Written by Sharon Drees. Originally published in Family Foundations.
My husband, Brian and I have been married for sixteen years. While the early days of our marriage were mostly “roses and lilacs” as we say in our family when referring to the ideal state of life, it didn’t take long before we realized that “happily ever after” doesn’t just happen on its own. It takes hard work, determination, selflessness, perseverance, and a willingness to intentionally and continually stoke the fires that brought us together in the first place.
Below are five resources that have deepened our faith life, helped us learn and grow, and inspired us with awe and wonder at God’s plan for our marriage—a plan far more glorious than we could ever dream on our own. There are books for the introspective who like to take time to sit and stew over new information; podcasts for those living a busy, on-the-go lifestyle; and an an app to make spiritual resources as handy as your cell phone.
Theology of the Body for Beginners: Rediscovering the Meaning of Life, Love, Sex, and Gender by Christopher West
Inspired by what has become known as St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, international best-selling author and speaker Christopher West has made it his life’s mission to make the Pope’s famous reflections on the human body and sexuality accessible to a general audience. In this book, West answers questions critical to our day & age such as “Why did God create us male and female?” and “How can we experience the love we long for in the depth of our hearts?” No time to sit and read? Check out the Ask Christopher West Podcast which he hosts with his wife, Wendy. Together, they discuss a variety of topics related to TOB, particularly focusing on questions about faith, life, love, and sexuality.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (Ascension Press) & Catechism in a Year Podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz
The Catechism provides the underpinning of everything we believe as Catholics and is something couples can turn to for direction at every stage of life. What better way to grown in your faith and knowledge of the Church together? Ascension Press offers a beautiful, color-coded edition that helps readers more deeply engage the timeless truths of our faith.
For those who prefer to listen or want the added benefit of a dedicated priest explain the material with modern, relevant, crystal-clarity, listen to the Catechism in a Year Podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz. (Love that? Check out: Bible in a Year Podcast, also with Fr. Mike Schmitz.)
Holy Sex! A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving by Gregory Popcak, PhD
What else can we say? Dr. Popcak has been longtime contributor to Family Foundations and EWTN. He provides solid, Catholic counseling on family and marriage.
Common wisdom portrays sex and church to be at odds, yet this witty, frank, and refreshingly orthodox book draws from the beautiful truths of Catholic teaching to show people of all faiths about rich and satisfying sexuality, including dozens of questionnaires, quizzes, and valuable lessons from real-life stories.
Good News about Sex and Marriage: Answers to your honest questions about Catholic Teaching by Christopher West
Let’s face it: the current culture presents questions you may never have had to consider before. Christopher West’s frank handling of these topics can really help clarify Catholic teaching for you and give you a solid base to speak from. “While the good news about sex, gender, and marriage remains the same as ever, cultural attitudes have shifted dramatically since this book was first released in Since that time, the logic of the sexual revolution hasn’t only marched forward—it has sprinted,” writes Christopher West.
His updated and expanded edition of the bestselling Good News about Sex and Marriage not only keeps pace with changes in society, it grounds our footsteps in the timeless and trustworthy teaching of the Church.
The Hallow App
For a newlywed couple, praying together and praying for each other is key to a successful marriage. St Mother Teresa once said, “God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.” Prayer is a place where we learn to listen, which is a virtue we need in marriage. Hallow can help. You can unlock 500+ prayers and meditations on finding calm, growing in humility, re -discovering the Saints, and even falling asleep to Scripture. Both husband and wife can download the app and pray the daily reflections together.
Sharon Drees is a full-time homemaker, wife, and mother of five, avid enthusiast of sacred & contemporary Christian music, and part-time FSI Instructional Writer. Her 10 years’ experience as a CCL Volunteer Teaching Couple with her husband has been an added source of joy in her married life