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Ah, love! So wonderful. But so complicated. It can be tough to find, even harder to sustain, and excruciating when it ends. These five recently released books take different approaches, but each is meant to help you navigate the complexities of relationships, whether you’re looking to forge new connections or make the union you have more joyful and satisfying.
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The Love Prescription: 7 Days to More Intimacy, Connection, and Joy
by John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman
If you and your honey have drifted apart over the years, you might consider advice from the Gottmans. They’ve not only been married for more than three decades, they’re also clinical psychologists who’ve spent their careers studying love and relationship issues. Their book, which came out in September, is an easily digestible distillation of their wisdom into a “bite-sized” weeklong action plan for partners hoping to deepen their bonds. One key takeaway? Love is not about grand gestures (“It’s not John Cusack standing outside your bedroom window with a boom box,” they write in a nod to the famous Say Anything scene), but about “little things done often” — predictable ways of connecting that you can design together and count on.
Sex Talks: The Five Conversations That Will Transform Your Love Life
by Vanessa Marin and Xander Marin
The married authors — hosts of the podcast Pillow Talks — have said they learned the importance of communication from their own former sexual troubles, which included “orgasm issues, mismatched sex drives and performance anxiety,” as Vanessa Marin, a psychotherapist, wrote in a recent essay in Time magazine. “Despite my chosen career path, we struggled to talk about our own sex life.” No more, apparently. Their new guide walks readers through five conversations that they believe are crucial to a good sex life and a strong emotional connection, starting with the simple “acknowledgement” discussion: that “sex is a thing, and we have it.” Some couples, the authors note, don’t even speak about what happens (or doesn’t happen) between the sheets. This book, out Feb. 7, gives them a good place to start.