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Elaine Sinnott shares her recommendation for Lessons from the School of Love, a priceless book for achieving a Christian marriage. 

I honestly have no idea how I will be able to condense this book review with the number of priceless notes I took while reading through Lessons from the School of Love: Cultivating a Christ-Centered Marriage by Peter and Debra Herbeck. This book was a major blessing to my marriage, as it would be to anyone else’s!   




Marriage is a Supernatural Vocation 

Marriage is a supernatural vocation, and it takes supernatural power to live it. (xiv)


We try to do everything under our own power. No wonder the divorce rate is 50%. Marriage requires God for it to survive! It requires raw prayers, complete surrender, and self-giving among many other things. These ingredients to the recipe for a strong marriage are all things the world pushes against.  


Marriage: The Combining of Wounds 

Husbands and wives also bring many wounds into their marriage that require working through together. Debbie and Peter each told their background story which brought me to tears. Peter’s prayers for his alcoholic father especially brought me massive hope for the healing of my own father by emphasizing the power of prayer for others. Each marriage begins with wounds brought into it. Each person has their own childhood story which formed different wounds and those wounds from two different people become one in marriage. But God uses these, when we allow Him, to turn the wounded marriage into a beautifully restored marriage! He can bring good from anything. 

The authors talk about how bleak the world looks for a Christian family, but how we cannot lose hope because God has already won the war and there absolutely IS hope!

What it means to live a Christian life is that you put to death the right to live life as you choose. You put to death the idea that you belong to yourself. You put to death the idea that you know best what should happen in your life. You put that to death, and you give it to God. (10)


A Christian marriage requires so much more than a worldly marriage.  


A Love that Never Fails 

Human loves often fails, even within the Church. The good news is that with Christ at the center of a marriage, all things are possible! (18)


God’s love never fails, though. Praise God that He uses us humans to reveal His love to the world. A sacramental marriage is a sign to the world of God’s love. Leaving at the drop of a hat is not mimicking His eternal love for us; no, He fights harder for us! When we are struggling in our marriages, we learn harder into the Lord. When there is a marital issue, there is somewhere to go, and it’s the best place to go! This book teaches you how much hope there is and how to approach the Lord when your human love is failing. It teaches you to tap into the Father’s grace, the supernatural love that will carry you through the impossible marital situations. 


Protected Family Time 

Peter and Debbie also emphasized the importance of family dinners, family prayer, and honoring the Lord’s Day with true rest. This seems impossible in today’s society! The more children you have, the more parents seem to want to make sure they all have equal chances at sports and activities. But we need to re-prioritize these activities. What is more important? Rushing a child to an event or having a family dinner? What will benefit them more in the long run? 

Furthermore, they mentioned weekly “meetings” for husband and wife to ask each other things such as “How are you personally?”, “How are the kids doing?”, and “What’s on the schedule for this week?” I love this idea and I truly hope to incorporate this into my own life! 


Parents: The First Teachers of the Faith 

Peter and Debbie also dive into the importance of being the first teachers of the faith for our children and not relying on other forms of catechesis (which I totally did before I began homeschooling). I’d sit and watch their Sunday School classes recite scripture and the Ten Commandments and I felt convicted that my children knew none of that. “Do as I say, not as I do!” doesn’t work in a Christian household. Modeling Christian behavior is incredibly important. Studying Scripture, praying the Rosary daily, and other devotions are things our children will only learn if we actually teach them ourselves. Peter and Debbie also direct specific chapters to husbands and fathers, and others to wives and mothers. 


A Good, Good Father 

The Father draws me back to Him all over again in this book. I’m just weeks postpartum with number 7, so I’m exhausted to say the least. My spiritual life was suffering, and I had no time to myself, except for the occasional shower. Yet reading this book during those long, early nursing sessions renewed me. Through it, the Holy Spirit refreshed me and spoke directly to my circumstances. What a gift this book is to the Christian Community! 

Having a Christ-centered marriage and home life/family life requires daily, hard, intentional work. It can’t just happen, especially in today’s world. This book lays a fantastic blueprint on how to achieve the Christian life Heaven calls us into on earth. It should be read by all preparing for marriage and all Christian married couples to help deepen their love for each other, their children, and God. 

There are also reflection and discussion questions for personal or group use for each chapter. This would be a great book study with your spouse, with close friends, or with other couples from church! I highly recommend it! 

Ask for Lessons from the School of Love at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, Emmaus Road.



Copyright 2023 Elaine Sinnott
Images: Canva