For Better Forever: A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage by Gregory K. Popcak

  • Chapter 1

    • Christian evangelization —> “Look at those Christians. See how they love.”

  • Chapter 2

    • The only reason to get married to help each other become the people God created you to be

    • In marriage, you are responsible for helping your partner achieve heaven

    • God requires you to be Christ to your spouse

    • husband and wife have complementary roles, not compensatory roles

  • Chapter 3

    • Out identity should be built on Christ

    • Highest on the relationship pathway: Romantic Peer Marriages



      • Simplification


      • Competence - co-parents


      • Egalitarianism



    • Marriage should be an icon (pointing toward Christ), not an idol (taking the place of Christ) (95)

  • Chapter 4

    • Love in marriage consists of



      • Companionate love





        • “You know someone loves you if she desires your wellbeing and is willing to work for it daily.” (98)



        • Marriage = Best Friends + Passion





      • Romantic love





        • to be healthy, passion must flow from friendship



        • romantic love will come in waves over time in your relationship



        • romantic love is a gift you give your partner



        • “it is your job to help her learn how special she is to God.” (110)






    • The 12 Things Happy Couples Know About Love



      • Love assumes positive intention


      • Love is always present


      • Love catches its lover being good


      • Love is a full-time job


      • Love is willing to make itself uncomfortable


      • Love takes care of itself


      • Love is tactfully honest


      • Love is safe


      • Love is willing to fake it until it makes it


      • Love is generous


      • Love laughs


      • Love is not a feeling



  • Chapter 5

    • Stages of Married Life



      • Honeymoon stage


      • Conflict and Negotiation Stage


      • New Pattern Stage


      • Creative Stage


      • Homecoming Stage


      • Launching Stage


      • Second Honeymoon Stage


      • Happily Ever After Stage



  • Chapter 6

    • intimacy is the measure of love

    • vulnerability with your spouse prepares you for the vulnerability you feel with Christ in heaven

  • Chapter 7

    • Three major love languages



      • visual


      • auditory


      • kinesthetic



  • Chapter 8

    • exceptional couples actually grow in intimacy because of their arguments

    • three argument styles



      • validating


      • volatile


      • avoidant



    • healthy argument meets three criteria



      • mutually satisfying solution


      • follow the rules of engagement: certain lines you never cross


      • five-to-one ratio of positivity to negativity



    • 15 Commandments of Arguments



      • know when to hold them and know when to fold them


      • begin with the end in mind


      • get your thinking cap on straight


      • always assume a positive intention


      • use respectful deadlines


      • never negotiation the what but always the how and when


      • take your emotional temperature


      • do loving things


      • take respectful breaks


      • set respectful limits


      • use “I" statements instead of “you” statements


      • not be contemptuous


      • put it in writing


      • not both go crazy at the same time


      • pray, pray, pray



  • Chapter 9

    • Four Truths



      • sex is holy


      • sex is sacramental - expands vulnerability to the deepest level


      • sex is unitive


      • sex is procreative



    • sex is a renewal of wedding vows

    • Five Paths



      • guard each other’s dignity


      • be a servant


      • approach lovemaking joyfully


      • maintain a responsible openness to life


      • approach each other in prayer



  • Chapter 11

    • “If I do not make myself abundantly present to my children, how will they ever learn to appreciate the eternal presence of their heavenly Father?” (221)

    • Marriage is perhaps the most beautiful prayer in the world.” (222)

    • Love in marriage leads others to God