Show Them You're Listening with These Relationship Titles
Four titles that help you listen to – and with – your significant other
Healthy relationships are built on mutual fondness, trust and understanding: tenets that can’t be established without solid communication. And though we may intuitively feel that communicating is all about voicing our thoughts, it’s also about being silent – creating a space in which your partner can express *their *thoughts.
In this way, a good relationship is like a good audiobook: the more you listen, the more you’ll get out of it.
In this article, we’re looking at a few relationship titles that may help you listen to – and with – your significant other. Take the time at the end of your respective busy days to come together, talk together and listen together. Not every day can be the high watermark for your relationship, but each day can be a learning process toward a deeper understanding of yourself, your partner and the ways you interact.
Now. Let’s get intimate.
50-odd years ago, John Lennon wrote the song, “All You Need Is Love.” But is that really true? Or should we trust Trent Reznor who, 35 years later, wrote a song called “Love Is Not Enough”? If you’re Mark Manson, you’re inclined to believe the latter.
Mark doesn’t believe that love isn’t special. He just doesn’t think it’s enough. When love is placed before anything else, it promotes co-dependency and erases what makes us individually special. As he puts it on his blog: “A loving relationship is supposed to supplement our individual identity, not damage it or replace it.”
To hammer home his point in Love is Not Enough, Mark interviews people in a variety of relationship situations and counsels them in live therapy sessions. The result reveals some interesting universal truths about what people are willing to sacrifice for their relationship and how, paradoxically, un-idealizing love can make it grow even stronger.
Listening to other people’s stories can open up avenues for discussing your own story. It can help you contextualize your own relationship, and see your issues from a fresh perspective.
Those with kids understand parenthood is inextricably linked to your relationship. There’s no talking about one without at least mentioning the other. So, for parents, communicating about parenthood is key.
Stephen Marche’s How Not to Fck up Your Kids Too Bad talks specifically about fatherhood, but his learnings and experiences are universally applicable in a lot of ways. Read through the stellar Audible reviews and you’ll find plenty of moms, soon-to-be dads and curious listeners lauding Marche’s fresh takes on the topic. Even parents without kids can discover the value of communication and the importance of working with your partner through life’s challenges.
The Audible Original Podcast is essentially a discussion of the things many of us are afraid to discuss. Giving your kids the “big talks” about pot and pornography. Navigating intimacy after the baby arrives. The real effect raising your voice has on your kids. In each episode, Marche proves a thoughtful – if brash – investigator in these subjects, one who isn’t afraid to learn alongside the listener.
And look out for Marche’s upcoming podcast, How Not to Fck Up Your Marriage Too Bad, which promises to transplant his trademark acuteness and humour directly onto the topic of relationships.
Esther Perel is a godsend. She’s frank with her opinions, generous with her advice, thoughtful with her critiques and calm in her delivery. It’s no wonder the Belgian psychotherapist’s podcast is so popular.
In The Arc of Love, the third installment in her Where Should We Begin series, Perel encourages you to look at a relationship as a living, constantly developing story. She says of the therapy sessions that make up the podcast, “when people come in to a couple’s session, they come in with a story. And the goal at the end of the session is that they have to leave with a different story”.
As for how the podcast can help you with your own relationship, we’ll also let Perel handle that one, “Even though the story may be completely different from the circumstances of your life, you recognize principles, experiences, interactions, feelings that are very, very close to you. And that notion that the more you actually are entering the relationships of others, the more you are actually understanding yourself is a beautiful dialectic…” Well said.
For a foray into a more specific aspect of relationships, you can listen to Perel tackle the elephant in the bedroom in Mating in Captivity (a title that’s uniquely relevant today). And for further listening on relationships, explore relationship audiobooks at Audible.
Glennon Doyle’s audiobook memoir may be about one marriage’s rough patch, but contained within it are universal lessons about confronting pain, demanding self-authenticity and developing a truer, deeper relationship.
When Doyle learned of her husband’s infidelity, she was scared, despondent and confused. Wasn’t she enough? But rather than gritting her teeth and putting a smile on her face like so many women are taught to do, she decided to let it out. What she discovered was that, “everything the world teaches us about femininity and masculinity can make it impossible for a woman and a man to actually know and love each other”. The story traces both her and her husband’s paths toward self-discovery, mutual understanding and, eventually, reconciliation. It is a powerful testament to the value of listening to oneself, both for personal and interpersonal reasons.
An Oprah Book Club pick, Love Warrior has impacted and inspired a lot of people. It’s a fantastic listen for a couple looking to grow closer together (and maybe shed a few cathartic tears along the way). For other inspiring Oprah's Book Club picks check out the link!
Listening can mean many things. It can mean listening to your partner’s needs. It can mean listening to your own needs. And it can occasionally involve you both staying silent, listening to the wisdom, experience and advice of others.
If you’ve discovered an audiobook or podcast that’s helped you form a stronger relationship, let us know about it! Join the conversation on Facebook.