So you are head over heels in a new relationship with a great partner. Now what?
You’ve tested The Olive Theory from How I Met Your Mother (one of you loathes olives, the other adores them, so one partner can forever eat the olives off the other’s plate), and you’re convinced this relationship is an important one. You’re hoping and praying things turn out well for you both — together. So what do you need to do to ensure that you’re both doing all you can to nurture this relationship and establish a strong foundation for your love?
If you’ve all of a sudden found yourself the star of a romantic plot you previously only thought existed in movies, you might feel like you’re in love with love — that the emotion itself is everywhere you look. If you’re searching for love in more places or wanting to learn more about steering this relationship in a positive, long-term direction, this list of books, articles, essays, and poetry is the perfect reference point from which to read up about this sentimental, dreamy time.
The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman
Everyone shows and receives love in different ways, using one of what’s considered “the five love languages.” These languages include words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. This book by Gary Chapman explores how understanding and being cognizant of one’s own love languages as well as her partner’s love languages can strengthen a relationship, old or new.
Rising Strong by Brené Brown
Brené Brown is a research professor who has spent years dedicating her life to measuring intangible entities like vulnerability. In her book Rising Strong, she examines how vulnerability — the act of being susceptible to emotional or physical exposure — is the key to manifesting and fostering healthy relationships, with others and also with oneself.
If You Want Big Love, You’re Going to Have to Go After It
Seeing a theme here? Vulnerability is necessary in relationship rhetoric and as explained in this essay from Thought Catalog, if “big love” is what you’re searching for, it requires you to be active. “Because the truth is,” essayist Heidi Priebe writes, “the kind of love that all of us are aching for isn’t the kind that plays by the rules.”
All the Words Are Yours by Tyler Knott Gregson
For the past six years, this poet has written a haiku about love and life every day. With gems such as, “your soul knew my soul/long before we needed skin/to spend a life in,” every writing will remind you how deeply you feel for your loved one.
This Is How I Fell in Love With You
Because you don’t fall in love in straight lines. Because there are no rules when it comes to “choosing” who to love. Because falling in love, being in love, and acting out of love is the messiest, most honest, vulnerable, sticky, and crazy verb a person can do. Writer Karissa Ekwall so eloquently describes the many ways in which our hearts recognize another: “I fell in love with kissing your cheeks. I fell in love with missing your hand in mine. I fell in love with you from three thousand miles away. I fell in love with you from ten feet away.”
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor and Park are just 16 years old when they meet and inevitably begin a whirlwind of a relationship, reminiscent of some of the most historically romantic (and tragic) love stories out there: like Romeo and Juliet. But love knows no age or boundary, which Rainbow Rowell continuously proves throughout Eleanor and Park’s love story.
The 7 Relationship Questions You Must Ask Yourself in 2017
Do you attract the right people, the right types of relationships? Are you a giver or a taker? Verily Mag itemizes all of the important relationship questions people either in relationships or considering entering a relationship should ask themselves first.
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
If there were a dictionary on love, what would it look like? More importantly, what would it say, suggest, recommend? David Levithan introduces us to a nameless protagonist who chooses to look at the intimate parts of his relationship within the context of a dictionary, therefore providing a unique yet all-too-familiar perspective of what it’s like to experience love.
3 Good Reasons Not to Lose Yourself in a New Relationship
Dating someone new can be jarring. After all, you’re both trying to incorporate each other into your lives, while maintaining what you had prior, without losing balance. It can be easy to lose onself in a new relationship, especially if boundaries aren’t set from the getgo. This Verily Mag piece encourages lovers to remember why they are strongest when they maintain a resilient sense of self.
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur’s book of poems Milk and Honey will ease and recognize heartbreak but its pages of honest tellings of being love will also strike a chord with those who are newly falling for another. “you look like you smell of/honey and no pain/let me have a taste of that,” Kaur writes.
What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage
Modern Love is a weekly column in The New York Times (as well as a podcast) that delves deeply into the intricacies of — as its title suggests — modern love. This super popular essay from 2016 explores the unlikely parallel between those in relationships (and marriages) and animal trainers, providing an unexpected outlook on what it takes to make a coupling work for both parties.
Are you in a new relationship? Which books, poems, stories, and essays have helped you learn more about falling in love gracefully? Let us know in the comments below!