Wedding prep usually involves things like buying a ring, booking a venue, planning a wedding ceremony, and making a seating chart. Unsurprisingly, it also involves family dynamics. The wedding celebration is also the gateway to a future of decision-making and habit-tolerating.

Here are five of the many great books that can help you think about the now and later as you prepare to take your vows.

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. This book by John Gottman, Ph.D, focuses on the ways that couples can strengthen their friendship, which is the basis for a strong, long-lasting relationship. It focuses on “love maps” that define how they view and respond to each other. One reviewer referred to the book as “a call to act with honor and respect within relationships.”

The Conscious Bride: Women Unveil Their True Feelings about Getting Hitched. Sheryl Paul is a therapist who works with brides – though her observations are as likely to apply to many men. She explores the idea that getting married is supposed to be a joyous time full of smiles. And yet, 90 percent of women suffer depression in their first year of marriage. The book is full of case studies that are likely to be eye-opening for many people getting who are busy navigating wedding plans while processing a major life transition.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. We give love in the way we prefer to receive it. That is Chapman’s central thesis, and it makes sense. When you and your partner understand the way each of you demonstrates caring, such as by performing acts of service or by touch, then you can better respond in that unique language.

Mating in Captivity. This book by Belgian-born psychotherapist Esther Perel was made famous by her TED talk about the conflict between intimacy and sex – two seemingly compatible concepts that are often difficult to unite within the confines of a committed relationship. Couples, says Perel, need mystery and surprise to remain interested: “Desire is fueled by the unknown.”

Don’t You Dare Get Married Before You Read This, by Corey Donaldson. Grab a glass of wine and dig in. This book of essential questions offers a good preview for your mutual (and separate) attitudes about 500 topics that could affect the quality of your marriage. Based on Donaldson’s interviews with more than 1,500 people, it offers questions to ponder on such issues as love, sex, religion, in-laws, children, housework, jobs, and more.

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