When researchers tracked more than 200 people for more than 75 years to try and unlock the secrets of human flourishing, what was their headline finding? Here it is, summed up in just five words by the study's original director:
"Happiness is love, Full stop."
Maybe you didn't need science to tell you that, but in case you wanted data-driven confirmation, here it is: relationships really are the basis of the good life for nearly all of us. And according to other research, a great partnership is also a huge boost to your career and your physical health too.
That means you'll definitely want to hold onto a great partnership once you've got one. But doing that can be as tricky as love is important. That's why Photojojo founder Amit Gupta. recently took to Facebook and Twitter to ask:
Married friends: What books on relationships did you read before getting married? Or wish you'd read?-- Amit superamit Gupta (@superamit) September 17, 2017
The discussion that followed produced a gusher of great recommendations from Gupta's friends and followers. The resultant reading list is a great place to start for couples ready to take the plunge into greater commitment or even couples who have already weathered quite a few storms together, but who feel they might benefit from a tune-up. Here they are:
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. This massive self-help bestseller was probably the most often suggested book by those responding.
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman, Another super popular suggestion, several respondents recommended basically anything by Gottman, a psychologist renowned for his research on what keeps marriages stable.
Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach. "We were terrible with money when we first got married"" confesses one responder, Sean Johnson. This book apparently solved the problem. "Learning to have a budget, said aggressive savings goals, etc. was really helpful. We haven't had a fight about money in eight years," he claims.
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton. Twice recommended in the thread, Michelle Fan calls this novel by philosopher de Botton "very easy to digest." Or, if you're looking for a shorter peek into de Botton's thinking on love and relationships, try this essay, suggested another one friend of Gupta's.
Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel. Because sex matters in marriage too. Called "brilliant" by one respondent, this book by couples therapist Perel "demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships," according to Amazon.
Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch: "Title is meh; book is life changing," enthused Siona van Dijk. "I've given it to people who've said it's the best book on intimacy they've read and that it's changed their lives."
Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson. Johnson is known for developing a form of couples therapy known as Emotionally Focused Therapy. This book laying out its principles garnered multiple recommendations.
Happily coupled up readers, what suggestions would you add to this list?