Life Changing Resources. Inspiration from Down Under


Sometimes the Holy Spirit sends a hug just when you need it most.  At the end of a VERY long week, Lisa and I just received this beautiful message from Down Under.  We thought we’d share it with you (after removing any identifying information) in the hopes that others might be inspired by this reader’s experience and the resources offered through the Pastoral Solutions Institute.

Dear Dr. Greg and Lisa,

About eight months ago, I was randomly searching for a quality book online, I had no idea what the Holy Spirit had in mind for me!

Your book Just Married. The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Five Years of Marriage caught my attention, even though I was single. I loved this book – I devoured it. It put into words for me what I had always dreamed a marriage should be, but was not really sure was possible, and could not really see in the marriages around me. I have now almost read all of your books! And I listen to every podcast available from your More2Life radio programme.

In the short eight months that I have been reading and listening to your wisdom and faith, I have been transformed. I am now praying with sincerity and presence, I now love mass so much I don’t want to miss it, and the relationship that I have with our spiritual parents is much more personal. I feel, thanks to you both, that I am much closer to having the marriage and family life that I have always dreamed of (even if I have to wait a little while longer for it). I thank you both sincerely for your example. You have changed my life for the better. God bless you both, and thank you again, so much.

Blessings from Sydney Australia!

Feeling Blah? The Cure For Apathy.

The Catholic Almanac’s Emily Stimpson interviewed me for a piece in OSV  titled, Our Brother’s Keeper. Fighting Apathy.  Here’s a sample…

Surveying the cultural landscape, a growing number of commentators have diagnosed Americans’ declining interest in political and community involvement as one of apathy. But that, said Dr. Gregory Popcak, executive director of, is just another way of saying “sloth.”

“Sloth is apathy,” he explained. “It’s one of the seven deadly sins. It’s not laziness; it’s indifference. It’s an unwillingness to use my gifts and talents to affect the world around me. It’s me, out of a desire for a peaceful life, sticking my head in the sand and pretending every problem in the world is just small stuff that I don’t need to worry about.”

The sin of sloth

While decidedly less intriguing than its more well known counterparts — lust, pride, envy, gluttony, wrath and greed — sloth, or apathy, remains equally deadly. That’s true politically and socially, shutterstock_217013218with lower volunteer activity leaving more work for the government to do and more basic human needs going unmet.

It’s also true spiritually.

“We find ourselves by making gifts of ourselves,” Popcak said. “God has given us to the world to be a gift. He’s counting on us to do something that only we can do. Each of us is unique and unrepeatable. If we don’t do our part, if we don’t do what God created us to do, it doesn’t get done, and God’s plan is frustrated.”

According to Popcak, post-modern culture is a breeding ground for that kind of frustration.

“We’re constantly bombarded in every way we can imagine by information about problems we can do nothing about,” he explained.

He went on to note that while once people lived in smaller communities and were primarily confronted by the solvable problems of friends and neighbors, today, “We don’t know our neighbors, but we know the intimate details of problems in every corner of the globe, which we’re often helpless to counter.”

It also doesn’t help that we’re a culture on the move. Increasing mobility — moving from town to town and job to job — makes people less inclined to care about and invest in the long-term welfare of their communities. Constant busyness — racing from school to work to the soccer field — does the same.

“If I’m too busy, I don’t have time to reflect,” Popcak said. “The busier I am, the less able I am to attend to my world and be the gift God wants me to be.”   READ MORE

– See more at:

Big Announcement #1: You CAN Balance Baby, Marriage, Family, & Your Needs–Here’s How!

We mentioned a few big announcements this week. The first is the launch of my latest book with my wife and co-host of More2Life Radio, Lisa Popcak titled, Then Comes Baby:  The Catholic thencomesbabyGuide to Surviving & Thriving in the First 3 Years of Parenthood.  

The biggest parenting question we get is, “How can I balance it all?  How can I attend to  baby’s needs without losing my mind or my marriage?”    Then Comes Baby:  The Catholic Guide to Surviving & Thriving in the First 3 Years of Parenthood shows you how to do this an a whole lot more!

In Then Comes Baby: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Three Years of Parenthood, Lisa and I lend readers the benefit of our twenty-five years’ experience in parenting and marriage and family counseling to help them navigate the earliest years of parenthood.  Here are just some of the things we address…

~How to meet your baby’s needs fully without neglecting your own needs or your marriage.

~How to manage feeding, fatigue, and finances.

~Managing common questions about baby and mama’s sleep.

~How to protect yourself from The Mommy Wars.

~How to overcome the self criticism that can undermine your confidence as parents.

~How to deepen your spiritual life by discovering the grace of each moment with your child.

~How to establish rituals and routines that will serve as the foundation of a joyful, faith-filled family life!


We coach Catholic couples as they adjust to their new identities as mom and dad and help them face the inevitable challenges of parenthood–all while seeing these everyday experiences through the lens of Catholic teaching on the purpose of family life.

They Like Us!  They REALLY Like Us!

Then Comes Baby provides solid, hands-on help and rich Catholic guidance for parents on how to love their child deeply as they strengthen their love for each other. This book will help them become holy families.”   Most Reverand Joseph E. Kurtz.  Archbishop of Louisville President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

“Then Comes Baby is a delightful book for new Catholic parents, full of personal anecdotes and wonderful insights. But most of all, the advice and encouragement you will find is extremely useful in learning how to be the parents God has called you to be. What we like best about this book is that it addresses the new mom and the new dad with equal emphasis. Husbands and wives are together called to build a healthy Catholic family by having a strong faith walk. This book tells them what works when both parents, together, are uniquely aware of the design God intends for families when Baby comes.”  Dr. William and Martha Sears,  Co-authors of The Baby Book and The Attachment Parenting Book

“God wants to fill the hearts of families with the fire of his love. Greg and Lisa Popcak show you how to open to that love through all the joys and challenges of welcoming a new baby. If family life is a gift, Then Comes Baby shows you how to unwrap and celebrate that gift in all its forms.”  Christopher West.  Author of Fill These Hearts: God, Sex, and the Universal Longing

“Greg and Lisa Popcak remind us that in spite of our fears, God invites us to do the most important work in building a good and holy world: raising children. This wise and practical guide will help parents navigate the sometimes challenging, often uplifting work of parenting babies. More importantly, it will remind them to love every minute of it!”  Tim and Sue Muldoon.  Authors of Six Sacred Rules for Families

“Then Comes Baby will help every parent rejoice in both the gift of new life and all the blessings and changes that come with it. The Popcaks articulate a practical vision of family life that is deeply faithful, extravagantly loving, and incredibly joyful. You can create the family your heart desires. This book will show you how.”  Damon Owens  Executive Director, Theology of the Body Institute

Healthy Marriage Habit #1: Rituals of Connection. Take the Quiz!

Each day, in celebration of the release of my latest book, When Divorce Is Not An Option: How to Heal Your Marriage and Nurture Lasting Love, I’ll look at one of the 8 habits that separates “marriage masters” from “marriage disasters.”  Yesterday, I listed all 8 divorceoptionhabits.  Today, I’ll describe the first habit, Rituals of Connection.  After a brief explanation, you’ll have a chance to take a quiz that can help you evaluate how healthy this habit is in your marriage.

Healthy-Marriage Habit #1: Rituals of Connection|—| Why Is This important?

One study examining fifty years of research on the effect of rituals such as eating together, praying together, and working and worshiping together found that these simple activities had an almost magical degree of power over marriage and family health (Fiese, Tomcho, Douglas, et al., 2002). Couples who regularly worked, played, discussed more than just the tasks of life, and prayed together were significantly happier and more stable than other couples and exhibited far fewer problems that negatively impact marital well-being, such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse (Fiese, 2006). Research by the Baylor University Institute for the Study of Religion found that couples who prayed together were about 30 percent happier across every aspect of their relationship (e.g., sex, parenting, financial management, division of labor, and so forth) than couples who did not; and couples who prayed “a lot” were happier than couples who prayed “sometimes” (Rushnell and DuArt, 2011). Similarly, couples who enjoy “shared meaning” (i.e, similar beliefs and purpose in life) are also much happier in their marriages than couple who feel that they are unequally yoked regarding their beliefs and attitudes (Gottman, 2011).

It is easy to understand why this is so. Couples who make time to work, play, talk, and pray together at least a little bit each day and to a greater degree each week know that they need to prioritize their marriage; that marriage is an activity, not an accessory. It can be hard to have a stable, satisfying marriage if a couple tries to squeeze in time to work, play, talk, and pray together when all the work and chores are done.

Of course, as Catholics, we believe that the family is the domestic church. We know that the Catholic Faith is filled with rituals—Sunday and daily Mass, holy days, confession and other sacraments, adoration, Stations, para-liturgies, and prayers—that bind the family of God together, call us back to each other, and bring order to our lives. Taking seriously our role as domestic church means, at least in part, celebrating the power of marriage and family rituals and routines to bind us together similarly, call us back to each other, and bring order to our lives.

Take The Rituals of Connection Quiz!

Healthy-Marriage Habit #1: Rituals of Connection for Work, Play, Talk, and Prayer

How important is developing this skill to your marriage?

Answer true (T) or false (F) for each question.

T F  1. My spouse and I get at least a little time to work together almost every day (at least five days out of seven).

T F  2. My spouse and I get at least a little time to have some fun time together almost every day (at least five days out of seven).

T F  3. My spouse and I get at least a little time to talk with each other about feelings about life and our relationship (i.e., not just stuff that needs to be done) almost every day (at least five days out of seven).

T F  4. My spouse and I get at least a little time to pray together about our life and relationship (beyond Grace at meals) almost every day (at least five days out of seven).

T F  5. Once a week, my spouse and I usually spend at least an hour or two (over and above the daily time indicated in question 1) working together on some larger household project (e.g., cleaning or fixing things at home).

T F  6. Once a week, my spouse and I get at least an hour or two (over and above the daily time indicated in question 2) to do something fun (in or out of the house) just as a couple.

T F  7. Once a week, my spouse and I get at least an hour or two (over and above the daily time indicated in question 3) to talk together in greater depth about our life and relationship.

T F  8. At least once a week, my spouse and I attend church together.

T F  9. My spouse and I enjoy each other’s company.

T F  10. Even when we are not getting along, our relationship feels comfortable and familiar.

Give yourself 1 point for each T.

You scored ______ out of a possible 10 points.

A score of 8 or higher means that your rituals and routines are a real source of strength in your relationship.

A score of 4 through 7 means that you could significantly improve your marriage by giving greater attention to increasing the presence of rituals and routines in your relationship.

A score of 3 or lower indicates that this is a critical area for improvement in your relationship.


How’d you do?  Even if you feel like your marriage is, in general, in good shape, if you’d like to strengthen the rituals of connection in your marriage, check out When Divorce is Not An Option:  How to Heal Your Marriage and Nurture Lasting Love.  Or, for more personalized assistance, contact the Pastoral Solutions Institute (740-266-6461) to learn more about our Catholic-integrated tele-counseling practice for couples, families, and individuals.  Let us help you experience all the love God has in store for you!

NC Register says, “Just Married” Is Just the Thing for Couples of All Ages

At the National Catholic Register, Sara Reinhard posted a lovely review of Lisa and my book, Just Married: The Catholic Guide to Surviving & Thriving in the First 5 Years of Marriage.   just married

Sometimes, the wedding bells aren’t even done ringing before you start to wonder just what you’ve gotten yourself into. Greg and Lisa Popcak’s Just Married (Ave Maria Press, 2013) is a frank look at how you can stay on the roller coaster that the first five years of marriage often presents.

Almost every newly married couple we encounter has two things in common. First, they are deeply in love with each other and rightly excited about the lives they are building together. They are passionate about each other, and hopeful about a bright future filled with blessings. But second, underneath that mutual love, joy, and hope, almost every newly married couple is also a little terrified. They wonder if they have what it takes to make it “until death do us part.” Almost every couple we talk to in our years of marriage ministry ask us one basic question; “How can we know if we have what it takes to make it to ‘happily ever after’?”

What makes this book a keeper (even for an old married lady like myself) is the tone the Popcaks take throughout. This isn’t a preachy “here’s the perfect answer” tome that you’ll long to throw across the room. Instead, it’s a good friend sitting on the other end of the couch, holding your drink and passing you the kleenex.

Sara reviews a few other great titles, including fellow Patheosi Tim Muldoon’s Six Sacred Rules for Families.  Check it out!

All Shook Up: “Therapy Better than Meds for Overcoming Anxiety.” Says Major Study

About a week-and-a-half ago, I taped a series on Women of Grace with Johnnette Benkovic on anxiety and my book, God Help Me, This Stress Is Driving Me Crazy!  Finding Balance through God’s shutterstock_174459824 Grace.  At the time, I asserted that while most people only receive medication by way of treatment for anxiety disorders, medication is simply less effective than therapy.  On the show, I said that anyone who has an anxiety disorder and is not receiving therapy is not receiving the best standard of care and may be unnecessarily prolonging their suffering.  A new study in the prestigious journal, The Lancet Psychiatry completely endorses the position I took on the program.  According to the new study…

While antidepressants are the most commonly used treatment for social anxiety disorder, new research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is more effective and, unlike medication, can have lasting effects long after treatment has stopped.

Social anxiety disorder is a psychiatric condition characterized by intense fear and avoidance of social situations and affects up to 13 percent of Americans and Europeans. Most people never receive treatment for the disorder. For those who do, medication is the more accessible treatment because there is a shortage of trained psychotherapists.

The findings of the study, a network meta-analysis that collected and analyzed data from 101 clinical trials comparing multiple types of medication and talk therapy, are published online Sept. 26 in The Lancet Psychiatry.

“Social anxiety is more than just shyness,” says study leader Evan Mayo-Wilson, DPhil, a research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “People with this disorder can experience severe impairment, from shunning friendships to turning down promotions at work that would require increased social interaction. The good news from our study is that social anxiety is treatable. Now that we know what works best, we need to improve access to psychotherapy for those who are suffering.”

[The researchers] analyzed data from 13,164 participants in 101 clinical trials. The participants all had severe and longstanding social anxiety. Approximately 9,000 received medication or a placebo pill, and more than 4,000 received a psychological intervention. Few of the trials looked at combining medication with talk therapy, and there was no evidence that combined therapy was better than talk therapy alone.   READ MORE

If you or a loved one is struggling with problems related to anxiety, I encourage you to learn more about the Pastoral Solutions Institute’s Catholic tele-counseling practice.  We can help you apply both the timeless wisdom of our Catholic faith and insights from counseling psychology to overcome the anxiety you’re facing.  Learn more at our website or by calling 740-266-6461 to make an appointment to speak with a counselor.


Believe It Or Not, Study Actually Says, “Happy Wife, Happy Life!”

Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.”  A new study from Rutgers and the University of Michigan proves how true that is!

When it comes to a happy marriage, a new Rutgers study finds that the more content the wife is with the long-term union, the happier the husband is with his life no matter how he feels about theirshutterstock_217008835 nuptials.

“I think it comes down to the fact that when a wife is satisfied with the marriage she tends to do a lot more for her husband, which has a positive effect on his life,” said Deborah Carr, a professor in the Department of Sociology, School of Arts and Science. “Men tend to be less vocal about their relationships and their level of marital unhappiness might not be translated to their wives.”  Carr and Vicki Freedman, a research professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, co-authored a research study published in the October issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.  READ MORE

To discover more great marriage tips, check out For Better…FOREVER! A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage , Just Married:  The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Five Years of Marriage and  The Exceptional Seven Percent:  Nine Secrets or the World’s Happiest Couples!  



Your Marriage IS Worth Saving–And YOU Can Save It.

When Divorce is Not an Option: How to Heal Your Marriage and Nurture Everlasting Love is a book for couples who want to know what it takes to get their marriage back on track. Solo spouses candivorceoption
also use the book to hea
l a marriage even if his or her mate isn’t interested in working on the relationship.

I look at the latest research that reveals 8 Habits  that healthy couples exhibit that all couples need to cultivate and show readers, step-by-step how to develop those healthy marriage habits in the their relationship. An extensive quiz helps readers figure out where to start working and lots of case examples help readers see how workable the plan is.

Here are some of the topics I address…

-Eight marriage-friendly habits that couples in healthy relationships exhibit
-How to identify those areas of your marriage that require the most attention
-What to do when you feel your spouse is out to get you
-Simple ways to integrate prayer into the life of your marriage
-How to make God part of healing your marriage
-How your mind handles feelings and emotions and what you can do about it
-Tips for keeping your conversations focused on solutions instead of emotions
-How to see each your spouse’s faults as opportunities for you to grow in holiness.

I hope you’ll find it helpful. Please spread the word. The need is great. 

Pre-Order Your Copy TODAY!