My picks have ranged from old spiritual classics to fun books on having a great sex life. The best book I have read so far is Intimate Allies by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman. Hands-down, it is the best combination of the spiritual and the practical, discussing both the whys and hows of creating and keeping a strong, spiritually and emotionally vibrant marriage. It's definitely one I will reread.
Another recommended title was Mike Mason's The Mystery of Marriage. When I first started reading it, I found it a bit heady and theoretical, and in my stressed-out state I found that I had trouble wading through his wordy ruminations on his wonder at how surprising marriage is. But I've dug back into it the past few days, and I've been able to appreciate it a bit more. Maybe I am not as stressed (not likely) or maybe it is just that every now and then I stop and look up in amazement as I consider the fact that in just a few more days I will be a married woman, with a new name and a new role. I'm thrilled, excited, and more than a little awestruck at this blessing.
So I've enjoyed the meditations more. A few passages in his chapter on vows that struck me in my reading yesterday:
"God is not interested, ultimately, in natural attraction. He wants us to come to know the supernatural attraction of His own sort of love."
"When we surrender to marriage and to the sinner God once unaccountably gave us the ability to love, then we surrender in faith and in the very depth of our will to God Himself."
"Marriage is one of the supreme earthly ways by which God enables men and women to choose eternity, and actually to grow into His own changelessness and constancy by slowly acquiring the only constancy that is possible in this world of decay, which is the constancy of the heart, the constancy of loving faithfulness."
"While it is true that a man and a woman on their wedding day take a step toward a unique fulfillment of the commandment of love, it is even more true to say of matrimony that it is a sacramental outpouring of God's grace enabling such love to take place."
And he goes on and on, challenging our shallow ideas of love and commitment. He really digs deep into the spiritual reality of seeking to love another person wholeheartedly, of giving your life to them. It's good stuff. And despite the enormity of this choice, this vow I am making, I am more excited than ever to walk into this marriage with God's grace and love empowering me to love this man I have been blessed with.