Book Recommendations, Muslim Shelf Space, Non Fiction Books

Books To Read Before You Get Married

I know quite a few people that are getting married this year and as I have been asked by a few different people about book recommendations to read before getting married I decided to write this post to put all of the books I have read and benefitted from in one place.

These are a mixture of Islamic marriage books which deal with the rights and responsibilities that Allah has given us and books that while may not always align with Islamic teachings are still very beneficial and hold a lot of insight to managing different issues in your marriage.

I also decided to include some books which are more for your own benefit as while we are looking to improve our marriage it is just as important to continue to learn and grow ourselves. Especially when it comes to Islam and how to manage our own weaknesses and strengths.

These are books that anyone can find beneficial regardless of whether they are married or not:

Secrets to a Successful Marriage by Afshan Khan

The Muslim Marriage Handbook by Huda Khattab

Traversing the Highs and Lows of Marriage by Sadaf Farooqi

The Muslim Marriage Guide by Ruqaiyah Maqsood

The Quest for Love and Mercy – Regulations of Marriage and Wedding by Muhammad Jibaly

The Fragile Vessels – Rights and Obligations between Spouses by Muhammad Jibaly

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Getting the Love you Want by Harville Hendrix

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray

I feel that these books will be more of benefit to those already in a marriage:

Toxic In Laws by Susan Forward

Our Precious Sprouts – Islamic regulations for New-borns by Muhammad Jibaly

These are books that deal specifically with intimacy in marriage and also sexual health which is an area that is severely lacking in resources:

Like a Garment by Yasir Qadhi

The Hormone Diaries by Hannah Witton

The Muslimah Sex Manual: The Halal Guide to Mind Blowing Sex by Umm Muladhat

Closer than a Garment – Marital Intimacy by Muhammad Jibaly

Period Power by Nadya Okomoto

This is the books I recommend for your own self development:

Love and Happiness by Yasmin Mogahed

Allah Loves by Omar Suleiman

Diseases of the Hearts and their Cures by Ibn Taymiyyah

Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed

Weakness of Iman by Muhammad al-Munajjid

Muhammad: How he can make you Extraordinary by Hesham al-Awadi

Patience and Gratitude by Ibn Qayyim

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

The Self Care Project by Jayne Hardy

I hope you find some of these of benefits and if you have any recommendations do let me know in the comments!

Non Fiction Books

The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work Book Review

Hey booknerds! So I wanted to share some thoughts on this book, The seven principles for making marriage work by John Gottman. This book was actually recommend by Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed at her event that I attended last year about marriage.

My rating: 4/5

7 principles for making marriage work

This book teaches us methods that the author has tried and tested on many couples over the years to create a happy marriage. It has easy to follow exercises that you can do as a couple to help resolve conflicts, improve communication, nurture love, fondness and respect for each other.

I found the book very useful and insightful in helping to improve my own marriage. Although there are some things I disagree with the majority of the book is very relatable and easy to understand.

What can make a marriage work is surprisingly simple. Happily married couples aren’t smarter, richer, or more psychologically astute than others. But in their day to day lives, they have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other (which all couples have) from overwhelming their positive ones. They have what I call an emotionally intelligent marriage.

He first discusses signs of a unhappy marriage and one of the first things discussed in his book, are things that are so toxic to a marriage that he’s named it the four horsemen of the apocalypse. They are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. He discusses how these can create long term problems and eventually lead to the couple becoming emotionally distant and can even cause divorce if they aren’t dealt with.

Then each chapter discusses a principle that will help to achieve a happy marriage.

The first principle is Enhancing your love maps. He explains that couples with detailed love maps of each other are better able to cope with stressful events or conflicts. Having a detailed love map means that they are intimately familiar with each other’s worlds.

The second principle is nurturing your fondness and admiration for each other. This is where you build on the belief that your spouse is worthy of being respected and liked. Reminding yourself of your spouses positive qualities even if you struggle with a negative one.

The third principle is turning toward each other instead of away. So the little things you do on a day to day basis has a greater impact on your marriage than going away for a holiday for example. The way you respond to your spouse can have a big impact on your emotional connection.

The fourth principle is letting your partner influence you. It’s important that you and your spouse make decisions together and you honour and respect each other’s feelings and opinions.

The next principle that was discussed was the two types of conflict, one that you are able to solve and the other that is perpetual. He discussed ways in which we can solve the solvable conflicts through several techniques in how we discuss them.

The sixth principle was overcoming gridlock, where a couple is stuck on a conflict for so long they feel they can no longer move past it. They are conflicts that keep coming up again and again, issues with in laws, when to have children, how to raise your children etc. These issues may never be resolved completely but the goal was to move out of the gridlock and to be able to reach a compromise.

The last principle was creating a shared meaning, so you are not just roommates that have seperate lives but you have goals and you create a life together that has deeper purpose than just sharing chores and looking after kids.

I found this book hugely beneficial even though I read it feeling unsure as to what I would gain from it. His writing can be a bit annoying at times but it well worth reading. Everyone has issues in their marriage, especially at the beginning when we’re learning how to communicate and understand each other but this book actually has really helpful advice in making it more effective.

There was a few things I disagreed with, for example he said the husband should always side with the wife in a disagreement between his wife and his mother. I don’t think it’s fair to do that. Instead the husband should do what is right and just for both his wife and mother. I don’t think it’s about taking sides.

I think this is beneficial for anyone who is looking to find ways to strengthen their marriage and help to build better communication and understanding and to resolve conflicts.