One of the questions the marriage team at Watermark receives on a regular basis is the following:
“What are some resources/books/websites my spouse and I can read together to help strengthen our marriage?”
As we all know, you can find an overabundance of marriage, intimacy, and relationship books on Amazon and an equal number of articles, blogs, and podcasts all over the web. In order to best help resource other churches and members of our body who ask similar questions, we’ve compiled a list of some of our team’s favorite marriage resources.
- Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything for Your Marriage, by Gary Thomas – Great read that will challenge every married couple, whether married for one week or 50 years!
- The Meaning of Marriage, by Timothy & Kathy Keller. Great for married, single, dating and engaged. Solid, Christ-centered, challenging. You can also find a small group video/workbook curriculum.
- Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas. What if God designed marriage to make us holy, not happy? Highly recommended and challenging for any couple. This book seems to get better the longer you’ve been married.
- Fun Loving You, by Ted Cunningham. Really fun book, focuses on the importance of dating your spouse and making them a priority. Ecclesiastes 9:9 is the key text for this book.
- A Lasting Promise, by Scott Stanley. We have all our newly married couples read this one. Great book on learning how to communicate and conflict effectively. Also covers expectations, commitment and much more.
- This Momentary Marriage, by John Piper. Vintage John Piper – dense, challenging, and theologically rich. It takes some time to read any chapter in the book because each page and chapter are so full of challenging truths.
- The Mingling of Souls, by Matt Chandler. Great new book on marriage from Matt Chandler, unpacks what God says about relationships and marriage in the Song of Solomon.
- You and Me Forever, by Francis Chan. This book by Francis & Lisa Chan is more about the Christian Life and anticipating the ‘forever’ rather than marriage. Provides an excellent perspective on the greater purpose of marriage.
- Two As One, Wife in Pursuit, Husband in Pursuit- by Ryan & Selena Frederick of Fierce Marriage. 3 different devotionals for couples.
- Happily Ever After: Finding Grace in the Messes of Marriage, by Desiring God- various authors including Francis Chan and John Piper.
- Devotions for a Sacred Marriage: A Year of Weekly Devotions for Couples, by Gary Thomas (based on his book by the same name).
- If a couple can’t go through the Merge premarital class at Watermark, we encourage them to read Ready or Knot?: 12 Conversations Every Couple Needs to Have before Marriage, by Scott Kedersha.
- If you’re planning a wedding, look no further than A Christ-Centered Wedding, by Catherine Strode Parks. Helps get the focus in the right place.
For the Blended/Step Family:
- The Smart Stepfamily, by Ron Deal. Best book we know of for blended/step families. Ron Deal loves Jesus, and we trust everything we read that he writes about when it comes to blended families. Great library of books for couples, moms, and dads.
- For blended families, check out Family Life’s website.
- For Better or For Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House, by Ruth & Patrick Schwenk. Helps couples strengthen their marriage when the tsunami of children enter their world.
- The New Dad’s Playbook, by Benjamin Watson. For the new dads out there. This helps the a new dad learn what his wife is going through, what to expect, and how he can best serve his wife and baby.
- Desiring God often features blog posts on marriage, intimacy, pornography, dating, and much more relationship-centric. They also have a great topical index.
- Fierce Marriage – They’re working on a book right now, so their post frequency is down, but everything they post is worth reading.
- Thriving Marriages sends out a daily email with posts on marriage, intimacy, communication and much more. They curate content from other sites and distribute a variety of posts.
- Gary Thomas consistently creates excellent content in both books and articles. A long-time favorite of the Watermark married team!
- Watermark marriage blog – every two weeks, the Watermark marriage team releases new content. You can subscribe through this link: re|engage reminder.
- ScottKedersha.com – Practical, biblical, and authentic encouragement to follow Christ and grow relationships. We’re a little partial to this guy.
We wish we had more to offer here, but a few podcasts we like include:
- The MarriedPeople Podcast, from our friend, Ted Lowe. This is a new podcast and seeks to help make marriage real, fun, and simple.
- Fierce Marriage Podcast – Solid content in each new episode, on topics such as money, sex, in-laws, and communication.
Americans spend an average of 17 minutes of their day reading for leisure or recreation. How different would our marriages look if we used those 17 minutes to fill our hearts and minds with books or articles that helped strengthened our marriages? Blogger, author, and book reviewer Tim Challies takes it one step further and challenges us in his article “Before You Read Another Book on Marriage,”
“Books are wonderful, and I believe strongly in the value of reading. Books on marriage can be wonderful, and I have benefitted from reading many of them. But the best and most helpful books on marriage are the ones being lived out by husbands and wives in your family, in your neighborhood, and especially in your church. Read them longer and more thoroughly than any other.”
We couldn’t agree more. Read some great books. Check out some websites. Use your 17 minutes wisely. But, if you really want to learn more about marriage and how to strengthen your relationship, invite a respected couple over for dinner. Interview someone with a great marriage. Learn from them. Go to a premarital ministry like Merge if you’re seriously dating or engaged, and if you’re married, go strengthen and grow your relationship through re|engage.