It’s wedding season in the U.S., and we know how to draw out an event—many people are heading out to bridal showers, bachelorette weekends, and Jack & Jill parties galore. There are registries to guide the gift-gifting for these celebrations, but we took the initiative to gather up a few books for newlyweds to add a personal touch.
One thing I struggled with while gathering these resources was narrowness of the topic. It’s…interesting (is that the word?) that most of the books about marriage assume a white, middle class, heterosexual point of view. Marriage is exclusive to none of these qualifiers, and deeper research shows that an even higher percentage of the books published center a spiritual connection to a Christian church, which is not the only framework from which to consider the complicated work of maintaining a married relationship. As a person celebrating my eleventh wedding anniversary this month, many of these books have deeply piqued my interest, but I am also on the lookout for books for newlyweds and long-time marrieds that break the traditional mold.
No matter what kind of love being celebrated, the below books present an introspective look at balance and communication, two necessary ingredients in any relationship. Give the gift that keeps on giving with one of these titles for the newlywed in your life.
The Commitment by Dan Savage
This memoir about Savage’s consideration of marriage to his long-time partner takes a look at gay and straight matrimony from many different angles. Hilarious and thoughtful.
How To Be Married: What I Learned From Real Women on Five Continents About Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage by Jo Piazza
Another perspective, this one spanning the world and reinforcing the oft-heard and tricky-to-understand truth that marriage is hard work.
Mindful Relationship Habits: 25 Practices For Couples to Enhance Intimacy, Nurture Closeness, and Grow a Deeper Connection by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport
Habits that help couples be mindful of each other even through the hectic noise of everyday life. Perfect to set in routine early in a marriage, but helpful no matter how long you’ve been together.
The Art of Communicating by Thich Nhat Hanh
The world’s most important skill is even more important for newlyweds, and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh’s classic lays out a framework that will help not only in your marriage, but in every facet of your life.
Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give by Ada Calhoun
Marriage is the most common contract people enter into, and yet the formula for a successful, thriving relationship remains mysterious to most of us who have committed. You might not give this advice in the toast, but it’s still important to hear.
Drop the Ball: Achieving More By Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu
This might be the most important book I’ll recommend to couples setting up their family structure. While this important book does not deal with marriage specifically, it will spark important conversations about the division of labor in a partnership. The running of a home and responsibility for the maintenance of a relationship should be equally divided, and not necessarily in line with traditional gender roles.