One book I recommend for engaged/married couples is Love & Respect, written by Emerson Eggerichs.

The premise of this book is pretty simple (quoted from the back cover of the book):

“A wife has one driving need—to feel loved. When that need is met, she is happy. A husband has one driving need—to feel respected. When that need is met, he is happy.”

The author came to this conclusion while studying Ephesians 5:33: “Each of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” It is no mistake, he argues, that love and respect are specifically mentioned in Paul’s instructions on how husbands and wives should treat each other.

Why does the Bible spell it out this way? Because men and women need to be reminded of what the opposite sex most desperately needs. Men, for example, naturally think in terms of respect or disrespect. We don’t automatically think of our behaviors as loving or unloving. This, according to Eggerichs, can cause conflict in marriage. The first part of the book calls this the “crazy cycle”—he responds to her in an unloving way, and she in turn responds disrespectfully. The cycle will continue on a downward spiral unless the couple changes their attitudes and behaviors.

The second part of the book teaches men and women to initiate the “energizing cycle”—the way a healthy marriage should work. There are chapters for both men and women, which I found very helpful. I learned a great deal about the needs of my wife, and I often nodded in agreement while reading the chapters explaining the male perspective.

Love and Respect is most important book we’ve read so far (my wife and I both agree on this). We want to apply these principles in our marriage, and I also plan to use this as a reference in ministry.

Those in the States can buy this book through Amazon.com (link/picture below).

The copy I read was published here in the Philippines by Church Strengthening Ministry (the same great folks who publish my books).