Regarding Improving Your Marriage

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John M. Gottman. Research based, it is my favorite book on how to repair a broken marriage.

Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner by Dr. Phil McGraw. Dr. Phil’s no-nonsense approach to reconnecting with your partner is full of sound advice.

The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work by Terrence Real. Practical instructions for successful marriages in the twenty-first century.

Marriage Rules: A Manuel for the Married and the Coupled Up by Harriet Lerner. A terrific compellation of practical advice on staying happily together.

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson. A friendly introduction to attachment theory and why staying together is difficult to do.


Discernment Counseling

If you’re trying to decide about whether or not to divorce consider:

Helping Couples on the Brink of Divorce: Discernment Counseling for Troubled Relationships by William Doherty and Steven Harris. A comprehensive explanation on Discernment Counseling.

Making the Decision: Do I Stay in This Relationship or Do I Leave? By Michael Winters A workbook for couples trying to gain clarity on their next steps forward.


Regarding Divorce

The Guys-Only Guide to Getting Over Divorce by Sam Buser & Glenn F. Sternes. Designed for both men who are beginning the divorce process or who have been divorced for a while. Full of practical advice to help you steer clear from trouble.

Men on Divorce: The Other Side of the Story (Harvest Book) by Penny Kaganoff & Susan Spano. A series of essays by men who describe their own experiences with divorce.


If you are trying to select a divorce attorney

Selecting Your Divorce Lawyer: The Consumer's Guide for Harris Co. Texas by Peter Sperling. Good tips on what to look for and what to avoid in hiring a family attorney.


If you are trying to avoid going through a divorce

The Divorce Remedy: The Proven 7-Step Program for Saving Your Marriage by Michele Weiner-Davis. Her “divorce-busting” approach has been widely popularized.


If you think divorce will “destroy” your kids

The Good Divorce: Keeping Your Family Together When Your Marriage Comes Apart by Constance Ahrons. Research based, it is a good counterweight to the predictions that divorce is always harmful to children.


If you are a man and currently going through a divorce and you are concerned about the legal process, read:

Man's Guide to a Civilized Divorce: How to Divorce with Grace, a Little Class, and a Lot of Common Sense by Sam Margulies. Written by a divorce mediator, it is very helpful as you go through the actual divorce.

Divorce Rules For Men: A Man to Man Guide for Managing Your Split and Saving Thousands by Martin M. Shenkman. More focused on the economic side of divorce.


If you think that kids generally aren’t that negatively affected by divorce

The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, The: A 25 Year Landmark Study by Judith Wallerstein. Psychologist Wallerstein is much more negative about the effects of divorce on kids.


If you want the kids to read about divorce

Ages 3-7:

Dinosaurs Divorce by Marc Brown & Laurie Krasny Brown.

It's Not Your Fault, Koko Bear: A Read-Together Book for Parents and Young Children During Divorce by Vicki Lansky.

I Don't Want to Talk About It by Jeanie Franz Ransom & Kathryn Kunz Finney.

Missing Rabbit by Roni Schotter & Cyd Moore. A good story for children who go “back and forth” between two homes.

Ages 8-12:

When Mom and Dad Separate Let's Talk About It: Divorce by Fred Rogers. Mr. Rogers offers calm, caring advice to children on divorce.

Ages 13-18:

The Kid’s Guide to Divorce The Boys and Girls Book About Divorce by Richard Gardner.

If you are worried about parental alienation, read: The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Conceptual, Clinical And Legal Considerations (American Series in Behavioral Science and Law) by Richard Gardner. His was the first book in the field, and it remains one of the best.


Regarding Depression

Overcoming Depression One Step at a Time: The New Behavioral Activation Approach to Getting Your Life Back (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Michael E. Addis, M.E. & Christopher R. Martell. An excellent workbook to help you get going again. Written by a friend of mine, it looks at both behavioral and cognitive methods for addressing depression.

If you’re a man and you feel you might be depressed, read: The Pain Behind the Mask: Overcoming Masculine Depression by John Lynch & Christopher

Or:

I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression by Terrence Real. (1997). Another good book to help you understand about male depression.


Regarding Anger

If you have an anger problem, read: Anger Busting 101: The New ABC's for Angry Men & the Women Who Love Them by Newton Hightower. Written by an old friend, it is a practical and sometimes humorous read, looking at anger as an addictive process.

Act on Life not on Anger: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Problem Anger by Georg H. Eifert, et al. A new approach to overcoming anger problems.


Regarding Being a Man

If you want to understand more about men and masculinity, read: Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man by Sam Keen. (1992). A classic, it will make you think more about your own life.

Iron John: A Book About Men by Robert Bly. A poignant and poetic book describing the experience of being a man.

The Masculine Self: Fifth Edition by Christopher Kilmartin and Andrew Smiler. Written by two of my friends, it is the leading textbook on masculinity in all its forms.


Regarding Infidelity

If there has been infidelity in your marriage, read: Infidelity: A Survival Guide by Don-David Lusterman. Helpful in recovering from infidelity, regardless of whether or not you stay together.

After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful by Janis Abrahms Spring. Maybe the best book on the subject, but sometimes criticized for not being tough enough on the unfaithful partner.

Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy by Frank Pittman. This thoughtful book by well-known psychiatrist, Frank Pittman, is particularly directed at men who have struggled with infidelity.

Getting Past the Affair: A Program to Help You Cope, Heal, and Move On—Together or Apart. This comprehensive book written by my friend, Doug Snyder and his colleagues, is chock full of information and ideas about dealing with infidelity.


Regarding Sexuality

If you are trying to improve the sexuality in your relationship, read: Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships by David Schnarch. Not a how-to-book, rather it is about integrating emotional and sexual intimacy.

If you have questions about male sexuality, read: The New Male Sexuality, Revised Edition by Bernie Zilbergeld. The authoritative source about male sexuality.

Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel. This book examines the challenges of sexuality in marital and other committed relationships.


Regarding Parenting

If you want to learn more effective ways to parent your child, read: The Parent's Handbook: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting by Don Dinkmeyer and Gary D. McKay. Practical, easy to follow advice on parenting children 6-12 years of age. Part of the S.T.E.P. Program (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) Also available in Spanish.

For help with younger children, read their companion book: Parenting Young Children: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) of Children Under Six.

For help with teens, read their companion book: Parenting Teenagers: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting of Teens.

Parenting Your Out-of-Control Teenager: 7 Steps to Reestablish Authority and Reclaim Love by Scott P. Sells. A clever, practical way to become more successful with your teen.


For Raising Boys

Real Boys : Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood by William Pollack. A must read for parents of boys.


For Raising Girls

Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher. A must read for parents of girls.


For Kids With Attention Problems

Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents (Revised Edition) by Russell A. Barkley. An indispensable guide to helping kids with attention problems.


For Kids With Difficult Behavior Problems

Defiant Children, Second Edition: A Clinician's Manual for Assessment and Parent Training by Russell A. Barkley


Suggested Videos for Purchase About Divorce

If you would like to use a video to explain divorce to kids, I recommend: Lemons 2 Lemonade: How to handle life when things go sour between Mom and Dad Written and produced by two divorce experts, this entertaining and informative 45-minute program features children and adults talking in child-level language about divorce. A workbook is available to go along with the video.

If you want to avoid a custody battle, check out: Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep give a riveting and realistic portrayal of a couple engaged in a bitter custody battle. Don’t repeat their mistakes.

If you want a more positive view of how parents can work together after divorce, check out: Life as a House (New Line Platinum Series) A divorced couple work together to redeem a son who is headed in the wrong direction.

If you want to see how miserable you can make yourself and your ex, check out: The War of the Roses Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner make war on each other before, during, and after divorce with deadly consequences.


Helpful Links

The American Psychological Association

The Texas Psychological Association

The Houston Psychological Association

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255)

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mental Health America (formerly Mental Health Association)

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

The Attention Deficit Disorder Association

Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity

Guys Only Guides

Bayou Publishing