Ok, two awesome books that I strongly recommend, particularly for married people or for people who at some point want to be married. The first one is Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas.

I’ve read a bunch of marriage books (although the extent to which my heart, mind, and behavior have changed for the better as a result, is somewhat dubious, so please don’t think I’m bragging when I say I’ve read a bunch of marriage books), and this one is by far my favorite. Thomas critiques the notion that celibacy is the primary condition in which Christian virtue flourishes (as it was according to many years of Christian tradition) and explains throughout the book how marriage presents enormous spiritual challenges and can bear great spiritual fruit. He quotes Francis de Sales at one point, ” ‘The state of marriage is on that requires more virtue and constancy than any other… It is an exercise in perpetual mortification… From this thyme plant, in spite of the bitter nature of its juice, you may be able to draw and make the honey of a holy life.” (For my friends who are single and WISH they were married, I think the same thing applies: From the bitter juice of singleness you may be able to draw the honey of a holy life!  I just love that quotation, though, because whatever the bitter juice is, that is where Jesus comes in. To the open wound, the gashed flesh, the broken heart. That is where he comes and holds us. That is where the honey is made.) Anyway, it’s an amazing book.

The second one is by Dr. Kevin Leman, who from what I can tell is sort of a pop Christian psychologist, which is obviously a potential warning sign. This is the only book of his I’ve read, so I can’t vouch for him all around, but: 7 Things He’ll Never Tell you (But You Need to Know). I know, it even has a number in the title. Bad sign. But the book turns out to be AMAZING. If you are a female and know any men or want to at some point have a relationship with any men, please read this book. This is my second time through, and after 7 months of marriage I can see all the more how true this stuff is. And how quickly I forget. John and I were reading different books next to each other last night, and he glanced over and saw one thing that was kind of in larger letters, in a box or something on the page (yeah, it’s that kind of book. another caveat. this isn’t jung or kant we’re talking about here) and he just broke into this grin. This beautiful smile of “wow, that is SO true and women don’t get it at ALL.” For folks who want a book that is about Jesus on every single page, this isn’t it. But if you want a clear, easy, and amazing book that can tell you practical ways to be good to your man, this is a gem.