If you're following along with my 2018 Reading Challenge For Christian Youth, you know there's a category to read a book about romantic relationships.
That's because I think it's deeply important for young people to prepare for a romantic relationship with the same dedication and discipline we would prepare for a new job, education, or move. In fact, I think we should put more thought, prayer, and training into this.
You are talking about a person who will become the most influential individual in your life. This will be a person who will share your life.
Arguably, no decision is more important than who you will marry.
The Bible is our surest, safest, only infallible guide on this subject. But there are wonderful books that help apply the Bible's sound wisdom on the subject.
Here are 5 that I've read and would highly recommend:
Single, Dating, Engaged, Married by Ben Stuart - I love this book because Ben (a college pastor) walks through the 4 stages of a romantic relationship and has killer advice for each stage. We're all at one stage, but no matter which one you're at, this book will be relevant to you.
Not Yet Married by Marshall Segal - This is a book about singleness and dating. A lot is spent on singleness, because Marshall was single for a long time and wrestled significantly with it, grappling with its theological implications. (If you're wondering about the title, Marshall specifically wrote this book for single people who would like to be married. He's certainly not saying that every single person is defined by their lack of marriage.)
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller - Man, this book blew my mind. I am so grateful to have read it before I got married (though I'll definitely be reading it again when that day comes!). This book could also be called The Meaning of Love because Tim Keller breaks down what it means to fundamentally give of yourself in love to another person. This has affected not just how I think about romantic relationships but all relationships.
When Sinners Say, "I Do" by Dave Harvey - My dad often uses this book for marriage counseling and loves it. I read it a year or two ago and was deeply blessed by the pastoral wisdom Dave Harvey shares. He focuses on laying a godly foundation for marriage with biblical thinking. It's really good!
Love Defined by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird - This book comes out in one week, and it is so good! I had the privilege of reading it early and offering an enthusiastic endorsement. Yes, it's definitely more for young women, but the way these sisters talk about Christ-exalting relationships is relevant for both genders.
5 Bonus Books (That I Haven't Read But Want To)
Sex, Dating, and Relationships by Gerald Hiestand and Jay Thomas
She's Got the Wrong Guy by Deepak Reju
Letters to a Romantic on Dating by Sean Perron and Spencer Harmon
You And Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan