Well, Shucks. Y’All Are Makin’ Us Blush.

I had to post this truly touching review from the Snoring Scholar of Lisa and my new book Just Married:  A Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First 5 Years of Marriage.

oh, the things I would’ve missed if I hadn’t read Just Married: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Five Years of Marriage, by Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak (who’ve written about 100 other books, and are professional marriage people, and have a radio show, and all sorts of credibility stuff).

This book wasn’t necessarily written for me: I’ve been married ten years this year. Honestly, I intended to skim through it and pull together a general review.

But I couldn’t.

I got sucked in, just as surely as the dog hair gets into the toothpaste container. (Don’t ask.) I was intrigued and nodding and (dare I suggest it?) making notes of things and learning a thing or three…

We want you to remember four little words that will help you get through these times. Ready?

NEVER BLAME YOUR MARRIAGE

Write it down. Tattoo it on the back of your hand. Memorize it. Chant it. Say it until you can dance to it. Marriages do not have lives of their own. A marriage only has the life a husband and wife give it. People say things such as, “It just didn’t work.” or “It just didn’t make sense anymore.” “It just died.” Remember this. There is no it. There is just you, your spouse, and God. If your marriage is dying on the vine, it isn’t because it (your marriage) is broken. It is simply that you don’t currently have the skills to nurture it under the pressures you are currently facing. Get those skills. Read good self-help books; go on a marriage retreat; join a support group; get therapy.

I’m pretty sure that these are some kick-donkey people, here, and I’d like to meet them someday. This book put words to things that I’ve felt at a gut level and have struggled to articulate (not that I needed to articulate anything, mind you, but as a word person, I sometimes just want to have the words for things).

Many people believe that in order to be “true to themselves” they are obliged to say what they are feeling in the middle of feeling it, but the truth is, feelings are God’s gift to you, not anyone else. Your feelings are God’s way of calling your attention to a potential problem. Having received the emotional message, you need to go to God to figure out whether the emotional message was a glitch (because you were tired, or underfed, or overwrought, or otherwise not functioning properly) or whether it was intended to point out some real issue that needed to be addressed. Having sought God’s counsel and calmed down a bit, now it’s time to raise the issue. Instead of leading with your emotions, leading with possible solutions gives you a way to discuss possible ways to prevent the situation from occurring in the future without letting the conversation devolve into “I feel so awful about who did what to whom.”

I agree wholeheartedly with the plug on the front of the book by Christopher West: “Every married couple—newly married or otherwise—will benefit from this book.” Yeah. What he said.

 You’re very kind.  Lisa and I hope many couples are similarly blessed.

 

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About Dr. Greg

Dr. Gregory Popcak directs the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an organization dedicated to helping Catholics find faith-filled solutions to marriage, family, and personal problems. Together with his wife, Lisa, he hosts More2Life Radio. He is the author of over a dozen books integrating psychological insights with our Catholic faith. For more info about books, tele-counseling and other resources, visit www.CatholicCounselors.com.

  • http://www.snoringscholar.com/ Sarah Reinhard

    Keep up the great work. :)

  • Steve

    That business of not treating your marriage as a personal noun is brilliant. I’ve tried ot explain something similar to people, but have never been able to get it out like that.

  • Lauren

    I got married this past April, and my husband and I are expecting our first child in May. I ordered this book because I figured we should do all we can for our marriage before we have to learn about parenting. I am almost done with the book, and have read portions out loud to my husband. Great thoughts, great advice and great activities. I think what we have taken away is to push ourselves to learn how we can love each other best, and to actually do it (whether it be verbally, physically or in other way). I also loved the chapter on prayer and how important it is to lay ourselves before the Lord and open ourselves up. I recommend to really any couple (seriously dating, engaged or married) to learn some very practical ways you can love each other better.


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