Relationship Resources

A common fear that adult children of divorce and separation have is that they too will struggle in their romantic relationships. After all, they witnessed the breakdown of the key adult relationship in their life, that of their parents.

But simply because your parents have separated or divorced does not mean that you are fated to do the same! Thanks be to God, healing is possible, including healing that gives the courage and perseverance to enter and maintain holy, happy, healthy relationships.

Below are resources that provide support, encouragement, and insight for relationships at various stages: dating, engaged, and married. Disclaimer: the inclusion of a resource on this list does not imply complete agreement by Life-Giving Wounds, nor does Life-Giving Wounds take responsibility for the content of any resource. These resources are provided in the hopes that they will be helpful for adult children of divorce in building solid relationships. The list is not meant to be exhaustive.

Resources for Dating Couples

Books

The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Kantor
A fun but substantive look at advice for couples, dating, and relationships based on Jane Austen’s classic novels.

Exercises

Must-have conversations
Provided by For Your Marriage, a USCCB website. Walks dating or engaged couples through conversations on important topics.

Websites

Catholic Match Institute
Run by Catholic Match, an online dating site. Articles about preparing for marriage, including many real-life stories.

Resources for Engaged Couples

Ministries and courses

Agape Catholic Marriage Prep
Run out of Colorado Springs but available to any couple via online modules plus mentor-led conversations. A full marriage preparation program for engaged couples rooted in Catholic teaching and St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

Natural Family Planning
A holistic, moral way of respecting the life-giving nature of married love, based on reading the woman’s signs of fertility each month. There are various methods that can be taught in-person or online.

Witness to Love
A mentor model of marriage preparation that connects engaged couples to their faith and their parish as they prepare for marriage. The curriculum is virtues-based, and is also available for civilly married couples who want to bring their marriage into the Church.

Pre-marital inventories

These are self-evaluation tools that can help a couple evaluate their strengths and weaknesses prior to marriage, in consultation with a trained facilitator.

Fully Engaged
An inventory designed to be catechetical and fully Catholic. It can also be done by civilly married couples seeking convalidation.

FOCCUS
Covers major areas that couples should discuss.

Books and workbooks

10 Great Dates Before You Say ‘I Do’ by David and Claudia Arp
Walks couples through reflections on various topics that can be discussed on a series of dates.

Invited: The Ultimate Catholic Wedding Planner by Stephanie Calis
Helps engaged couples both with the practical aspects of planning a wedding, and the spiritual and emotional aspects of preparing their hearts for marriage.

The Mission of Love: A Sacramental Journey to Marital Success by John Curtis, Fr. Dominic McManus, O.P., and Mike Day
Guides couples in developing their mission statement and helps them embrace the vocation of marriage.

FOR MEN

The Transition: A Practical Guide to Engagement for the Catholic Man by Chet Collins
A light-hearted but worthwhile look at both the practical and spiritual sides of getting ready for marriage, written from man to man.  

Videos

Saying I Do: What Happens at a Catholic Wedding
Produced by the USCCB. Walks through the Catholic wedding service in all its variations.

Beloved: Finding Happiness in Marriage
Produced by the Augustine Institute. A series of twelve videos that look deeply at the Sacrament of Marriage, its meaning, and its beauty.  

Websites

Catholic Match Institute
Run by Catholic Match, an online dating site. Articles about preparing for marriage, including many real-life stories.

For Your Marriage
Resource website run by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Lots of great information and advice for couples preparing for marriage.

Spoken Bride
Provides both practical advice for planning a Catholic wedding and spiritual advice for preparing for marriage. Includes many reflections from real-life couples.

Resources for Married Couples

Ministries

Domestic Church
Ongoing support for married couples, based on small groups of couples who meet regularly and go on retreat together.

Retrouvaille
A ministry specifically for couples who are seriously struggling or considering divorce. “A lifeline for marriages.” Weekend retreats feature witnesses from couples who faced serious struggles but persevered.

Teams of Our Lady
An international movement of small groups of married couples. The groups meet monthly to encourage each other in their marriages.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter
An international ministry that hosts weekends for married couples to come away and be refreshed in their relationship.

Exercises

Re-FOCCUS Marital Inventory
A self-evaluation tool for married couples to take stock of their relationship and see more clearly their strengths and places to grow.

Books

FOR NEW PARENTS
Then Comes Baby: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Three Years of Parenthood by Gregory and Lisa Popcak

FOR NEWLYWEDS
Just Married: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Five Years of Marriage by Gregory and Lisa Popcak
Covers common areas of struggle for newlyweds, including finances, time management, decisions about children and sexual intimacy.

FOR MEN
The Dude’s Guide to Marriage: Ten Skills Every Husband Must Develop To Love His Wife Well by Darrin Patrick and Amie Patrick

FOR ALL

Catholic and Married: Leaning Into Love, edited by Art and Laraine Bennett
A collection of essays by various Catholic authors, written to be encouragement for couples at any stage.

A Short Guide to Praying as a Family, by the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia Congregation
Filled with beautiful artwork, traditional prayers, and advice from these prayerful women on bringing prayer into your home.

For Better: How the Surprising Science of Happy Couples Can Help Your Marriage Succeed by Tara Parker-Pope
Not written from a Catholic perspective but with lots of good advice based on solid research.

Blessed is Marriage: A Guide to the Beatitudes for Catholic Couples by John Bosio
A fairly short book that can be read together as a couple. Each chapter concludes with reflection questions.

FOR STRUGGLING COUPLES
Marriage 911: How God Save Our Marriage (and Can Save Yours, Too!) by Greg and Julie Alexander
A real-life story from a couple that came back from the brink of divorce to found a ministry to help other struggling couples (The Alexander House).

FOR NEWLYWEDS
After the Glass Slipper: 8 Proven Steps to Lasting Love by Jon and Beverly Meyerson
Solid advice for the newly married on how to keep your marriage growing after the “honeymoon period” is over.

The Four Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage by Gary Chapman
By the author of “The Five Love Languages.” Good advice for couples at any stage of life.

Websites

For Your Marriage
Resource website run by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Articles on every aspect of marriage, virtual retreats, resources, and more.

FOR NEWLYWEDS
Spoken Bride
In addition to pre-marital tips and advice, includes encouragement for newly married couples, often through reflections from real-life couples.