If you or a friend you know have just begun a separation, especially one that you didn’t want, it is easy to be desperate for information and hope. During our separation I often browsed a book store or library for help from books I found.
Thankfully we are reconciled but today I decided to do an experiment by going to Barnes & Noble in their “Relationship” section to see what books might catch my eye if I was separated. In about 10 minutes I had pulled the following books off the shelf and read just enough from the covers to know that these might give some help and hope. I haven’t read all these yet so keep in mind you may find some of them duds or opposed to your values.
Here in no particular order is the list.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery: 101 Stories about Surviving and Thriving after Divorce by Canfield, Hansen and Hansen. I have never been a big fan of Chicken Soup books but this looks like it might give some hope if the worst happens.
The Essential Guide to Surviving Infidelity: The Support You Need to Rebuild Trust and Reclaim Your Relationship by Liz Currin. If I had been cheated upon this looks like it might merit some more study and give some hope for our marriage to survive.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Surviving Divorce by Weintraub and Hillman. In the past I have found the Complete Idiot’s Guides and the “For Dummies” book series to be very helpful in quickly giving me an overview of a subject that I really don’t know anything about. They won’t have every piece of information I need but usually help me know where to go look for answers.
The Complete Marriage Counselor: Relationship-Saving Advice from America’s top 50+ Couples Therapists by Sherry Amatenstein. This sounds like a gold mine of thoughts from people who deal with crisis couples for a living.
Forgiving the Unforgivable: Overcoming The Bitter Legacy of Intimate Wounds by Beverly Flanigan. If I had been deeply hurt by my partner but wanted to carry on maybe this would have helped.
The 7 Best Things (Happy) Couples Do by John and Linda Friel. I found during our separation that I needed to read some books about how to have the marriage that I had always desired, so that if we did reconcile, I could make changes to have a better marriage. One of the few things that Sharon and I agreed upon during our separation was that we didn’t want to go back to the marriage we had.
Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix. Since our reconciliation I have been to a seminar and heard Hendrix. He was someone who impressed me that he might have some helpful ideas on how to have a great marriage.
How to Get Your Lover Back: Successful Strategies for Starting Over (And Making It Better Than It Was Before!) by Blase Harris. This is right in line with my prior thought of knowing that I wanted a different marriage than what I had before our separation.
Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting With Your Partner by Phillip C. McGraw. I actually studied this book and the workbook during our separation and found it helpful. I didn’t do every step but got lots of good ideas that helped change my perspective on our situation.
The Complete Guide for Men and Women Divorcing: Join Forces to Help You Keep the Breakup of Your Marriage From Becoming a Legal Nightmare or an Emotional Catastrophe by Melvin Belli and Mel Krantzler. This is the type of book that I hated to read during our separation because I desperately didn’t want a divorce and they were so depressing. I did read them some because I felt that I needed to be informed in case Sharon filed for divorce. Actually with understanding some of the legal issues my fear of the process decreased.
Any bookstore or library that you walk into will have a different set of books on display but it is a fairly quick process to find alot of information, hope and encouragement. I used to tell myself that any day not in front of a divorce judge was a good day, even if it was reading books about a separation and possible divorce that I didn’t want.