his love — if you let it — can fill you and leave you with a love worth giving.
**This one is probably my all time favorite read of this genre. 

Love as a Way of Life: Seven Keys to Transforming Every Aspect of Your Life – by Gary Chapman
In Love As a Way of Life, relationship expert Gary Chapman shows how genuine love can direct your interactions with other people, leading to positive change in their lives and yours. You’ll learn how the seven traits of love–kindness, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, generosity, and honesty–work together to transform your approach to everyday encounters with others.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts – by Gary Chapman
Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge. How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life?

In the #1 New York Times international bestseller The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today.
**I know this book is popular and many have taken the test, but I can promise you it is 100% worth the read!!

PARENTING

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Development – by Daniel J. Siegel
In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. The “upstairs brain,” which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain. No wonder kids throw tantrums, fight, or sulk in silence. By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth.
**This book really helped me to understand why Miller has his fits, outbursts, and moments where he just needs a hug! I really enjoyed reading this book as a parent of a toddler!

MARRIAGE

You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity – by Francis Chan
Marriage is great, but it’s not forever. It’s until death do us part. Then come eternal rewards or regrets depending on how we spent our lives.

In his latest book, Francis Chan joins together with his wife Lisa to address the question many couples wonder at the altar: “How do I have a healthy marriage?” Setting aside typical topics on marriage, Francis and Lisa dive into Scripture to understand what it means to have a relationship that satisfies the deepest parts of our souls.

Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage – by Kevin Leman
With his characteristic warmth and humor, Dr. Kevin Leman offers a practical guide to sex according to God’s plan. This frank and practical book is a perfect resource for married and engaged couples. Dr. Leman addresses a wide spectrum of people, from those with no sexual experiences to those with past sexual problems or even abuse. Using frank descriptions, this book has a warm and friendly tone that will help couples overcome awkwardness in discussing an issue important to all married couples.
**Brian and I read the first couple of chapters separately when engaged and then finished it together once marriage – as recommended!

Love, Sex, and Happily Ever After – by Craig Groeschel
What do you do if you want a marriage that doesn’t just survive, but thrives? That doesn’t just begin romantically but ends magnificently?

Answer: You do something different.
 
You’ve seen marriages fail time and again. Even relationships you thought were bulletproof don’t last–or maybe worse—fade away to a cold, gray lovelessness. It’s no wonder that for today’s generation, “getting what you want” is often a substitute for love, and disillusionment about marriage is the new normal.

But you can have a long-term, love-blessed marriage. Whether you’re still considering it, are about to be wed, or have been married for a while and want to make changes, Love, Sex & Happily Ever After delivers an infusion of hope. Author Craig Groeschel clearly and honestly lays out the choices and commitments you can make now to change the way you think and act—to build the relationship you want for the rest of your life.

With an invigorating mix of personal story, practical guidance and biblical truth, Craig invites you into a candid conversation about first dates, sex, communication, integrity, forgiveness, and commitment. Along the way, he shows how you can build a soul-enriching, God-honoring relationship with the one you love…and believe together again in your very own “happily ever after.”
**Brian and I read this one together when engaged and found it be so beneficial in preparation for a healthy marriage!

DEVTIONAL

Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus – by Karen Ehman
Whether you’re juggling a career, kids’ schedules, and church commitments or you’re covered in spit-up and anxious about what the next eighteen years might hold, you can carve out a few quiet moments to rejuvenate your spirit.

Pressing Pause offers you a calm way to start your day, to refresh yourself in Jesus and drink deeply of His presence so that you are ready to pour out love, time, and energy into the people who matter most to you.

BIBLE STUDY

Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story – by Angie Smith
In seven sessions, Seamless covers the people, places, and promises of the Bible, tying them together into the greater story of Scripture. Participants in this study will gain an overarching understanding of the fundamental layout and meaning of the Bible.
**I highly recommend this! It helped me to “know” the Bible so much more, to put the pieces together, and to make sense of it. There are also videos on YouTube to go along with the study!

Staying In Love – by Andy Stanley
In this four-session small group Bible study, pastor Andy Stanley discusses how to stay in love once you fall in love.

We all know what’s required to fall in love… a pulse. Falling in love is easy. But staying there—that’s something else entirely. With more than a thousand matchmaking services available today and new ones springing up all the time, finding a romantic match can be easier than ever. But staying together with the one you’ve found seems to be the real challenge.
**I highly recommend this study for EVERY SINGLE person. Whether you are single, dating, or married this study will be one you will learn so much from. We own this DVD series and love re-watching it often!

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For those who asked, I hope you have found one that interests you! If you have a favorite book and/or devotional, I’d love to know about it in the comments below!

love always, kylie

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