BRIDGEPORT—Best-selling author Jim Steffen’s book “The Secret of Growing True Love That Lasts,” found its way into Bishop Frank J. Caggiano’s hands…and then the pope’s!
When Steffen heard that Bishop Caggiano was on the USCCB committee on laity, marriage, family life and youth, he knew that “True Love That Lasts” was something the bishop would truly appreciate.
“In their book, Jim and Carol Steffen outline a very simple recipe for a strong and healthy marriage, said Bishop Caggiano. “By asking just one question a day, husbands and wives can work together to build a relationship that endures. I invite couples of all ages and experience to take up Jim and Carol’s challenge of growing true love that lasts.”
Steffen’s new book is the culmination of the author’s sixty-year quest to understand how couples can stay together and enjoy marriages that thrive. “The problem has a dual nature,” Steffen says, “the first is to discover what to do to grow true love that lasts and the other is remembering to do it.” In the book, Steffen offers a solution to both.
The book provides practical tips for couples to follow and simple questions to ask each day. The included habit builder solves the second part of the equation. With his background in time management, Steffen uses what he calls the QEP method: Quickto-learn, Easy-to-use, Proven-towork Method. The book is told as a story— following John and Maria on their romantic journey as they discover how to grow true love that lasts by asking just a single question a day. “I took the idea [for a story format] from Jesus Himself,” explains Jim. “Jesus did some of His best teaching in the form of a story and I wanted this to be a story that people could hang onto.”
In 2016, Pope Francis expressed his concern over the decreasing desire in young people for marriage. He explained that this is a great concern because the family is the basis of society. This issue is what Jim and Carol Steffen address in “True Love That Lasts.” “What can we do to make the family happier so that young people will want to get married?” Jim asks.
Jim Steffen has been working closely with Dr. Patrick Donovan, director of the diocesan Leadership Institute, in order to create a video series on True Love that Lasts.
“This movement is unique in so far as there is no diocese that has such an effort,” says Donovan, explaining that this is not just a premarital program but a program of continuing formation.
On June 25, 2020, The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization released a new Directory for Catechesis, providing guidelines for the Church’s mission of proclaiming the Gospel through catechesis and evangelization. The timing of Steffen’s book and video series could not be better, Donovan added.
“In the new directory, Pope Francis challenges us to ‘make use of the valuable help of other couples with long-standing experience in marriage,’” Donovan says, quoting the New Directory. “The document goes so far as to challenge parishes and dioceses to lose the terminology, ‘marriage prep’ because it undermines the true meaning of marriage formation: an ongoing journey that takes a lifetime. What Jim and Carol have done is to take their own story and put it at the disposal of others. It will be a perfect tiein to our renewed formation for the sacrament of marriage, which launches in early September.”
The goal of the video series is to show people that the True Love That Lasts movement is both research based and practical.
Steffen explains that one can either follow along with the book as they watch the series, or use it to add something new, exciting and useful to their current understanding of relationships. He is most looking forward to being able to tell stories and share insights that wouldn’t have been able to fit in the book. “True Love That Lasts is not just for married couples,” says Steffen, “the principles can be applied to any and all relationships.”
(For more information on the True Love That Lasts video series visit formationreimagined.org; to purchase the book and accompanying materials, visit: truelovethatlasts.us.)