Love is a theme that appears in literature, music, movies and more. People are obsessed with the idea of being in love, but sometimes these romanticized notions are overly idealistic, even harmful. Learning about the psychology behind love and emotion will improve your relationships, help you increase your happiness, and boost your quality of life.
These top relationship psychology books focus on human emotions, behaviors, and especially on the topic of love and our infatuation with it. The advice in these books will provide insight into partner’s behavior and help you strengthen your relationship to create a long-lasting bond.
No matter who you are, these fourteen books will teach you something new about the nature of romance and love.
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1. A Book About Love
Many people fall in love, but not everybody can stay in love. Relationships take work, communication, and understanding. In A Book About Love, Jonah Lehrer teaches us that love can be examined scientifically. The sensation of being in love is caused by increased levels of dopamine, but once that wears off both partners need to work hard to make the relationship last.
Leher discusses the attachment theory, a term in psychology that refers to a person’s need for a strong bond in order to grow and take risks. The skills in this book are meant to be studied and practiced over time either alone or with a significant other.
2. Getting The Love You Want: A Guide For Couples
Studying and learning about the science behind love is a great first step for repairing or fortifying your marriage. Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples is for partners that want to obtain a loving and supportive relationship. Imago therapy, practiced in thirty countries, is the idea of Dr. Harville Hendrix and revolves around unconscious images of familiar love.
This guide is one of the best relationship books for married couples. There are exercises and strategies for adjusting the way you react to your spouse by understanding one another’s feelings. No matter how long you have been married, this guide will help you communicate more effectively.
3. The Psychology Of Relationships
This is a relationship help books that both students and casual readers can enjoy. The Psychology of Relationships covers the development, preservation, and breakdown of human connections.
This book is an introduction, so it may be light on the subject matter. The tone is easy to understand and full of information that can help you learn more about how psychology can enhance your relationship. There are helpful resources including a love quiz and tips for dealing with conflict. Plus, there are plenty of interesting details you can bring up the next time you meet new singles.
4. Why We Love: The Nature And Chemistry Of Romantic Love
The concept of love has fascinated people for generations. Helen Fisher describes the journey love takes from starting in the brain and leading to the effects it has on our bodies and actions. Why We Love describes what happens when a person is infatuated with someone. Using brain scans, Fisher provided fascinating proof that certain areas of the brain start going into overdrive when you’re in love.
Learn what love is, why we love certain people, and how to keep your relationship strong. Fisher uses simple and comprehensive language so anybody can enjoy this book. This is one of the best relationship books that covers why we have feelings of lust and why we fall head over heels in love. As it turns out, having chemistry with someone makes a lot of sense.
5. The Psychology Of Love
While Freud may not be the first author you think of when looking for relationship books, The Psychology of Love explains the science behind relationships and the reasons we act the way we do. If you’re curious about early theories on love and lust, give it a read.
This book is great for students, fans of Freud’s work, or anyone curious about early psychological studies on love and sexuality. Some of the theories are relevant even today and may help you understand your partner or why you are attracted to certain people.
6. The New Psychology Of Love
This book is filled with essays that explain scientific theories about love and our understanding of the subject. The topics are more academic, but it is a great read for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding about the psychology of love.
7. The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work
If your marriage is struggling, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work will help you repair your relationship before it’s too late. John M. Gottman is a psychology professor who studies marital problems and compiled his findings into this book.
The key to preventing divorce and preserving a happy marriage comes down to seven principles: maintaining a love map, fostering fondness and admiration for one another, turning toward instead of away from each other, accepting influence, solving conflicts, coping with problems that are not solvable, and creating shared meaning. The advice in this book is easy to follow and great for any struggling couple that wants to prevent divorce.
8. Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations For A Lifetime Of Love
Focusing on the idea of an attachment bond, Hold Me Tight uses different techniques to help couples work toward enriching their relationship. The book uses the psychological principle of attachment theory to explain why we crave emotional closeness in our romantic relationships.
The advice in this book is designed to help couples communicate in order to work through problems easier. Discussing issues isn’t always easy, but this book helps you take the first steps toward solving problems in order to stabilize your marriage.
9. Games People Play
Sometimes a relationship doesn’t work out because of bad communication or a lack of willingness to change. Games People Play is an older, but fascinating book about the “games” and damaging behavioral patterns of some people that can impact relationships.
This book talks about hidden messages and meanings that can negatively affect communication and how toxic people should be avoided. Reading this may give you an idea of why your spouse behaves in a certain way or a clear idea of what a healthy relationship. is You may realize your own bad habits that you can fix to improve your overall happiness and avoid future drama.
10. A General Theory Of Love
Have you ever been curious about the science behind human emotions? A General Theory of Love explains that love has a special architecture that can be studied and investigated. Love has laws and logic, and understanding the psychology of love can help foster better intimate relationships.
Our brains are actually connected to the people we care about. The link between family members that develops early in childhood affects and shapes us later in life. A General Theory of Love has plenty of scientific studies on emotion and attachment all presented in an easy-to-read style. This is a great text for anyone that wants to learn more about neuroscience and how our brains understand the concept of love.
11. The Relationship Skills Workbook: A Do-it-yourself Guide To A Thriving Relationship
Sometimes even the most devoted couples fight. The Relationship Skills Workbook covers problematic issues such as power struggles, arguments and conflicts, and the “blame game”. It also has tips to maintain a healthy and loving relationship. Colwell discusses the importance of actively listening and understanding your partner rather than placing blame and letting negative emotions ruin your relationship.
The reason this is one of the top relationship books is the advice is useful in any partnership, romantic or otherwise. Plus, it's a workbook so you can highlight relevant advice, write notes in the margins, and mark important paragraphs.
12. The 48 Laws Of Power
Learn about the history of human power by reading studies on the laws of power that govern human behavior. While The 48 Laws of Power isn’t focused on romantic relationships, this book will provide you with new insight on why people act the way they do and how you can avoid destructive partnerships.
This may be a difficult read, but it covers the psychology behind certain human behaviors. Power games exist in our everyday life, and this book can be used to help you avoid toxic relationships and people, leading to more control in your life.
13. The Mastery Of Love: A Practical Guide To The Art Of Relationship
Avoiding drama and resolving conflict in your relationship are keys to a successful partnership. The Mastery of Love deals with common myths and assumptions that can undermine a relationship. Ruiz talks about how certain misconceptions and beliefs hurt our self-esteem and why power struggles are destructive. He also explains the psychology behind our need for love, how to love ourselves, and how to accept and forgive.
The advice in this book is useful regardless of what stage of a relationship you are in (or if you're single and looking for a partner). The focus on how fear impacts our romantic relationships is eye-opening and Ruiz offers plenty of advice on how to achieve your own happiness. Like many relationship help books, the tone of this book is easy to read and good for casual readers.
14. Extraordinary Relationships: A New Way Of Thinking About Human Interactions
Focusing on developing yourself is an important factor in finding happiness in your relationships. From work relationships to romantic partnerships, Extraordinary Relationships teaches you how the family systems theory can be applied to everyday relationships.
This book focuses on the family as an emotional unit and explains the importance of roles and interactions for the development of an individual. Since interactions with our families affect our thoughts, feelings, and actions, it's clear that our thoughts on decision making and responsibilities impact our relationships. Understanding the family systems theory and how it affects your decisions and behaviors can vastly improve your intimate relationships.
15. Learn More About Yourself and Your Relationships
Learning about the science of love, emotion, and the nature of human behavior can improve your relationships. By understanding and communicating with your significant other you both feel more valued, you reduce the stress in your partnership, and develop a stronger bond with one another.
These top relationship books will teach you something new about why we see love in a certain way and how you can better improve your future connections. They clearly explain our obsession with love, the reason people behave in a certain way, and teach you how to avoid conflict. Reading these books will show you more about yourself and your everyday relationships.
This is a guest post by Kate Brooks.
Author: Kate Brooks is a Ph.D. in Psychology, relationship counselor and a freelance writer. She loves everything Japanese and dreams of moving to Tokyo.