I seriously love to read! Like, seriously! I have an app on my phone right now with 292 books that I plan on reading. I would maybe even eventually read all of those if I didn’t keep adding more.

It’s a great feeling when I read a book I love and a bit of a let down when I feel like I have to trudge through one that isn’t so great. So, since people often ask about my resources, I thought I’d share this book review right here. It seems like a January kind-of thing to do. 🙂

The following are listed in no particular order (as you’ll see from my review). Also, if you choose to grab one from the highlighted affiliate link, you just may help buy my next cup of coffee.

#1: Scary Close by Donald Miller

I loved this book! Since it was written so conversationally, it drew me in from the beginning. Miller writes about vulnerability being a precursor to intimacy and teaches that you cannot truly have an intimate relationship without being vulnerable. He talks about the masks people often wear and offers some tips for becoming more intimate through vulnerability. This is not a “take this step and then this one” type of book. Instead, to walk in the vulnerability that the author suggests, you have to read the words, reflect on your own life, and then make any necessary changes. One of my favorite quotes from early in the book (and there were many): “Sometimes the story we’re telling the world isn’t half as endearing as the one that lives inside of us.”

#2: From Anger to Intimacy by Dr. Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham

I think that I’ve just found my new favorite book to recommend to any couple that struggles with conflict resolution in their marriage. This book was handy to me because it was written in a way that I can take the content into my work with others, while at the same time being incredibly practical for someone who has absolutely no training in counseling techniques. Written from a Christian point of view, the authors talk about the importance of forgiveness in marriage and give action steps for practicing forgiveness. Again, I loved many of the quotes (I’ve got underlines and circles all over the place), but here is one of my favorites: “Have you ever considered that you never need to explain to people what is going on in your heart? You may think that’s crazy, but it’s true: Your words and reactions speak loud and clear about what is going on in your heart; and when you are in conflict or a heated discussion, your heart screams the loudest. Out of the mouth, the heart speaks.”

#3: Brain Maker by Dr. David Perlmutter

I really enjoy reading books about health and the human body because I know that our body is not somehow disconnected from our brain, as can often seem to be the case when we discuss mental health issues. Everything (physical, mental, social, spiritual, psychological) is connected to make you who you are. Dr. Perlmutter focuses on the gut microbes (or microbiome) in this book. There are parts at the beginning that felt a little too scientific with quite a bit more information about the workings of the body then I actually wanted to read about. But, overall, the book was fascinating and had several studies noted that indicate how important it is for your gut to be functioning properly. His top recommendation is fermented foods and he includes recipes in this book. I’ve already made my first batch of sauerkraut! No quotes, but you’ll be happy to know that coffee, wine, and dark chocolate (in moderation, of course) is good for you. Sweet!

#4: Lovemaking by Dr. Dan and Linda Wilson

The book is written by Christians, and generally speaking, I do agree with most of what was said. Unfortunately, I felt it difficult to read at first. They use some language that made me feel as thought they were either embarrassed or lazy (for ex. intercourse was ‘I,’ erection was ‘E,’ and orgasm was ‘O.’). I’m pretty direct so this felt a bit more elementary than I like. But, for some people, who have serious discomfort talking about sex, this could be an excellent way of creating some safety. This was certainly one of the best descriptions I’ve read of the male and female anatomy. If someone were unaware of the basic workings (including how sperm is produced) this would likely be quite helpful. They’ve also got a glossary of terms and a couple of pencil drawings with the male and female anatomy labeled. Not my top recommendation, but not a bad one to draw on.

Alright, that’s all I got through this month. If you’ll looking for a practical, easy-to-read guide for improving your marriage and intimacy, check out my free guide, Becoming One. It has several suggestions for improving your relationship and is full of actual tips I often share with my couples. Grab your copy here!

Happy reading!
Jessica