I just wanted to tell you (and your wife) THANK YOU for writing “Just Married.”
My married friends and I are always complaining to each other about the absolute dearth of material for faithful Catholics wanting to date, prepare for marriage, and live marriage in an authentically Catholic way. Basically, we hear two messages:
1. Marriage is hard. Marriages fall apart because people think it’s all going to be rosy, then when reality hits, the spouses don’t know what to do. Marriage is, above all else, a cross. It is really hard. You have to give up everything. Think St. Francis of Assisi, whose rolling around in snowy thorn bushes gives us a great illustration of what marriage is like. (This leaves us frustrated and confused. Our parents seem happy enough, “despite” having 5-7 kids and homeschooling… are they sinning and being too worldly? If marriage really is supposed to be miserable, do I really want to do this?)
2. Shockingly, the Catholic Church is pro-sex! You heard that right. Blah blah blah remedial stuff about chastity that has been drilled into us since seventh grade. (Yes, it’s important that this message gets out, and a lot of people still need to hear it, but we’ve already sat through enough Jason Evert in high school and we’re committed to abstinence before, fidelity during, and lifelong commitment. Is there anything else to say?)
So then we get married and stumble around in the dark because we know we’re supposed to make sacrifices for each other but no one’s ever taught us how to actively maintain a relationship, or how to work through disagreements in productive ways. No one’s ever told us that marriage is meaningful and worthwhile. And happy! Enjoyable, even! I got married before most of my friends, so I’ve spent many a rehearsal dinner conversation shrugging and saying “sure, marriage is hard, but so was college. And I know you think, overall, very highly of that experience and are grateful for what you learned and how you grew there. Marriage isn’t anything to freak out about.”
“Just Married” has been VERY HELPFUL for us in our marriage (so far, we’re only into chapter 3), and now we’re giving it to all our friends as wedding gifts.
Maybe you can write a marriage prep book/program for faithful Catholics. Then pastors and others running marriage prep can decide which program is best for each couple.
Gosh Mary, Thanks for your kind message. Lisa and I are so glad you are finding Just Married to be so helpful. You will be pleased to know that we actually have two programs that would fit the request you made.
First, Ascension Press just published the marriage preparation program I developed with Tom McCabe. It is called Living a Joy-Filled Marriage and it is the living skills complement to Christopher West’s God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage. It can stand alone or be used as a complement to Christopher West’s program.
Second, you might be interested in the marriage enrichment program Lisa and I published through Crossroads called, A Marriage Made for Heaven. It is a series of 12 once-a-month meetings covering different topics that every couple should master to have a great Catholic marriage. Each session starts with a video presentation by Lisa and I and includes exercises, discussion questions, case studies, and take home experiences for couples. The program was designed to work with both small and large groups. It requires no training to run. If you can read and push “play” you can become a marriage minister in your parish or with a small group of friends.
Again, thank you for your thoughtful note. We’re so glad that you liked the book. We hope that some of the other resources we mentioned above might help you go even deeper in your marriage.
Please be assured of our prayers.
God Bless, Dr.P.