To succeed in a relationship, you shouldn’t be looking at ways to change your partner - you should be looking at ways you can improve.
Self-help books on relationships and communication can help you become a better person. For yourself and your partner. Written by experts with years of experience in the twin fields of self-improvement and relationships, these books will help you learn new skills, grow as a person.
You'll master exactly how to communicate in any relationship you enter into.
Want to be the best person you can be who enjoys life to the full? Let’s take a look at a list of books to help with relationship communication. In this guide, we’ll be briefly reviewing each one and discussing what makes them worth reading, as well as where you can grab a copy.
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Whole Again by Jackson MacKenzie is a must-read for anyone who’s lived through a toxic relationship, but who perhaps hasn’t come out the other side just yet.
And if you haven’t come out the other side just yet? That’s totally fine - you’ve got time.
As the author shows, once we’re armed with the right tools and insights, we can learn to love ourselves again. But it all starts with knowledge of what happened, and a willingness to push forwards through the pain.
Written with a heady mixture of compassion and honest realism, Whole Again is a good place to start if you want to heal and find love again.
The 5 Love Languages is a New York Times bestseller written by Dr. Gary Chapman, one of the gurus when it comes to understanding love languages.
What are the love languages?
They’re the different ways in which we and our partners express who we are and how we feel in a relationship. Once you can understand your love language and your partner's love language, your relationship will flourish in new ways.
Gary Chapman uses his book to introduce you to the love languages. He then delivers actionable advice that will help you sustain relationships and keep the love flowing beyond the initial honeymoon period.
Love More, Fight Less is one of the best communication self-help books that’s aimed at couples (as opposed to individuals).
It’s perfect if you and your partner are a) experiencing too much conflict at the moment and b) want a fun, actionable way of addressing conflict.
At the core of Gina Senarighi’s book are activities that you can do together. These activities are designed to build your communication skills. By the end of the book, you’ll be in a better position to deal with potential fights without judgment - and with a calm, clear head.
The book also walks you through the most common obstacles all relationships face. It’s accessible, easy to read and can act as your go-to book whenever new problems arise.
Who hasn’t gone through life and said, “I wish I knew this earlier”?
We’d all be lying if we said we hadn’t.
Author Toni Tone has certainly said it. She's experienced heartache and she wants to let you know that it’s totally possible to bounce back from a relationship and learn to love yourself first.
I Wish I Knew This Earlier is a practical self-help book in which the author addresses the reader 1:1. Toni uses her personal experiences that are essentially your experiences. In her book, she takes on the mantle of mentor, showing you how to prepare for a relationship better.
You’ll learn the power of communication, asking the right questions, as well as taking responsibility for your mistakes. You’ll also learn how to set boundaries and put yourself first when it’s needed.
Had a bad relationship?
Maybe you sucked at setting boundaries. Maybe you got surrounded by toxicity and drama.
Maybe it’s made you wary of getting into a new relationship.
Author Nedra Glover Tawwab has written an excellent self-help book for singles who want to learn how to a) set boundaries and b) communicate them with their partner.
Drawing on research and her experiences as a therapist, Tawwab uses Set Boundaries, Find Peace to show you the 6 most important boundaries. These include sexual boundaries, emotional boundaries and time boundaries.
Tawwab then shows you how to set them so that you enjoy a healthier life for yourself - and for your partner.
2018 IPA book award winner I Hear You is a short read that will help you improve your daily conversations with your partner.
Not just that, but this golden nugget of a self-help book will also improve the way you converse at work, with friends and family - and beyond.
The thesis behind the book is that most of us can be all-star communicators if we could just make a few incremental changes to the way we talk. By the end of the book, author Michael S. Sorensen will have shown you how to calmly approach conflict, how to quickly de-escalate an argument, as well as how to rationally share your POV and give feedback without offending people.
What is active listening?
It’s when you give someone your full attention whenever they’re talking to you.
This means instead of “listening” to your partner while flicking through your phone, you’re actually giving them 100% of your engagement.
Not only will this ensure they feel more respected, it will also ensure you understand them properly.
According to Nixaly Leonardo, active listening isn’t something that comes easy to us. In their book Active Listening Techniques, they show us the basic fundamentals of active listening. Using examples, they also teach us how to put our new skills to use.
By the end of the book, you’ll be in a stronger position to put your new communication skills to use with your partner. You’ll be able to listen to them, understand them, ask questions and improve your relationship as a result.
4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication is a multi-award-winning bestseller that’s designed to help you improve relationship communication - and communication with the world at large.
Keys include the emphatic listening skill, which shows you how to employ empathy when talking to those closest to you.
Useful and accessible, Bento C. Leal III’s book is short but actionable. Like all self-help books, it will only work if you put the wisdom and advice into action.
And because it can be read in 60 minutes or less, there’s no excuse for not working quickly through it - before reading it over and over again until everything sticks.
Love Me, Don’t Leave Me is aimed at those who have suffered from a lack of love over the years, and who have now developed a fear of abandonment. And when we suffer from a fear of abandonment, repressed feelings of depression, shame and anger can make it very hard for us to sustain relationships.
Author Michelle Skeen uses compassion and clarity to dissect feelings of unworthiness. She points out why someone might not be able to relax in a relationship, and why they’re unable to experience a “normal” relationship.
The book contains helpful insights and practical exercises, and it can get to the core of your issues before showing you how to overcome anxiety and be a better, stronger person.
Hold Me Tight is a self-help book that can be read alone or with your partner. Written by experts in couple interventions Dr Sue Johnson, this 300+ book takes an honest approach to navigating some of the biggest issues that blight relationships. These include communication, as well as understanding/failing to understand the other person.
And although it might now be well over a decade old, Hold Me Tight hasn’t aged at all. This is because the way relationships work are - and always will be - the same.
Be warned, though: This is not a pop psychology book. Instead, you’ll likely need to put aside a few weeks to get through it. And even then, you’ll need to take notes and be prepared for the fact that there are no easy answers.
Practicing active listening (as promoted by Nixaly Leonardo in her book Active Listening Techniques) is a good place to start because communication is as much about listening and understanding the other person as it is about putting across our point of view. This will help you to listen and be heard when talking to your partner.
When it’s time to raise a potentially tricky subject, make sure you process your feelings beforehand. Only when you’re calm and rational should you raise a tough issue.
Timing is key, too. If your partner is busy and distracted, now is not the time to engage them on something that’s bothering you.
Naturally, communication in a relationship isn’t just about dealing with conflict. It’s also about making sure you check in on your partner each day. Ask them how they’re feeling, and how their day has been. Leave notes for them, text them and be there for them.
As well as all of this, it’s a smart idea to read through a list of books to help with relationship communication, such as Whole Again by Jackson MacKenzie.
Communication is important for a healthy relationship. Intimacy is just as important because, without closeness, there’s no emotional connection or bond between the two of you.
To improve intimacy, you can start by talking to your partner about your feelings. This might encourage the two of you to reminisce about how good things once were, and by doing this you might reignite old feelings of intimacy.
You could also try touching each other more, as physical touch is a great way of releasing more oxytocin in the two of you. Oxytocin is itself an essential hormone that plays a key role in human bonding.
More than anything, it’s super important that the two of you stay connected. This can mean spending time together, taking walks, and scheduling dinner dates. And if it’s the case that you simply haven’t been able to find the time for sex, you could try to schedule sex. Scheduling sex might not be romantic, but it can help to revive an intimate connection between the two of you.
The number one thing is to first of all make sure you’re ready for a relationship. Are you happy? Do you love who you are? If you don’t like yourself and you’re constantly looking for happiness in external things, you’re not ready for a relationship.
Then, it’s time to become the best possible version of yourself for your partner. This can mean eating healthily, sleeping more and always seeking out more knowledge. Learn new skills and become someone your partner can rely on.
It can also mean making sure you have interests independent of your partner. Having your own interests gives the two of you the chance to do things independently of one another (important).
Having a purpose in life will also help you to be the best possible version of yourself. Purpose creates meaning and gives you direction. It gives you values to live by, makes you ambitious and, in turn, you’ll become the kind of person your partner looks up to, admires and wants to share their life with.
Also see: 15 Best Relationship Books For Guys (Sex and Love)┃ 14 Best Psychology Books About Relationships ┃12 Best Relationship Books for Singles┃12 Best Relationship Books On Audible┃The 10 Best Books on Relationships ┃10 Best Relationship Books For Couples