As the publicist at Pauline Books & Media, I’ve had the pleasure of reading so many of our titles—from teen dramas to delightful picture books to spiritual guides. But as I read Forever: A Catholic Devotional for Your Marriage by Jackie and Bobby Angel, I got excited.
I finally felt like a book was speaking to me in a heartfelt and humorous way. Granted, I am part of the exact target audience of Jackie and Bobby’s mostly millennial fans, but that further cemented for me that they homed in on what my generation wants and needs to hear about marriage and prayer. And the craziest thing about this being one of my favorite Pauline titles is that I’m not even married!
So why would a single girl enjoy a book about marriage? Reading through the chapters on what love is, and how marriage is a great expression of love, I feel the amazing possibility of finding someone to spend my life with. How Jackie and Bobby describe their marriage and their love story—as something that takes tremendous help from God—gives me hope that God has a great plan for me and for every couple who chooses to devote their lives to one another and to him.
Reading Forever was my first introduction to Jackie and Bobby, but the more I read, the more I liked them and the way they beautifully lay out the idea of Theology of the Body, prayer, and marriage. I gleaned that marriage is not perfect; it’s hard work, but with God and prayer, it’s a little easier. The way the prayers are designed to bring husband and wife closer together appeared to me as a divinely inspired plan.
At every Catholic wedding I’ve attended, the priest seems to give some version of the same homily: “Marriage is a triangle. The only way the two bottom points, husband and wife, truly become one is by moving toward the top point, God.” Forever reads as an effective way to jumpstart that journey toward the top point. The book meets couples where they are, understanding that not every couple is going to be devout from Day One (or even Day Ten Thousand and One!). The six weeks of prayer help couples set a solid foundation for praying together throughout their lives.
An aspect of the book that deeply resonated with me and my singleness is that we have to be vulnerable in our own prayer life before we can do so with a partner. This notion has led me to strengthen the way I pray in solitude, hopefully preparing me for the day I pray with a husband. Jackie and Bobby also talk about prayer as a transformative power. It’s inspired me to pray more deeply about the vocation of marriage, the type of person I want to marry, and the type of spouse I want to be.
As a young person navigating a notoriously turbulent life period, Forever has brought me peace and comfort that prayer is and should be an important element of a life and a marriage well-lived. I am looking forward to the day I meet someone worth sharing forever with. In the meantime, I’ll keep praying and conversing with God about what that might look like. And even better, I have the experts like Jackie and Bobby at hand showing me that God’s plan is never what we think it will be, but that it is always what is best.
by Maureen Quinlan