8 Books to Prepare You for Marriage

8 books to prepare for marriage

Marriage is AWESOME. And it’s work.

Donald Miller once compared marriage to a marathon. You don’t just wake up one day and decide that you want to run a marathon without training.

In the same way, you don’t just wake up one day and decide you want to get married without training. Great ways to train for marriage is by talking to and being mentored by people who are already married, meet with a pre-marital counselor, and also by reading books.

Marriage is more than just living together and binge watching your mutual guilty pleasure show. Marriage involves several different aspects of intimacy. I’ve broken three big ones down for today’s post: spiritual intimacy, practical marriage, and physical intimacy. Today I’m sharing several books that I read before and during my first year of marriage.

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Spiritual Intimacy

Sacred Marriage – Gary Thomas

I read Sacred Marriagewhen I was in college, and definitely picked it back up the summer Mr. M and I got engaged. Gary Thomas explains marriage as a union that reflects our relationship with Christ. He asks, “What if God designed marriage to make us  holy more than to make us happy?” Ouch. But so good! It is so easy to fall into the assumption that marriage is an avenue towards happiness; but anyone who has been married more than a few weeks could tell you that your spouse does not define your happiness. While Mr. M makes me incredibly happy, he also encourages and pushes me to be a holier follower of God. Sacred Marriage showed me that a healthy Christian marriage involves sacrifice, vulnerability, and keeping God at the center of your marriage.

The Meaning of Marriage – Tim Keller

It took me a long time to get through The Meaning of Marriage due the density of of Tim Keller’s wisdom. Plus, I’m more of a feeler and Tim Keller isn’t a super emotional writer. However, I learned a lot about the sanctity and practicality of serving our spouses in marriage.

You & Me Forever – Francis Chang

When Mr. M and I picked up You and Me Forever, I thought I was reading a book about making a life long commitment to your spouse. However, this book is so much MORE than that. Francis Chan transcends marriage here on earth, and talks about how our marriage prepares us for heaven. Similarly to Gary Chapman, he states that marriage is not here to make us happy. Nor is marriage something we use to serve ourselves; instead, our marriage is a ministry opportunity to serve the world and bring people closer to Christ. This book is convicting. And intense.

8 Books to Prepare You for Marriage

Practical Marriage

For Men Only/For Women Only – Shaunti & Jeff Feldhan 

I totally read both the “For Women” only and “For Men Only” books because a) I’m a reading fiend and b) I wanted to know what Shaunti and Jeff had to say. For Men Only/For Women Only is a basic beginner “How-to” for marriage. I loved the realistic approach it takes towards marriage. It uses anecdotal research to explain why we are the way we are, and how to best love our spouse in a way that will cross those perspectives.

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married – Gary Chapman 

I will read any book I can get my hand on by Gary Chapman. He has another great book called The Five Love Languages; I haven’t read The Five Love Languages yet, but I have taken this test multiple times throughout my relationship. Good news: I’m scored high in all five langauges. Does that make me easily lovable or high maintenance? Who knwos. But the Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married breaks down marriage in all its practicality. While marriage can be love and flowers, it is also mundane and interspersed with occasional conflict. But in a healthy conflict, Dr. Chapman tells us that “conflicts have the potential of teaching us how to love, support, and encourage each other.” I would also recommend his book, 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Enaged!

8 Books to Prepare You for Marriage

Physical Intimacy

OK so I’ve ranked this in order of . . . detail, let’s say. I’ve never gotten into the subject of physical intimacy much on the blog, because my dad reads my blog, and so do some of my Zimbabwean Aunties – and sometimes they pass my blog posts onto my awesome Mother in Law. But if you want to meet me for a cup of coffee, I love to talk about and celebrate the gift of intimacy within marriage, so we can dive deeper there. 😉

Darling – Aanna Greer

I’ve been a follower of Aanna’s blog for a couple of years. I more specifically followed her series, “Extra Virgin” where she dished on marriage and sex in a healthy, celebratory way. So when she released her book Darling, she was gracious enough to send me her book in exchange for a blog review.

I loved how Darling is laid out. She has sectioned her book into three sections: For Single Darlings, Engaged Darlings, and Married Darlings. Aana’s objective is to celebrate female sexuality in a godly way. Reading Darling is like sitting down with an older sister who is dishing all the details of sex.

The Single Darling section starts out with stating God’s design and purpose for sex, and then goes into understanding and caring for your body. She talks about everything from periods to infections to gynecology appointments.

Since I was already married when I picked up Darling, I focused on the Engaegd Darlings and Married Darlings section. This lady is packed full of so much wisdom! I wish I had this book when I was engaged. She gives amazing practical advice on preparing your body and your mind for your honeymoon.

In the Married Darlings section, she breaks it down to the basics, understanding sexual arousal, true sex appeal, and more. I love that Aanna gets real about sex, but also gets real about sexual intimacy. Sexual intimacy is more than having passioante sex, but it is about the intimacy you and your spouse carry throughout the day. (Women are crockpots, anyone?) One of my favorite lines from Darling says, “Instead of passion, make intimacy the plumb line in your sex life.”

Sheet Music – Dr. Kevin Leman 

My Aunt sent me Sheet Musicabout a month before Mr. M and I got married last year. I highly recommend Sheet Music as a honeymoon book! While we did read a couple chapters before we got married, Dr. Leman says to wait to read chapters 4 – 16 until the honeymoon because he gets detailed in discussing all aspects of sexual intimacy! While Mr. M and I have hardly ever finish books we read together, we made it all the to chapter 14, which is a good run for us.

Good Loving – Dr. Melissa Jones

If Sheet Music is the book to read on your honeymoon, Good Loving is the book to read after your honeymoon. (Besides, who has time to read two books on their honeymoon?) Since Good Loving is written by a woman, she goes into great detail for the ladies. I felt like I was reading a Christian Cosmopolitan magazine reading this book. While she covers some topics I don’t necessarily feel comfortable or agree with, I appreciate that she brings so much insight into sex!

What books have you found helpful to prepare you for marriage? Tell me in the comments below!

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