I have been dying to post this book review ever since I finished this book back in September. Katie Hartfiel’s book “Woman In Love: Redefine The Journey Toward Your Husband To Be” is one of the best books I have read regarding practical and spiritual advice to single women.
I immediately knew that Katie was my kind of girl when I noticed she used the word ‘Superabundance’ several times in her book. Although she applied the term a little differently than I do, I was impressed because it is a word that is not often used.
Okay, where do I begin? I will break the book down into three main points and try not to give away too much:
- It is a proactive approach to the vocation of marriage
- It is her personal story and therefore it held my interest
- It is a complete catechesis on Chastity
A Proactive Approach To Marriage
Now by proactive I don’t mean aggressive. I mean she got down to business! She wisely chose to participate, through prayer, in the spiritual well-being of her unknown future husband. She proactively started praying for him when she was 17 years old.
Her prayer was not “God please give me a husband!” or “God, please give me ‘that’ husband!” It was, instead, “God please bless and protect my husband.” And, her prayers were honored.
This, to me, is the best quote from her book:
“The most important thing you can do for your spouse is pray for him. Crawl into the trenches of the spiritual battle raging over his soul and be a warrior for him.”
Goodness, I wish I had this insight when I was 17! I may not have had to wait 38 years to be married. I can accept that it may have been God’s will for Gregg and me to have a delayed marriage vocation, but if I had known the power of this prayer, I could have positively impacted Gregg in his earlier years. I could have crawled into the battle and been a warrior for him!!
But, I didn’t. However, you can!
A Personal Testimony
Katie was honest about her story. She did not have her spiritual strength handed to her on a silver platter but instead went through suffering and doubt. God had to unlock her heart.
Katie wrote, “The process of discerning our vocation molds us.” She admitted that, “the time leading up to the revelation of God’s will can sometimes be seemingly torturous.” An understatement indeed!
A Key Decision
She did a very wise thing, in my opinion, which set the course for her life. She was determined to attend The Franciscan University of Steubenville. Every single person that I have met who attends or attended Steubenville has impressed me with their love of the Lord and their solid Catholic identity and foundation. This one decision seems, to me, to have been a driving force in the revelation of her future vocation. She met Mark, her husband, at Steubenville practically on her first day!
What if she had attended some public college (like I did)? Think of all the secular guys she would have met. Her heart, which needed to be unlocked, could have hardened and locked up even more from all the hazards awaiting her there. Her life today would have potentially been totally different!
Sometimes Our Wounds Protect Us
Katie met Mark, her future husband, at Steubenville and they immediately were interested in each other. But, Katie was suffering from her parent’s recent divorce which caused her, out of fear, to keep her feelings for Mark hidden. In other words, she did not chase him or overtly reveal her feelings for him. She did, however, sweetly respond to his courageous initiation.
After a while, Mark initiated their ‘relationship talk’ because her struggles with herself “caused her to hesitate and prevented her from chasing Mark.” It is amazing how God can even use our wounds as a natural protection. As women, our reserved and silent, but sweet, response to a man’s initiation can often force a man (that loves us) to reveal his feelings.
I can relate to Katie when she wrote, “My expectations paled in comparison to what the Lord had in store for me.” God knows what we need and in my case as well surprised me beyond my expectations with my husband, Gregg.
Katie thought she would have to “Choose between a man who was a strong spiritual leader and one she was attracted to” but happily reported that “Mark fit the needs of her soul while simultaneously captivating her on every level.” She wrote that, “God chose Mark as His vessel to save her from herself.”
I can also relate to this! I thought I would have to choose between a strong spiritual leader and a man I was attracted to. But, to my surprise, Gregg met all of my hopes and needs.
A Complete Catechesis on Chastity
Katie somehow packed a complete catechesis on Chastity in her book. And, she made the information relevant and easy to understand. She explained that chastity is a ‘yes, yes, yes’ as well as the Sacramental component of a chaste marriage. She covered the bonding hormone oxytocin, STD’s, the problem with contraception, the benefits of NFP, reconciliation and much more. She answered the question “How far is too far?” and provided rules for singles that are logical and clear. She displayed a solid understanding of the Church’s teaching on Chastity as well as Theology of the Body. Finally, she included quotes from Blessed John Paul II and others concerning marriage and chastity.
Help Lead Men To Holiness
Without coming off as judgmental, Katie gives girls the straight facts on supply and demand, respect and holiness. This quote nicely summarizes her wisdom:
“For every guy who gets what he is looking for, there is a girl who is giving it to him. If women begin to demand respect, men would be more inclined to offer it. Help lead men to holiness.”
Katie’s book also includes insights from Mark. This quote was my favorite one from Mark because it parallels the terms and concepts I use in my book and on this blog :
“When the man that God has for them comes along, he will be captivated by this purity and it will be utterly beautiful to him. He will never forget how superabundantly blessed his is to have such an amazing woman.”
I clearly do not own the rights to the term Superabundance or the concept of a Holy Spouse. But I think it is amazing that Mark and Katie applied the term and concept in a way that aligns with how I apply the term and concept.
Note that Mark wrote, “when the man that God has for them comes along…”. To me, he reinforced the idea that God arranges marriage and has a specific person in mind for us in accordance with His will. This is what I call our ‘Holy Spouse’. This concept among believers is not often discussed with such certitude. Virtually all the books I have read concerning chastity and marriage seem to lead the reader to believe that God leaves it completely and sadly, up to chance. Woman In Love will fill your heart with hope!
Mark’s quote also described what I believe happens as a result of chastity before and within marriage. The husband has this supernatural view of his wife. He is “captivated” by her and she is, despite her faults, “utterly beautiful” to him. And, he has a perpetual belief in how blessed he is to have her.
As a result of the Superabundance in a chaste marriage, my observation is that the husband’s love for his wife grows rather than diminishes with time. This, I believe is a result of the supernatural grace imparted during the chaste marital embrace. The Catholic Church teaches us that this is a renewal of our Sacramental wedding vows and that supernatural grace is imparted.
Get. This. Book! You will learn so much and be inspired to get in to the trenches and pray for your future husband!
You can join Katie on Facebook here . Go to Katie’s website to order her book. There is a special bulk order price! Also, while you are there, check out the video of Katie and Mark and you will be further inspired!
** Next week: Mythbuster #3: Something Is Wrong With Me
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