Intentionally growing in love.

Bedside Table Books

First off let me just say that as a primary school teacher and a tradie, we couldn’t be more polar opposites in our stances on reading. Mark only read a complete chapter book when his parents forced him to read two books before we got married, so he did haha! So as you can imagine most of these we read together or I read aloud to Mark. They’re all very simple, easy to read and digest books but filled with really great practical advice and insights from authors who have decades of marriage wisdom and professionally counsel couples.


We are Christians, so this is and will always be our number one book. We personally believe it’s the most important thing you can do for your marriage, is keep God at the centre. So this means keeping His word as an integral part of our relationship, individually and together. (which is something we truly need to keep getting better at each week, we often fail) It is easy sometimes to turn to other methods of advice but this is our truth.

We once read – “Believing in God doesn’t mean life storm magically disappear, it just means we can be anchored to the truth that Jesus doesn’t leave us in the midst of troubles and pain but He has already overcome them and therefore we have a way through our hardships.” Therefore having a personal relationship with Jesus and filling our minds and hearts on the word helps us to experience the greatest example of unconditional love there is and ever will be. So much more we could say on this, but that’s why this book is the top of our pile.

Bulletproof your marriage
– Margaret McCracken

There’s way to much gold in this book, I think half the stuff we post on Love Salt Light is straight out of here or inspired by what we read. We’ve read it twice now and continue to get more out of it. I think also because they were pastors at our previous church and we had the privilege of hearing David preach many times and knowing what giants of faith they and their family are. It’s super honest, raw, has many practical tips and stories to learn from too. I think our two favourite parts were; reading how they actually developed a plan for vision, values and principles for conflict in their marriage, it inspired us to sit down and literally write ours out in a journal which are now such amazing foundation points for us. Secondly, reading the end contributions from their children were just beautiful. It is our greatest desire to one day have our own children reflect on our marriage and the example we set, just as David and Margaret’s three adult children shared. An amazing one to read for parents.

The Marriage Book
– Nicky and Sila Lee

If you’ve heard of Alpha, these authors are from Holy Trinity Brompton church in the UK. They created “the marriage course” which is run all around the world in large and small scales. (We’re trying to find a way to do this ourselves.) Although they are pastors with a Christian faith, they write in such a way that their advice is just brilliant for everybody! They cover the main issues in a marriage; the reality of staying married to the same person for your whole life, resolving conflict, sexual intimacy, budgeting and dealing with parents and in-laws. There’s also practical appendices with things you can fill out together too after reading it. They were together from a young age and now have 4 children, so they write with great experience and honesty. We haven’t actually finished this one yet, but so far, sooo good. I think each page I’ve written a page on notes and takeaways.

The Five Love languages
– Gary Chapman

If you haven’t heard of this one, this is a MUST! Anyone and everyone needs to read this! It is such a practical guide to helping us understand how to communicate love in the best way possible to our spouse. Basically – Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch are the five main love languages we all give and receive naturally. The book explains them all in detail and includes the assessment questionnaire you can take with your spouse to find out exactly what your love language is. Very insightful, it will change the way you think about expressing love to your partner.

The One Year Love languages minute devotional
– Gary Chapman

This one is one of my personal favourites as it’s such an easy one minute read each day and you can use the book on repeat. I read this when we were engaged and it helped a lot, but I often go back to it! With a short bible verse, story and prayer for the day, it covers all the love languages and more to help you learn some biblical insights and encourage you to grow your love in small ways each day.

The Five Love Language – Mens edition
– Gary Chapman

This is yet another version of the books above but is specifically targeted to men. Mark is currently reading this, and actually keeps it next to our toilet to remind him to read a few pages each day (don’t know how boys read on the loo!!) It’s just presented in a different format to appeal to men, so maybe that’s what you need to motivate you to do some reading blokes. As the old saying goes, “happy wife, happy life.”

Things I wish I’d known before I got married
– Gary Chapman

We love this book because it really encourages couples to PREPARE for marriage. This is something people really lack awareness of these days, that you actually do need to prepare and learn BEFORE you tie the knot. When you’re hopelessly in love and emotions are on a constant high, it’s easy to think you’re ready for marriage, or maybe you think you’ve been together long enough so it’s just the right next step. But that isn’t always so. This book can be used as a bit of a checklist as it covers 12 areas that might help you and your partner decide if you’re ready to say I Do. Even if you’re engaged or already married, the skills can help you examine your foundation too.

Things I wish I’d known before we became parents
– Gary Chapman

Just as Dr. Gary Chapman shares on the benefits of being prepared for marriage, he has created this new book about preparing to be good parents. We read this after we had our first baby, so there’s no ‘right’ time to read it. If you’re pregnant, hoping to be soon, or already have young kids, this is for you! It covers such practical things like what to expect with sleep, money, siblings, toilet training, choosing the right school, marriage and parenting, apologizing to your kids and their emotional and physical wellbeing. It’s super succinct, basic and easy to read in just a few days plus it’s all from the perspective of “I Wish we’d known..” so could save you some heartache and learn from their reflections.

Night Light – A devotional for couples

– Dr James and Shirley Dobson
(Founders of Focus on The Family)

This is another one-page-a-day 6 month devotional that is aimed to be read together. We are slowly working our way through this one (We received it as a gift 6 years ago haha so I mean, very slowly!) The way it’s set out you can really pick it up and read any page on any day.
It covers 26 topics including things like husband and wife roles, sex, trust, money, fighting, kids, divorce and so much more. It shares a bible verse, a story, some reflections questions and a prayer each day. Although some of the stories are a little outdated, the principles are really encouraging. We’ve been enriched by this book and the wisdom their share from their 40+ year marriage.

Marriage Journal

This is something we’ve only started since preparing for Love Salt Light, as it made us realise that we actually need to have a ‘plan’ for our marriage and intentionally spend time reflecting on this.

Basically we’ve written the vision for our marriage, goals for this year, our personal principles for conflict and things we won’t tolerate in those situations, answers to some of our #talkitout questions, personal and couple goals, takeaway points from the books we’ve read and of course encouraging bible verses or prayers!

(We’ll share more specifically one day soon about how we use this journal!)

Our hope through Love Salt Light is to share ideas and resources that we’ve found valuable in our own relationship. We wanted to make what’s inside these books available to you everyday through our Instagram, as we know not everyone will be motivated to read a whole book about marriage. But for those who want to learn and grow more, these are some we constantly refer to.

I’m sure there are countless titles some of you could recommend so please share with us and our growing LSL community. Comment on our posts or send us DM!!

We’d LOVE to know if you get around to reading any of these too.

(Keep your eyes peeled for a little book giveaway we’re going to do soon too!)

PS- if you’re wondering, most of these could be found online to purchase or at your local Koorong Bookstore!

Mark and Lauren