Welcome to Five Things Friday: Relationship Book Edition! This past week, I posted an Instagram photo in my hammie at Bethel, reading a book on marriage. A ton of people asked about the book, so I figured that interest – in tandem with Wednesday’s post on singleness – might warrant a special edition of Five Things Friday. Here are my top five books when it comes to singleness, dating, marriage, and sexuality (in no particular order, as always):
- Not Yet Married by Marshall Segall
I LOVE everything about this book. It starts with a really robust set of chapters on healthy singleness – which is rare in books about dating and so, so needed in the church today – and ends with perhaps one of the best writings I’ve read recently on healthy dating relationships. I also love that this book is written by someone I can relate to – someone who didn’t marry their high school sweetheart or get their Ring by Spring. It’s the type of dating book that you’ll find yourself “mhm”-ing and nodding your head every step of the way.
- Loveology by John Mark Comer
I want all of my relationships to align, at their best, to God’s intentions for love and marriage. This book has helped me to do that. I love that this book doesn’t shy away from hard topics, but rather dives in with scripture as the basis. I love John Mark Comer’s grace by which he writes, and the way that he calls the reader back to consider what God’s original plan was and how we can continue to seek that in the midst of a broken world. I’ve re-read it multiple times – and you will, too.
- Sex God by Rob Bell
“Oh look, Caitlyn recommended Rob Bell twice in the past week. Heretic.” Some of you, probably. This was my favorite book about sexuality and relationships when I was a teenager (which isn’t saying much because “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and “Boundaries for Teens” sat untouched on my bookshelf until I sold them to Half Price Books this past summer. Sorry, mom and dad.) and it continues to be one of my favorite books today. If you’ve ever heard me use the phrase, “when a woman is well-loved, she blooms like a flower,” you’ve heard me quote this book. The scriptural context in here is extraordinary, the writing style is compelling, and the excellent basis for healthy, Christ-centered relationships that Bell provides is both applicable, helpful, and biblical.
- Scary Close by Donald Miller
There are two writers for whom I’ve made the effort to buy every book they’ve ever written – Donald Miller is one of them. I’ve always appreciated his humor and candor, and his vulnerability in this book is no surprise. What was a surprise, however, was how much I needed it. The best thing that we can do to be healthy people in relationships is to really grasp and practice healthy vulnerability. I love Donald’s openness about his history, his struggles in being vulnerable in relationships, his fight against the innate desire to perform, and the never ending grace found within these pages. This book has been one of the top books I’ve recommended to everyone the past two years for good reason. If you read one book off this list, read this one.
- Party of One by Joy Beth Smith
This book on singleness is an essential read if you’ve ever struggled with feeling left out, excluded, unloved, or misunderstood about your role as a single person within the church and Body of Christ. Her stories, combined with excellent work in establishing the biblical basis of God’s heart for and the innate worthiness of single people, makes this book one that I will no doubt find myself recommending over and over.
Do you have any favorite books or resources when it comes to singleness, dating, marriage, or sexuality? Share them below or tweet me at @StenersonMN!