About to get hitched? These five good books will get you even more excited.

By Rebecca Renner
Updated January 02, 2019
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Good Books to Read Before Marriage -- a Just Married Couple Standing on Steps
Credit: Sweet Ice Cream Photography/UpSplash

If you got engaged recently, you're probably planning your wedding—and discovering that everyone you know has advice. Although you may be hearing some myths and tall tales right now, take heart that there are good books to read for legitimate advice about marriage and romantic relationships. From the beginning, novels have always explored relationships, including those bound by romantic love. If you’re about to get married, you can prepare yourself for your upcoming nuptials by living out a variety of possibilities through the relationships of characters in books.

Jane Austen offers classic relationship advice in her novels. In Pride and Prejudice, for example, the reader learns not to make assumptions about their romantic partner. Even though our society has different unspoken rules than in the 19th century, reading the classics can still give us insight into the way others think and to the complexity of romantic relationships. Good books can also help you become a more empathetic person. That and an extra dose of patience will get you through even the rockiest patches in a marriage.

If present-day settings are more your thing, pick up a good book to read that revolves around a budding relationship. Or if you’d like to build some empathy for your wedding guests in particular, grab a novel set at a wedding. On your big day, you may be so immersed in seeing that the event goes right that you might miss the drama happening at the other tables.

These five books are perfect to make you feel even more excited for your big day.

Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler

Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler

Marriage is a common subject for Tyler. It’s even a major part of Breathing Lessons, her novel that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1989. A Spool of Thread revolves around Abby and Red Whitshank, and it begins with an argument. Even though they fight, the Whitshanks’ marriage is strong, and it has been for decades. Read A Spool of Thread to see what togetherness looks like.

To buy: $11,

Cover of Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld

Are you a fan of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice? If you’re seeking marriage advice, look no further than this modern update of the beloved classic. In Eligible, Elizabeth Bennet is a writer who lives in New York City, but when her family needs help back in Cincinnati, “Liz” returns home. There, she meets Fitzwilliam Darcy, a neurosurgeon who seems entirely too full of himself. But you know how the story goes. Take a look back at this modernized old favorite, and remember that, with a little compromise, opposites can make great pairs.

To buy: $11,

Cover of Seating Arrangements, by Maggie Shipstead

Seating Arrangements, by Maggie Shipstead

Winn Van Meter’s daughter Daphne is about to get married, and his wife, an inscrutable perfectionist, has planned the wedding down to the very last spoon. Of course, with such a set-up, things are bound to go awry. With heartbreak, drama, and infidelity, Seating Arrangements is a lesson in how not to clear the air before your big day. Remember, get your issues out of way before the ceremony, or else you may be playing musical chairs with your perfect seating scheme.

To buy: $10,

Cover of The Wedding Date, by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Date, by Jasmine Guillory

If you’re about to get married, and you’re planning a huge party for your nuptials, take a minute to see your wedding from your guests’ perspective: attending a wedding without a plus one has the potential to be nerve-racking. In Jasmine Guillory’s fun romance, The Wedding Date, Alex Monroe and Drew Nichols solve their potential date-less embarrassment by faking a relationship, and the result is as juicy and delightful as you can imagine.

To buy: $12,

Cover of Middlemarch, by George Eliot

Middlemarch, by George Eliot

Even if classics give you flashbacks to skipped homework assignments, it might be time to give them a second chance. Many of them have lived on in history for a reason: They’re good. Beyond its status as a classic, Middlemarch boasts some of literature’s best lessons about marriage. Several of the characters have had long marriages and with people they don’t necessarily agree with all the time. Eliot shows that no marriage is perfect, but that by being giving with your partner and having a sense of humor, you can cultivate a relationship that lasts.

To buy: $13,