In the last couple weeks I've been getting through a large quantity of marriage related resources and that was because I was excited and passionate to keep reading and taking note of what other people have said.
But one of the lessons I've been learning is that sometimes you are ripe to hear a certain message and grow in a particular way when others may not be at the same time. My fiancé was probably not as ripe for all of the messages shared in these resources in the same time as myself and so I share this with you to warn against showing these books down your partner's throat.
It can come across quite forceful when you are passionate about the advice a resource has and want your partner to know it too. Just make sure you are asking nicely for them to join you in reading books like this and that they don't end up taking on a lot of pressure from you.
With that out of the way here are my recommendations:
How Do You Know if Someone Is "The One"?
Video by Jefferson Bethke
Something a lot of people worry about before they actually get engaged is if their partner is 'the one.' The truth is this concept was created by Hollywood; it is not from God. In this video Jeff breaks down the concept of free will when you're looking for your future husband or wife.
Love & Respect
Book by Dr. Emerson Eggriches, 336 pages
Audiobook read by the author, 9 hours
The best non-fiction book I've ever read. The differences between men and women from the way we are coded to function is an incredible display of God's image. The realisation that men are blue, women are pink, coming together to make purple; the colour of royalty was something I also came up with in 2013 but that's how this book concludes.
The Meaning Of Marriage
Book by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller, 288 pages
Audiobook read by James Loyd, 8 hours
There are heaps of ideas in here that if given the chance I'd shove them down everyone's throat. This book could be responsible for cleaning up the entire world's view of marriage from a self-centred celebration of the love they already have (which I don't agree with as the purpose of having a wedding) to a covenant of best friends who choose to help each other become more like christ.
Marriage is the most challenging and rewarding relationship you could ever have with another human, however the world's idea of living together first is like knowing the questions before going into an exam. This book explains those rewards and helps you form the right mindset that will have you facing the challenges in the right way.
Laugh your way to a Better Marriage
Seminar by Mark Gungor
I'll link you to the official wed page where you can order the dvd, but I have found it on YouTube saved it in downloads and listened to it in the car. I don't actually recommend listening without watching because you end up missing a lot of jokes.
Mark's performance shows training in voice and drama, and comedy. This recording is over a decade old but the humour and the truth bombs that go off every minute may just be timeless. Pop it on and watch this one together with your spouse, or better yet the whole family.
Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married
Book by Gary Chapman, 161 pages
Audiobook read by Chris Fabry, 4 hours long
This is one that I find best to read a single chapter when you're ready to improve yourself. This is 12 chapters talking about very different elements of married life and perspective to help you prepare for it. We all have dreams and expectations of what it will be like when we get married but it's important to have perspective of what is realistic and actually fits in with the character's of yourself and your partner.
The 5 Love Languages
Book by Gary Chapman, 203 pages
Audiobook read by the author, 5 hours
I haven't read this one in a long time but I know it's a good one to pick up every once in a while to read the chapter that will most help you love on your spouse. It turns out that different people have different ways of showing their love and different things others can do for them will have more impact on making them feel loved even if they are meant with the same intention of love.
Through years of marriage counselling Garry chapman has found it useful to categorise the ultimate ways people receive and express love into 5 categories; touch, quality time, gifts, serving and words. It's important to help your partner and your self in loving each other by working out which of these can make the best impact on your heart for feeling cared for and loved.