Reading as a couple is not only a way to stay connected through activity, but also through frame of mind. When you both are taking in the same information, thoughts, and ideas, conversation and intellectual dialogue bonds you. Shared ideas tend to bring cohesion. Shared thoughts have a way of binding people in mutual respect and understanding. Here are three books we think all couples should read together.

Big Magic

This inspirational self-help guide is about harnessing your creativity before it roams around, and you find it in the media of someone else.

Whether you an artist, a musician, a dancer, a writer or a more non-traditional creative such as an entrepreneur, a teacher, a businessman, or a person, you are a creative. Everyone has within them beauty that takes one form or another. Not everyone is an originator. Some are adaptors, those who take an idea and adapt it to greater heights. Whichever you are, you have a creative side. You have something inside you waiting for you to listen and do it.

The book is hilariously written by Elizabeth Gilbert, an author better known for her novel Eat, Pray, Love. In it she writes about several lessons she has learned about her own creativity, how to listen to it, and what happens if you don’t.

This is extremely important for couples as a couple is simply two people working to build something together or to create. Projects can be individual or collaborative. Creativity is the same way. As a couple, creating something together is beautiful and connecting to all parties involved. Reading this book together will inevitably ignite a fire that will produce something amazing for you and your significant other, something magical!

The Alchemist

For those who have not read this masterpiece or at least haven’t read this book recently, it is a gold mine. For those of you who have the words fresh in your mind, you got that joke and I am proud.

The Alchemist is an excellent book, though extremely strange at times. The author, Paulo Coelho, takes you into the life of a Shepard, Santiago. Seeing his dream with him, you both begin a trek to find treasure at the base of the pyramids. The book then takes you through his journey where Santiago if often robbed, his life threatened on multiple occasions, and truths of the world thrown into your perspective forever.

The reason that this book is recommended for couples is not just that it is a classic and should be read by everybody, but it is a book about finding one’s own happiness. Often in the life of a couple it is easy to get caught up in just that: life. But not your own individual life. It is easier to get caught up in how your partner is doing, what they are doing, what you are supposed to be doing, how the money is doing, how the bills are getting paid, etc. etc. etc. And quickly, you are solely looking out for the best interest of your relationship and your partner, expecting your partner to do the same. And that doesn’t always happen.

Now, you have put all your hopes of happiness onto this other person who, whether your partner is aware of your expectations or not, will never be able to bring you that bliss. Sure, they can make you happy in the moment but ultimately, everyone is responsible for their own contentment, happiness, and dreams. The Alchemist is a good reminder of this.

Santiago is met with the love of his life who he leaves not long after to chase his dream. And rather than being destroyed because she relied solely on him for her happiness and joy, she supported him. She truly wanted him to be happy and she knew that happiness for him wasn’t a gift she could give, but rather a quest for him.

The Happiness Project

Now that you are in the mindset of seeking happiness, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin will show you a method for how to do so. As I firmly believe and preached just a few paragraphs above, happiness is a quest for individuals. People help, people hurt, and people can ultimately bring you closer to the state of being; but it is your responsibility to continue onward.

The Happiness Project is a step-by-step recounting of Gretchen’s year doing this project. She categorized her fairly happy life into areas that she wanted to work on and set long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals. After stating what her goals were, she takes you through each success and failure as the book itself was one of her goals.

Couples should always take time to bring greater happiness into their lives and understand what that means for themselves as well as their partners. This book can give ideas for methods of improvements and helpful reminders that the issues in your life, your relationship, and your house are not your own. Others are struggling with similar things. And if not for anything else, this book will inspire you to clean out all the closets and neglected corners, cabinets, and drawers in your house!

All three of these books are constantly referenced in my house. My partner and I agree on aspects and disagree on others. But we took lessons from each of the recommended that have marked a milestone of closeness and unification between us.