Habits for a Healthy Marriage

A Handbook for Catholic Couples

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Drawing on his experience of forty years as a psychiatrist, Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons presents twelve habits that can foster healing and growth in Catholic marriages. This books helps couples to identify and resolve the major emotional conflicts that weaken their relationships and hurt their marriages.

Habits for a Healthy Marriage is unique because it draws on the field of positive psychology, which focuses on growth in virtues. Each chapter names a common marital problem along with a particular virtue that can help couples to overcome that problem. It shows that the road to healing is paved with forgiveness, not only between spouses but also within their families of origin. Along the way the author incorporates the luminous writing of Saint John Paul II on marriage and the timeless wisdom of the Catholic Church.

Whether you are newly engaged, recently married, or married for many years, the conflict-resolving strategies described in this book—the habits of a healthy marriage—can help you to protect your relationship from the emotional storms that often lead to quarrelling and mistrust, and sometimes to separation and divorce.

Dr Richard Fitzgibbons

Richard Fitzgibbons, M.D., has treated and written about excessive anger and other psychological conflicts in marriage and families for forty years. He is the coauthor of Forgiveness Therapy and is married with three children.


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"Today, given high divorce rates, marriage can be a seemingly dangerous and difficult path. Dr. Fitzgibbons' book provides a penetrating guide to the virtues that sustain strong and happy marriages. Highly recommended!"
— W. Bradford Wilcox, Ph.D., Director, National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia

"Habits for a Healthy Marriage will become a classic because Dr. Fitzgibbons lays out for every modern couple the next steps to take, no matter where they are starting from, on the never-ending road to becoming a great couple."
— Patrick Fagan, Ph.D., Director, Marriage and Religion Research Institute at the Catholic University of America

"If copies of this book were given to all engaged couples who sought to live out the advice of Dr. Fitzgibbons, the world would be a much better place for husbands, wives, children, and communities."
— Christopher Kaczor, Ph.D., Author, The Seven Big Myths about Marriage

"One of the most powerful resources for marriage today! If you are seeking healing and greater intimacy in your marriage, then this is a must-read."
— Drew Mariani, Relevant Radio

"Masterpiece! Everyone can benefit from the tremendous wisdom and challenges contained within this crucial handbook. A rare jewel in the midst of marital psychobabble."
— Timothy G. Lock, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Goretti Center for Healing and Forgiveness

"This ground-breaking marital healing book demonstrates the necessity to uncover and resolve the excessive anger that is present in every serious conflict between Catholic spouses. It is also essential reading for parents, singles, engaged couples, priests, and mental health professionals."
— Robert Enright, Ph.D., Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison 

"This book is extremely helpful for spouses and a must-read for anyone involved in the pastoral care of the family."
— Stephan Kampowski, Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for the Sciences of Marriage and Family, Rome

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