5 Favorite Marriage Books

It’s wedding season, and I thought I’d share some of my favorite books about marriage and love. We (or I) read most of these either before or during dating/engagement, but all of them would be just as excellent for an already married couple. In fact, I think it would be awesome to re-read some of them in the future.

Five Favorite Marriage Books

It’s no secret that both Tom and I are pretty huge nerds. The nerdiness takes different forms for both of us but one of our shared nerd passions is reading, and specifically reading aloud with each other. We actually started doing this basically right after we started dating. We spent a good chunk of time in the car, driving to and from dates, mini road trips, or just the normal (and LONG, thank you D.C. traffic) commute of Tom driving me home at night. So we made sure we always had a book going so we could put the travel time to good use.

Want to know the first book we read out loud?


It was a really light-hearted little thing called Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla. Womp, womp. I believe I was the one who suggested it, and somehow managed not to come on as a) desperate “MRS”-degree-seeker or b) over-achiever. I had already read a good chunk of it in a college course, and Tom had wanted to read it for awhile, so I guess we managed to ignore its obvious implications (I mean, we’d been dating all of 3 weeks or something when we cracked it open…) and plunged into the fascinating mind of the amazing saint who wrote it.

This book is not for the faint of reading heart, but it’s also still pretty accessible for the average reader without a doctorate in theology (and MUCH shorter than TOTB). There are some pretty ground-breaking revelations in there about what exactly it means to be in a healthy marriage relationship, and Wojtyla doesn’t mince words. He covers, among other things:  the meaning of the word “love” and its different forms, sexual shame/shamelessness, chastity– in and out of marriage, NFP/periodic abstinence, causes of female frigidity, annnnd the importance of mutual male/female climax. It is worth the read, whether you’re preparing for marriage, or just trying to find something helpful to read in light of our current marriage crisis.


Three to Get Married, by Fulton J. Sheen

This book is a more a poetical version of Wojytla’s work, covering many of the same topics on Catholic marital teaching. Sheen has an eloquent way of describing the love between a man and a woman and children as the natural and beautiful fruit of that union. (Another great book to read if you’re disheartened by the war on traditional marriage!). We would often re-read certain paragraphs, because they were just that well-written and meaningful.


The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis


This is not a “marriage” book per se, but I think an absolute must-read if you are a human being trying to be in relationship with another human being. Tom and I both read this before we ever met but really enjoyed talking about our favorite passages from it. Lewis make sense of the complex meanings of the different types of love we all experience throughout life. There is so much food for thought here, especially in regards to the commitment to life-long that is marriage and the Ultimate Love all of our earthly loves mirror.


A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Van Auken

Please tell me you have already read this book! It is so, so, so, so good. Definitely on my Top Ten Books of All Time. Imagine my delight when I met Tom and he was as big a fan of this book as I was! This book is about everything having to do with love: friendship, loyalty, unity, marriage, adventure, and ultimately, loss and sorrow. It’s the love story of Sheldon and his wife, Davey, who dies very young. It’s also, more importantly, a love story between the author and God, specifically about how the loss of his wife ultimately draws him into a relationship with the Lord. Warning: you will cry.


The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman

I know you’ve taken the love language test, and probably talked the subject to death in college with your friends, but this book is popular for good reason! It identifies the common ways people give and receive love, and at its core is about understanding the way your spouse communicates. Lots of practical advice and quizzes in here (and who doesn’t love a good psycho-analyzing quiz?!).

I’m sure I have read many other book on love, marriage, communication, and so forth, but those are the five that stand out for me as the most impacting, and ones I would come back to again and again.

What are your favorite books on marriage??

(Linking up with 5 Favorites at Efficient Momma). 

Currently, Vol. 3

Praying For:

We are storming heaven for my dear cousin’s little baby. He is a few weeks older than Magdalena and was just diagnosed last week with a large brain tumor. My heart hurts incredibly when I think of my cousin and her husband, watching their tiny boy go into surgery (twice now) and all the uncertainty and fear in this situation. I just cannot imagine. Please, please, please join us in praying for little Liam.


My sister graduated from college! We journeyed out to my alma mater two weekends ago to witness the event (over a tv screen in the adjoining student center). I can’t believe she’s already done.


Nappers gonna nap when graduation is during nap time.


Magdalena entertains herself as we wait to watch Anna get her diploma on the screen



The lovely grad and silly niece

Was it five years ago that I was in her (smaller sized) shoes? Anyway, she’s about to go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes with our cousin, Angela. If you can, please consider making a donation to facilitate their trip with the medical pilgrimage team. She’s also leaving next week to begin a two year missionary teaching/grad program in Memphis in an inner-city Catholic school. We will miss her but are so proud! She will be an amazing middle school teacher.

We also celebrated Tom’s birthday last Friday with dinner at our favorite pizza place down the road and had their home-made lemon doughnuts with Nutella whipped cream, instead of cake. And then none of his presents had arrived yet (they finally did yesterday. Let it be known that he ordered them himself and took a looong time deciding…) BUT my first Stitch Fix had, so we had fun opening the box and seeing what clothes worked. I highly recommend trying it out if you need new clothes but hate going out shopping. It was painless to fill out the style profile and the stylist did a fantastic job catering to my tastes and needs. Price and sizing were the only issues. We kept 2 out of the 5 items and have another one scheduled to come next month. (The link above is my referral link which gives me a $25 credit if anyone orders through it, fyi).



It’s HOT here. Humid, upper 80s/90s, how-can-this-be-May, hot. But we still try to get outside as much as we (I) can stand it. A baby pool will be making its way to our front yard ASAP.

The girls are both also really enjoying some new-to-us outside play stuff, donated by a family moving away. It does kind of make our front patio/yard look a bit like an ongoing yard sale, but we’re not in the running for Best Lawn anyway, so who cares. (Oh, probably our elderly neighbors with the all-seeing eyes who have noted every move of our existence in this house since the day we moved in and are currently calculating the dip in their property value due to our plastic kid toys and non-uniform grass). But the kids are having fun!


See?! Lucy ecstatically rides in the see-saw “hairplane” on my parents’ deck before we transported it to our yard


This is just the coolest video. The makeup artistry is unbelievable. And how crazy/fun would it be to see what your spouse or future spouse will look like wayyyy down the road?!

How to Drink Like a Saint— great thoughts!


I’ve been using Pinterest a lot for recipe ideas. Here are a few of my recent favorites, in case you’re anything like me and your brain turns to mush the minute you sit down to meal plan:

One Pot Cheesy Chicken Taco Rice (subbed in ground beef from our freezer stock)

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

Baked Honey Garlic Chicken

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

(Anything that is one-pot or slow cooker is highly preferable to me these days).


A “No Soliciting” sign for the door, since I was just rudely interrupted by a knock on the door. We get sooo many people knocking on the door offering free estimates for every possible type of home repair, financial planning, yard work, etc. They are exceedingly pushy.

This sign spells it out a bit and is basically how we feel, especially during a) nap time (there are the aforementioned toys/trikes/balls in the yard. It’s the early afternoon. Are you daft?) or b) dinnertime. We need all hands on deck to feed our small pack of hungry wolf cubs, let alone ourselves. Ain’t nobody got time to answer the front door and listen to your spiel.

So go away.

Hope you are having a lovely and less-humid week.

pretty, happy, funny, real: Vol. 2


We got a piano! It was free + cost of getting it moved here (which is to say, it was only $300, which is still a steal). We have been moving things around to accommodate it, but it’s fun to plunk around on and pull out our old music from college and pre-college days.


Hooray! And the pretty botanical prints above it are an early Mother’s Day gift from Tom!


Last Saturday, I spent the day (with my trusty side-kick, Lena) at the Catholic Women’s Blogging Network Mid-Atlantic Conference. It was so much fun. I loved getting to meet so many other Catholic bloggers, a few of whom live close enough that we can actually hang out. I absolutely loved my small group conversation, and you can read Abbey’s recap of it, because she perfectly articulated what I thought about it all, too. It was an awesome day, and I’m so happy to have met so many lovely new online/real life friends. Lena enjoyed all the babies and the freedom to roam in Julie’s beautiful home!

Lots o' babies!

Lots o’ babies! Photo cred to Rosie!  

Lucy and Tom spent the day at his fellow teacher’s country place just down the road from the Conference. Lucy got to play with kids, ducks, chickens, dogs, and a handmade rocking horse:

IMG_0468.2015-05-02_195457 IMG_0469.2015-05-02_195505


Lena is adorable, in my humble opinion, but she looks hilariously nothing like me…blue eyes, blond, curly hair…love her. One day, she may prove to share my DNA but for now, she’s 100% Cox.



Tomorrow, we’re driving up to Steubenville, Ohio– Anna’s graduating!! We’re excited to see her and our best friends up there, buuuut can’t say we’re looking forward to the 5+ hour road trip. It’s only the second major road trip with both girls. I’m mentally preparing myself as well as going to the library later to rent a bunch of Curious George DVDs for Lucy. She’ll be enjoying her on-board entertainment courtesy of a mini portable DVD player, circa 2005. Magdalena will be bribed with finger foods for as long as possible. And that’s all I got. Hit me with all your road trip advice for 2 year olds and 10 month olds. And obviously, no picture for this… yet!

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter.