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One of the hardest things for men to talk about is their feelings. I don’t know whether it is the portrayal of the ‘stoic’ man in media or what. None the less, communication is key in every relationship. In order to improve our communication as well as treating our significant others better, here are our top 5 relationship books for men.
In case no one has ever brought up the five love languages to you here they are; acts of service, receiving gifts, words of affirmation, physical touch and quality time. Gary Chapman’s best seller goes over the impact of these languages in relationships. It is essential to understand not only your partner’s love languages but also your own. This aids in your ability to communicate your needs and understand your partners. When you combine effective communication with an understanding of how your partner needs to be loved it is a recipe for a successful relationship. There is a reason this book has stood the test of time, not only is it one of the best relationship books for men but also for women as well.
How to be a 3 Percent Man has been controversial with the advice it provides. Although some of the advise might seem superficial and almost comical at points it has some good points. One of Corey Wayne’s core tenants is to be your own person. You need to find your masculine energy and your own success to become a high quality man if you want to find a high quality partner. It also addresses the adage that “nice guys finish last” with how you treat prospective partners. If you are looking to date someone you need to treat them like a lover not a friend. When you make your intentions clear it makes it easier to figure out if the other person is interested without the infamous ‘friendzone.’
One of the biggest things I disagree with in Wayne’s book is his romanticization of being ‘mysterious.’ I believe that if you want something you need to make it known. Sometimes the best way to build real lasting connections is to vulnerable with people. How can you expect others to be vulnerable if you aren’t willing to be? A lot of the information in the book is great for starting a relationship but not so much for sustaining it.
Besides the cute title there is some good advice given in Men are from Mars. One of the core tenants is that men and women are inherently different. They have different wants, fears, needs and goals. One of the things that rang the most true for me is men’s need to fix things. I always try to provide solutions when someone voices their problems to me. However, often times women just want to be listened to. They want their feelings to be appreciated and recognized without feeling invalidated. Sometimes providing solutions all the time can come off as patronizing.
Another aspect that rang true for me is the difference between men and women when needing to think about feelings or issues. Men tend to withdraw and isolate themselves to come up with a solution, myself included. Women however want to discuss the situation and their feelings. There may not be a clear-cut end to the conversation but it helps women to deal with how they are feeling. I find myself often forcing myself to discuss my feelings in my relationship to meet in the middle and go against my ‘behavioral instinct’ according to Gray. If you are anything like me this is one of the best relationship books for men struggling with difference in communication.
Validation, Validation, Validation. That is the core message of I Hear You. Sorensen discusses the importance of active listening to our friends, families and partners to validate their feelings. If someone is coming to you with a problem or something that is bothering them it is important to empathize and let them know that their feelings are validated. This can be especially helpful for conflict resolution in relationships. If your partner lets you know that something you did is bothering them, than you should start by listening and empathizing. When you immediately go on the defensive then it is keeping your relationship stagnant rather than building upon it. If you aren’t looking to build up your relationships than why be in it at all?
Dr. Sue Johnson is most well known for Emotionally Focused Therapy or EFT. EFT applies attachment science usually used for parent child relationships to couples counseling. Hold Me Tight focuses on the fact that romantic relationships are built on emotional responsiveness and vulnerability. She employs a seven part conversation to build or improve these factors in relationships. This is a great exercise to go through with your partner and taking the time to fully explore each others actions and reactions during it.
I personally think regardless if you are single or in a relationship you should read the section around ‘Finding the Raw Spots.’ Whenever you have impulsive or knee jerk reactions, it is often due to a past pain point that is being hit. It is important to address these pain points before they bleed into your everyday life.
Relationship Books for Men
In conclusion, if you are looking to improve your emotional intelligence all the aforementioned books are helpful. Some are better to read on your own and others you can read as a couple. Even if you aren’t in a relationship currently it is never a bad idea to work on yourself. If you are looking for other book suggestions check out our Books Every Man Must Read.
Do you have any other books you recommend for couples? Let us know in the comments below!