When a relationship is headed toward engagement, it can be a exhilarating and exciting time for both you and your beloved. You already know so much about your SO, from political leanings to coffee preferences, that taking the next step feels inevitable. But it’s a good idea to enter any new venture with plenty of information. And there are plenty of books to read before you get engaged can help you and your partner plan a new life together while avoiding common relationship problems.
You want to start off the married life with the best foundation possible, right? There are plenty of books that will cover everything from strengthening your relationship to preparing for the realities of a two-income household. From the philosophical to the practical, these reads can make sure you and your SO are on the same page. Because it’s crucial that you and your partner understand one another’s stance on the big things (children, religion, career choices) and the small (who gets the last scoop of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter?). Ironing out these details ahead of time can save you both a lot of grief later on. Heck, even having a heads-up about the vortex of crazy that can result from planning a wedding may help you both a lot. If you do the research and ask the hard questions now, you’ll both be a stronger team by the time the actual engagement rolls around.
1. '101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged' by H. Norman Wright
Sure, it feels like you know everything about your potential fiancee. But it never hurts to double-check. H. Norman Wright's 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged will guide you and your SO through conversations about family history, financial approaches, and more heavy topics. It's worth noting, however, that the book is written from a Christian perspective, but many of its conversation topics are appropriate for couples from all backgrounds.
2. 'The Heart Of Money' by Deborah Price
Sure, it's one thing to be financially literate for your own good. But can you have a constructive conversation about money with your partner? Few topics can be so divisive. Thankfully, Deborah Price's The Heart of Money provides a guide for discussing finances in a productive way, avoiding unhealthy spending patterns, and working through financial challenges in your relationship.
3. 'Eligible' by Curtis Sittenfeld
If you need a little escape from all the engagement talk in real life, then Curtis Sittenfeld's Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice is the read for you. It's the classic story of the Bennet family, with a little reality TV and CrossFit thrown in for good measure.
4. 'Marriage Meetings For Lasting Love' by Marcia Naomi Berger
Marriage meeting aren't just for CEO-types. As explained in Marcia Naomi Berger's Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love, couples can schedule time once a week to really connect and communicate with one another. It's an easy way to keep little problems from blowing up into huge issues.
5. 'How To Love' by Thich Nhat Hanh & Jason DeAntonis
If you want a deeper meditation into the nature of lasting love, then How to Love is an excellent choice. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh shares his clear, compassionate ideas about love in this volume.
6. 'The Newlywed's Instruction Manual' by Caroline Tiger, Paul Kepple, & Scotty Reifsnyder
Read it now to stay ahead of the curve. The Newlywed's Instruction Manual will help you cover everything from decoration to family questions.
7. 'The Good Girl's Guide To Living In Sin' by Joselin Linder & Elena Donovan Mauer
Engagement talks often occur around the moving-in phase of a relationship. But have you really thought that part through? The Good Girl's Guide To Living In Sin details the ways you can divvy up bills, deal with relatives, and even buy insurance together before marriage.
8. 'Healthy Cookbook For Two' by Rockridge Press
Nip those "What do you want for dinner?" conversations in the bud. Healthy Cookbook For Two offers up affordable and yummy recipes that can keep you both happy.
9. 'With This Ring?' by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, & Melissa Jagears
Need some lighthearted escape from all the serious thoughts about commitment? Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, & Melissa Jagears each present a historical romance story for With This Ring?. The stories are filled with humor, adventure, and of course a good deal of romance.
10. 'Style Me Pretty Weddings' by Abby Larson
It's OK to daydream about the future a little bit. And Style Me Pretty Wedding by Abby Larson has enough eye candy to keep you entertained for quite a while. Just maybe hold off on major purchases until the actual engagement occurs.
11. 'The 5 Love Languages' by Gary Chapman
It's a classic for a reason. Gary Chapman's The 5 Love Languages will reveal how you and your partner express affection. Some people respond better to kind and loving words, while others prefer quality time together, for instance. It's a good way to help your communication styles sync up.