Recommended Reading On Life, Marriage, and Christian Living

Several people have asked me to recommend books so I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the best books I read in 2011. Also, since I work in a publishing house and hate to see the bookstores closing down-I’d like you to read more! In 2012, I have challenged myself to ‘read more’ because I do believe leaders are readers. Michael and I decided not to have a TV our first year of marriage and it has already promoted more reading time.

Marriage Books: Michael and I tied the knot in June of last year and we both read more marriage books than we really need around our house. (So we give them away). The best & most helpful were:

Love and Respect by Emmerson Eggerichs . This book proved to be the most tangibly helpful marriage book we read. The premise of the book is women want love and men want respect & most conflict in marriage arises because of a misunderstanding of these two desires.

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. Author Thomas ponders the question, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy instead of happy?”

Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll. Takes a look at hard questions about sex, abuse, pornography and how these often play out in marriage. Mark and Grace didn’t do everything right in their dating life and their transparent style is great for struggling couples.

Sheet Music by Kevin Leman. A wonderful book on God’s design for sex & honoring Him in the bedroom. It also gives detailed advice for the couples who are really nervous about intimacy!

The Best Fiction Books I read:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Ok, who didn’t love this book? I wrote the back story (she was rejected by 60 agents before landing a book deal) here.

The Noticer by Andy Andrews. It’s a parable about how our lives can change with just a little perspective.

Need You Now by Beth Wiseman. A story of a family in crisis-where they learn to cling to the One who matters most. Beth deals with difficult issues of self-harm, grief, and extramarital temptations really well.

The Books that Changed Me:

The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning. I read this for a third time. God loves you, God loves you, God loves you. Not as you are supposed to be, but exactly as you are. A truly powerful portrayal of the never-ceasing, all-powerful love of God.

The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. I’ve written about this book here & here.

Shame off You by Alan D Wright. The cover on this book is horrible (sorry Alan), but I read it for the 2nd time this year because it discusses shame in a very powerful and relevant manner.

The Best Memoirs:


Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me by Ian Cron. If you liked The Glass Castle, you’ll love this one!

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. A cooking memoir that is beautifully written. Molly writes an internationally read cooking blog & she recounts life through recipes. She met her husband online.

All Is Grace by Brennan Manning. Brennan finally penned his memoir! He will always stay on my favorite’s list as what he dedicated his life to preaching is “God loves you not as you are supposed to be, but exactly as you are.” A beautiful story of a man walking and falling in His Christian life, but never losing faith-because all is grace. 

What are the best books you read in 2011? Please leave your recommendations below! Let’s support authors and bookstores, shall we?

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17 Responses to “Recommended Reading On Life, Marriage, and Christian Living”
  1. I love the ” Heaven is for real”, and ” The rest of God”, thanks for recommending these two books to me! Have not got chances to read others, but I’ll try to read more on your list! Any recommendations on dating books?? :-)

    • Ruthie D. says:

      I honestly have never read a dating book I’d recommend. That’s sad! Anyone know of any good dating books out there?

      • I probably quote “Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man” by Steve Harvey at least 2x a week. It’s not a Christian book and it’s not a dating book. But it gives an open, raw look into a guy’s mind and allows you to understand why they act the way they do when you’re dating. Bottom line: Get tough! Set boundaries! :) Love this book!

        • Ruthie D. says:

          I’ll agree with Ashley on this one. I guess my favorite dating books are all non-religious books. He’s Just Not That Into You and The Rules are great books for understanding the mind of men. Sometimes Christian dating books make me want to scream, so I tend to stay away from them.

          • leeleegirl4 says:

            I want to write a book about Christian dating that discusses everything that is left out of the typical Christian dating book. I have read lots of them and they all seem to sound the same. They are so flat and idealistic. I want to share the answers I found in the hopes that others can benefit.

      • Anna Kaye Gilbreath says:

        I’ve read I Kissed Dating Good Bye, by Joshua Harris. It talks about how we often don’t guard our hearts carefully in dating relationships, pursuing good godly brother/and sister-like friendships and developing ourselves during our single time. I also recommend Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers a fictional book based on the book of Hosea. It illustrates God’s pursuing love and making us whole through the characters regardless of the things we have done in our past.

        • Anonymous says:

          I never considered Redeeming Love a “dating book” however I love how you relate it to dating. It’s one of my favorite books & now I’m going to have to recommend it to women who are haunted by their past. Thanks for commenting!

      • Anonymous says:

        Dating Delilah by Judah Smith is very good

  2. Danelle says:

    I can definitely use some encouragement to read more this year! I got 4 books for Christmas and haven’t picked one of them up yet. The best ones I read in 2011 were: “The Prodigal God” by Tim Keller, “What did you expect?” Paul David Tripp, “The Scarlet Thread” Francine Rivers, “Humility: True Greatness” C.J. Mahaney, and “The Trellis & the Vine” Tony Payne & Colin Marshall

  3. Christy says:

    Best Christian book for women I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a lot!) : Strong Women, Soft Hearts. It’s brilliant.

    • Ruthie D. says:

      Hi Christy! I read Strong Women, Soft Hearts in college. Loved it! Thanks for sharing.

      • Molly Howell says:

        I’ve read this book multiple times and shared it with many girlfriends. I am an avid reader of nonfiction books and this is one of my all-time best books for women who want love God fully and honor him with their lives and relationships. LOVE it!

  4. Em says:

    Tim and Kathy Keller just put out a book called “The Meaning of Marriage” that was fantastic. Highly reccomend.

  5. rebecaurora says:

    favorite of 2011: Stormie a story of forgiveness and healing by Stormie Omartian, just an amazing book, life changing….a must read

  6. Sarah says:

    I recommend Real Sex by Lauren Winner. It’s a great book about chastity and purity and God’s intentions for marriage.

  7. Jen K. says:

    If you haven’t read Unbroken yet, you must. Louis Zamperini’s life and how he came to faith is riveting.

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