If you are engaged or married, married for a short time or married for a long time, fallen away from the faith or have your doctorate in theology, whatever your state in married life, The Four Keys to Everlasting Love by Karee and Manuel Santos will enrich your married life and life in general. The book is meant to serve as a kind of field manual to the details of a life together that might be otherwise overlooked or swept under the rug, but which cause the most problems between spouses. It is meant to be read and worked through together with your spouse, although it can be read by one spouse at a time.
Topics included range from the basics of what being married means; prioritizing God, family, and work; fertility and the sexual union; finances; and domestic life, including rearing children and special family situations such as children with special needs and blended families. What Karee and Manuel do especially well is weave this information in thoughtful ways through anecdotes both personal and from clients they’ve encountered through the course of their career (Manuel is a psychiatrist) to give readers a fuller and more practical understanding of these principles of Catholic living.
Sprinkled throughout each chapter are reflection questions meant to spark conversation and deeper understanding in spouses, maybe even a life change. Also, at the end of each chapter there are conversation-starter questions (especially helpful if you’re the only spouse reading the book), an action plan (a practical, tangible way to put the lesson of the chapter into action), and a quote from the Catechism.
For me, some of these chapters were great refreshers on things I already knew, but others, like those on finances and child-rearing/domestic life, either gave me the answers I had been searching for but was previously unable to find, or gave me new, enriching insights into this life that I hadn’t considered before. I’m sure most readers will be the same way—not everything in the book will be a revelation, and most of us will have different areas in which we are strong and weak. But this book provides all of the essential information for living a full married life—and a Catholic one, at that—and is a great practical manual for day-to-day living. It fills a void in Catholic marriage preparation, not because Pre-Cana and the like are necessarily lacking, but because you can’t take Pre-Cana with you! Get this book, read and discuss it with your spouse, put it on the shelf in a prominent spot, and pull it out often. Your marriage will benefit immensely.
*I received a copy of this book for the purposes of review*