How do we become one body? You know that famous reading at weddings “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” from Genesis 2:6? It’s something that sounds theoretically nice, but before getting married I didn’t have a clue how that idea of ‘one flesh’ would eventually play out.
“Does this mean our bank accounts are joint, my job discernment has an impact on someone else other than myself? Am I sure I want to give up my comfortable single life that I was running fairly efficiently?
Yet there is also this desire of wanting to share my life with someone, to have someone challenge my opinions on the world, to be more accountable that I live up to the standard I should be living up to.
I wanted a partner to run the amazing race of life with”
So with a lot of hope and reassurance from God, I said yes to the journey of seriously/intensely working towards a marriage – engagement. Let’s do this. I remember looking online for a rough idea of what I needed to do prior to the wedding and all I found were lists of logistics and timelines for an event (I ended up getting stuck on wedding dresses for far too long). As useful as timelines were, I felt like I needed a more well-rounded preparation schedule if I was preparing to give myself unconditionally to someone else. There’s gotta be more than this.
Each couple’s preparation is specific to the two persons involved but I figured that these were generally useful tips on what people should look at prior to making a lifelong decision. Granted it could be a lot more detailed but these are the ones that make a longer term impact on a marriage I think!
Here are links to the resources I have used and continue to go back to:
(Feel free to drop me a comment if you have any resources/links you found useful in your journey)
Men, women and the mystery of Love (Book Depository) [highly recommend]
Practical Insights from Pope St John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility. Easy to read and relatable stories that helps you understand friendship, attraction, tenderness, intimacy, chastity and contraception. Read it together! There are questions after each chapter for discussion and reflection.
Love and Responsibility (Book Depository)
This book is a resourceful defense of Catholic tradition in the sphere of family life and sexual morality, written by Karol Wojtyła (before he became St Pope JP2) in 1960. It’s a lot longer than the book above but this is the original 😉
Good News about Sex and Marriage : Answers to Your Honest Questions about Catholic Teaching (Book Depository)
Q&A style book about sex and marriage. Rooted in St. John Paul II’s revolutionary Theology of the Body. It’s (quite obviously) a good resource to answer any question about sex and marriage. Basically, using people for yourself is a terrible idea.
Beloved – Mystery & Meaning of Marriage (FORMED)
Six episodes on the design of humanity, the meaning and purpose of marriage and the practical realities of a Catholic Christian marriage. Modern and engaging, each episode features stories from several speakers and is about 35-50 min long. There is a participant’s guide. Great food-for-thought.
Humanum (Ecce Films/Vimeo)
A series of six documentary films based on Humanum Vitae, the episodes speak about man and woman, masculinity and femininity, complementarity, human desires and true love in the context of today’s society/ culture. Commissioned by the Vatican, it was filmed in France, Nigeria, Lebanon, Mexico, Scotland, England, and the United States. Each episode is 15-20 min long. Have a short discussion about your thoughts, feelings and takeaways from each episode.
Jackie and Bobby (Youtube)
A channel that regularly talks about navigating relationships, love, and family life. Great tidbits of information that keep it real and grounded in the catholic faith. Videos are 5-10 min long. Love that they speak from experience and are so authentic.
The Advice That Improved Our Marriage • Aching to Find a Spouse? • The Power of Taking Marriage Vows Before a Crucifix • What it Means to Submit to Your Husband • Chastity Advice that Actually Works • How Far is Too Far Before Marriage? • How Laziness Leads to Lust • Did Chastity Make Our Wedding Night Awkward? • Having Friends of the Opposite Sex • How To Be a Virtuous Woman • Can I Be Gay and Catholic? • Dealing With a Partner’s Sexual History • Why We Don’t Use Contraception in Our Marriage • How Catholics (Should) Date
Emily Wilson (Youtube)
A channel that speaks mostly about dating and marriage, targeted at Catholic-christian women.
A comprehensive resource with videos, articles, blog posts and more on topics such as birth control, dating, homosexuality, purity, pornography, sex, starting over, STDs and vocation.
Humanae Vitae (means Of Human Life)
An encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968. In it he affirmed the sanctity of life and the procreative and unitive nature of marriage, thus addressing issues in married love, responsible parenthood, and the rejection of artificial contraception.
Amoris Laetitia (means The Joy of Love)
It is an apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis in 2016. He encourages both pastors and laity in issues regarding marriage and family life. Reading this really lifted my spirits up about getting married in this day and age.
Designed to help you and those you love live free from pornography through Screen Accountability. It’s useful if this is a struggle in the relationship and it causes insecurity or fear of using each other instead of giving freely and intimately. At the end of the day you want to help each other and not just leave the problem for someone to deal with, work through issues together (:
A Medical Marriage: Sustaining Healthy Relationships for Physicians and Their Families (Book on Amazon)
Recommended by a couple where one of them is a doctor.
Written by American psychologists who had seen many couples who had a spouse or both spouses in the medical profession and always had a trend of divorce or bitter separation. It’s helpful in highlighting specific tension points and how to manage schedules and stuff.
Kindara (App to track a woman’s fertility cycle)
The woman should start charting discharge/temperature at least 3 months before the wedding itself just so she becomes more familiar with her cycle before it goes a little haywire with the stress of a wedding. Not specifically catholic but the free version of the app does the trick of keeping track and displays a nice graph. Would recommend the couple both be familiar with charting and the app because it is a team effort and discernment!