For Your Marriage

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For Your Marriage: An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. A wide variety of resources for engaged and married couples. A free electronic newsletter is available. A great resource for all couples. 

Marriage Encounter. A tune-up for couples married three or more years. 

Natural Family Planning:

Retrouvaille: A program to help heal and renew marriages.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. A quality resource on many Catholic topics.


Catechism of the Catholic Church: Revised in accordance with the official Latin text promulgated by Pope John Paul II.(1995). 2nd ed. New York: Doubleday. The fundamental guide to Catholic beliefs. It is divided into four parts: the profession of faith, the celebration of the Christian mystery, life in Christ, and Christian prayer. 

Handbook for today’s Catholic: Fully indexed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (2004). Rev. ed. Liguori, Mo.: Liguori Publications. Easy to read summary of beliefs, practices and prayers. Suggests practical ways for Catholics to integrate their faith into their daily lives.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. United States Catholic Catechism for adults. (2006). Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. An adaptation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Each chapter contains seven elements: story or lesson of faith, teaching, sidebars, relationship of Catholic teaching to the culture, questions for discussion, doctrinal statements, and mediation and prayer.


Dayton, H. (2009). Money and Marriage God’s Way. Chicago: Moody Publishers. The root causes of financial strife in marriage are discussed. Suggestions are offered to avoid issues that cause disagreements and solutions to healing damaged relationships are presented. Couples are encouraged to discover God’s approach to growing their finances and strengthening their relationship. A wide variety of other resources are also available.

Lenahan, P. (2000). The Catholic Answers Guide to Family Finances. San Diego, CA: Catholic Answers, Inc. More than a how-to guide on financial management, this crucial money management book helps families build a basic foundation for making money decisions. 

Ramsey, D. ( 2009). The total money makeover.: A proven plan for financial fitness. 3rd ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. Ramsey presents seven easy steps to pay off all debt, and debunks ten common money myths. Stories of people who have successfully used the plan are presented. Membership in Financial Peace University is available online.

Marriage Relationship for the Engaged Couple

Bloom, L., & Bloom. C. (2004). 101 things I wish I knew when I got married. Novato, CA: New World Library. The Blooms emphasize the importance of learning to live with differences. Conflicts can be a source of growth in marriage. Couples need to work toward win-win solutions to problems. 

Chapman, G. (2010). The 5 Love Languages: The secret to love that lasts. Chicago: Northfield Publishers. Describes how people communicate love in different ways and shows the wonderful things that happen when men and women learn to speak each other’s language. Chapman has written numerous books about love languages. There are versions for men, children, and teenagers. 

Dobson, J. (2004). Love for a lifetime: Building a marriage that will go the distance. Colorado Springs, Co: Multnomah Gifts. For those who are newly engaged, recently wed, or nearing their 10th wedding anniversary, this book offers guidance on building a marriage that will stand the test of time. His short, easy-to-read book encourages couples to keep Christ in the center of their relationship, see eye to eye on the big things, and be prepared to get into big fights about the little things. This book illustrates how men and women think differently. 

Feldhahn, S. & Feldhahn, J. (2006). For men only: A straightforward guide to the inner lives of women. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers. The Feldhahns use a national scientific survey and hundreds of interviews to explain what you can do to improve your relationship. Six insights about women that help bridge the gender gap. A Quick Start Guide is provided for impatient readers. 

Feldhahn, S. & Feldhahn, J. (2004). For women only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers. The Feldhahns use a national scientific survey and hundreds of interviews to explain what you can do to improve your relationship. Seven revelations about the inner lives of men will help you understand and may bring harmony to your marriage. 

Garascia, A. (2002). Getting married, living together: A guide for engaged couples, Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press. Written in sensitive, yet straightforward language, this book provides an insightful examination of common assumptions and misconceptions about living together. This book reviews potential problems and offers positive steps couples can take toward a happy, enduring, and sacred union.

Goddard, H. W. & Marshall, J.P. (2010). The marriage garden. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Books. The premise of this book is that our marital relationship needs nurturing just as a garden does. It is the simple, everyday acts of kindness that keep our relationship healthy. Many suggestions are provided for growing our relationship. Perhaps one of the most important is focusing on the positive rather than the negative aspects of our marriage. 

Harley, W. F. (2001). Fall in love, stay in love. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell. Discusses how spouses should meet each others’ needs to have a happy marriage. They also need to avoid “Love Busters” which can harm a relationship. Similar to The 5 Love Languages. 

McManus, M., & McManus, H. (2008). Living together: Myths, risks, & answers. New York: Howard Books. A research-based look at cohabitation. Twelve myths are discussed and refuted using statistical, scriptural and logical arguments. The emphasis is on traditional marriage. 

Parrott, L., & Parrott, L. (2006). Saving your marriage before it starts: Seven questions to ask before and after you marry. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. This marriage preparation resource lists “ingredients” of a happy marriage and then translates these ingredients into seven questions. Couples learn whether they have faced the myths of marriage with honesty, identified their love style, developed the habit of happiness, and say what they mean and understand what they hear. Couples also discover whether they have bridged the gender gap, know how to fight a good fight, and whether they are each other’s soul mate. 

Parrott, L., & Parrott, L. (2001). Saving your second marriage before it starts, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, Second marriages with children are twice as likely to end in divorce as remarriages without. Studies have shown that it takes two to seven years to adapt to being a step family. This book addresses the unique issues of “pre-marital families” and offers wisdom to prepare couples for what lies ahead. Couples learn to tackle challenges with faith, perseverance, and hope. 

Petitfils, R. (2010). What I wish someone had told me about the first five years of marriage. Cincinnati, OH: St. Anthony Messenger Press. Couples make many major decisions during their first five years of marriage: lifestyle, finances, careers, and children. If individual goals and values differ, conflict may result. Petitfils stresses the importance of setting priorities. A unique chapter deals with illness, and includes a section on coping with a miscarriage. 

Thomas, J. L., & Thomas, D.M. Beginning your marriage. 9th ed. (2002). Chicago: ACTA Publishers. A resource for couples in the first years of marriage, when the rosy optimism of courtship and wedding are tempered by the reality of two people learning to negotiate daily life together. This book applies to all faiths and has a chapter on interfaith marriages and the discussion that needs to take place to help buffer some of the obstacles to come.


Curran, D. (1997). Dolores Curran on Family Prayer. New London, CT: Twenty-Third Publications. This resource contains everything that today’s Catholic family needs to build a rich and satisfying prayer life, focusing on prayers of the Catholic Church, spontaneous prayer, home activities and more. 

Haswhaurst, J. C. (1998). Christian partner. Kalamazoo, MI: Dovetail Publishing, Presents issues that an interfaith couple may face. Provides examples of how families resolved their problems. 

Thomas, D. M. (2007). A community of love: Spirituality of family life. Chicago: ACTA Publications. God’s presence can be found in the ordinary, everyday life of a family. There are four things that may make it difficult to see God’s presence in our family: stress, fear, anxiety, and clouded vision. anxiety, stress, clouded vision and fear Thomas stresses the importance of forgiveness.

Intimacy in Marriage

Pope John Paul II. (1997). Man and woman He created them: A theology of the body. San Diego: Pauline Press. A new translation based on the archives of Pope John Paul II. 

Pope Paul VI. (1998). Humanae Vitae: Encyclical Letters of His Holiness Pope Paul VI. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, A revised and improved translation of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter which explains the depth and beauty of the Catholic understanding of the value of all life. 

Popcak, G.K. (2008). Holy Sex: A Catholic Guide to toe-curling, mind-blowing infallible loving. Crossroad Publishing. The first half of the book deals with Catholic teaching on sexuality. The second half deals with the five great powers of holy sex. There are quizzes and exercises that encourage discussion, so this is a book to be read as a couple. 

West, C. (2000). Good news About Sex and Marriage. This “user friendly” synopsis of Theology of the Body cuts to the nitty-gritty of the church’s teaching, using personal anecdotes with a positive perspective. 

West, C. (2007). Theology of the body explained: A commentary on John Paul II’s Man and woman He created them. San Diego: Pauline Press. A standard reference text for understanding Theology of the Body.


Cline, F. W., & Fay, J. (2006). Parenting with love and logic: Teaching children responsibility. (Updated and Expanded). Colorado Springs: CO: Pinon Press. This practical guide offers parenting strategies to help parents prepare their children for a world that requires responsibility and maturity for survival. Jim Fay has other Love and Logic books for teens, toddlers, and teachers in the classroom. 

Curran, D.(1999). Tired of arguing with your kids: Wisdom from parents who have been there. Notre Dame, IN: Sorrin Books. Curran presents practical advice on what to do and say when dealing with argumentative children. Humor and insight into family problems make this a valuable resource. 

Deal, R. L. (2002). The smart stepfamily: Seven steps to a healthy family. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, The myths of the blended family are explored and practical, realistic issues that step families face are examined. 

Reisser, P. C. (2007). The Focus on the Family: Complete book of baby and child care. Tyndale House Publishers For the Christian parent who wants a single, mainstream reference for the entire child- rearing experience, this book not only has plenty of sound advice and counsel, but also extensive medical and safety information. James Dobson has written many books on childcare, marriage, and God.

Marriage Ceremony

Camplin, J. (2001). Together for Life,: A preparation for marriage and the ceremony. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press. This booklet is designed to help couples plan their marriage ceremony rite with various prayers, blessings, and scripture texts. There is also a special edition for marriage outside of Mass. 

Covrio, P. (2006). Celebrating marriage: Preparing the Roman Catholic wedding liturgy a workbook for the engaged. (3rd ed.). Portland, OR: Oregon Catholic Press. A step-by- step guide for planning your wedding. Includes readings from the current Lectionary and a section on convalidation.

Marriage Education

Doherty, W. (2001). Take back your marriage: Sticking together in a world that pulls us apart. New York: Guildford Press. Doherty argues that marriages are affected by consumerism and offers solutions that focus on communication, rituals, and “intentional” marriage. This book contains quizzes and lists of questions that examine couples’ behavior and communication in marriage.

The forgiveness book: A Catholic approach. (2008). Skoie, IL: ACTA Publications. Practical suggestions on how to use the power of forgiveness. The five stages of forgiveness are listed. The consequences of anger and resentment are discussed and ways to move beyond anger are presented.

Gottman, M., Schwartz Gottman, J., & DeClaire, J. (2007). 10 lessons to transform your marriage. New York: Crown Publishing. Reader participation is required by this book. Readers are presented with the transcript of a conversation between a husband and wife along with the authors’ comments regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the conversation. The authors then present advice on how to improve the discussion of a difficult issue. Readers are invited to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the different ways to discuss a difficult issue. There is an interesting chapter on the hazards of a conflict-avoiding marriage.

Gottman, J., & Silver, (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work: A practical guide from the country’s foremost relationship expert. New York: Three Rivers Press.  This detailed book offers exercises to help couples identify what is important to them and learn to understand, honor, and respect each other and their marriage. Focusing on seven principles, this book encourages couples to become intimately familiar with each other’s worlds, nurture fondness and admiration, turn toward each other instead of away, let their partner influence them, solve solvable problems, overcome gridlock, and create shared meaning.

Parker-Pope, T. (2010). For better: The science of a good marriage. New York: Dutton. A readable blend of research data and real-life applications to marriage. The impact of brain differences on household chores and flirting are discussed. There are a variety of quizzes to help you determine the health of your marriage.

Popcak, G. K. (1999). For better… Forever: A Catholic guide to lifelong marriage. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor. This excellent resource presents a solid Catholic foundation for marriage and offers down-to-earth, practical advice.

Snyder, D.K., Baucom, D.H., & Coop Gordon, K. (2007). Getting past the affair: A program to help you cope, heal, and move on—Together or apart. New York: Guilford Press.Dealing with an affair is a very difficult challenge. The authors view marriage as a system, and both partners contribute to the problem to some extent. Tests and exercises help each person identify attitudes and behavior that may have contributed to the affair. Readers are encouraged to recognize and build on the strengths of their marriage.

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