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Yesterday my mother called and invited all my children over for dinner and a trip to Dairy Queen. Something they surely didn’t want to pass up. But the best part was, she didn’t invite me or my husband.

After navigating a massive cone-zone construction detour to drop them off, we had the evening to ourselves. We wandered downtown aimlessly, found an empty table in a quiet bar for drinks and appetizers, and then strolled across the street to our favorite sushi restaurant where we stuffed ourselves on tempura shrimp rolls.

Our conversations were uninterrupted and we could discuss anything we wanted without having to spell certain words to each other over our childrens’ heads. The time together was a relief to both of us.

Date night, as any marriage counselor would say, is time well spent. If you’re looking for a book to navigate a complicated relationship, or to make a relationship stronger, here are several that are definitely worth checking out:

He Said, She Said, I SaidHe Said, She Said, I Said by Barbara J. Peters, RN, PLC: Relationships are complicated, people aren’t perfect, and we can often each get caught in the narrow pathways of our own perceptions. When situations occur where opinions or points of view differ, a couple’s connection can either be strengthened or weakened depending on how their  differences are handled.

When a couple is engaged in the dance of relationship, it can sometimes be hard to recognize where they might be caught in the trap of what they think is occurring instead of stepping out of that mire to find out what is really going on. Often, the way one or both people are viewing the situation is at the core of the relationship issues.

In He Said, She Said, I Said, couples’ counselor Barbara J. Peters breaks down possible perceptions and misconceptions in seven key relationship areas: communication, trust, forgiveness, intimacy, acceptance, friendship, and love, by using common sense, wisdom, and some professional advice to open up the possibility for a different approach.


Learning to Love by Crystal:

Learning to Love combines Crystal’s personal experience of discovering the importance of putting time and energy into loving ourselves first with her professional knowledge of the crucial part that relationships play in every aspect of our lives. This guidebook helps us understand ourselves and the power that we have in creating our lives every moment of every day.


blueprintNot a BluePrint: It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter by Nina Norstom:

Author Nina Norstrom lost her child to a disease, but that wasn’t the only toxic relationship she endured. In this book, she explores the effects that her relationships with grief, pain, trauma, and forgiveness have had on her life.

This tale exposes a mother’s struggle to escape her world of toxicity, her journey out of the clutches of diseased relationships, and the shoe prints the experiences have left on her family’s history. This story in its raw form projects a remarkable voice to the heroic fight, courage, and bravery gained when striking back to wipe out toxic relationships. Its message reveals that life brings many challenges and that each challenge provides lessons to be learned.

This book is not intended to be a blueprint for dealing with diseased relationships. It’s about the shoe prints: those symbols of life’s journey that are left by our experiences. Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter is an insightful and inspiring personal story of one family’s journey through toxic relationships.

All books by BQB and WriteLife Publishing are available on Amazon, B&N, or can be ordered from your favorite local bookstore.