As relationship coaches and authors of books on relationships, people often give us recommendations for other books, blogs, and movies on relationships that they have enjoyed. But for the 11 years we’ve been together, and the 8 years we’ve been writing books together, we’ve never once read any of these books or seen a single one of these movies. Why?

Very early on in our relationship, we knew there was a purpose behind our meeting each other. There was something we were meant to do together. For a long time, we didn’t know exactly what that was. So we just kept trusting, following along wherever our passion led us.

Our conversations—which were intense and meaningful and fascinating from the very first email—only grew deeper and more intriguing over time. As an editor by profession, and a lifelong book lover who always knew one day I would write my own, I took notes. Lots and lots of notes. Eventually I bought a voice recorder, because the ongoing conversations we were having kept growing more and more fascinating, and I had an insatiable desire to capture many of the ideas we were exploring and revelations we were uncovering.

Those endless pages of notes, and hundreds of hours of recordings, eventually became the initial manuscript for our first book, The Soulmate Experience. As we wrote chapter after chapter, and met with our wonderful review group to hear about their reactions and to further explore our ideas, we eventually realized we had too much information for one book. So we set aside some of the “spicier” ideas—ideas that became the starting point for our our first book’s sequel, The Soulmate Lover.

All this while, we have felt “guided” to do this work. The more we open to each other, the more we explore relationships and sexuality and spirituality between the two of us, the more we work with others to implement our discoveries in their own lives, the more fervently the material “comes through” us.

Upon the publication of our new book, though, something has shifted. Suddenly I feel okay about reading what others in the field have written. In fact, I’m feeling quite passionate about it. Our ideas are already set on paper and circulating out in the world, so I no longer have the feeling that our in-process work will be influenced by reading that of other writers. So for the last few weeks, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying discovering what others in the field have to say, how they are grappling with the issues of keeping relationships alive and connected.

she comes firstIn that spirit, I bought Joe a book a couple of weeks ago that I knew he was just going to love, She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman. This happens to be a topic he already knows a lot about (lucky me!), and one he is quite passionate about. I ordered the book through one of our local bookstores, as I believe in supporting bookshops as inviting places to discover new ideas, meet our community, and engage our imaginations.

When we went to pick up the book, the bookseller smiled knowingly as he placed it in our hands.

We both smiled back. It was a sweet, delicious secret to be sharing with a stranger.

As we walked out of the shop, he called after us: “Have fun with that!”

We most certainly will…

Mali Apple & Joe DunnThank you for being here! ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and The Soulmate Lover.