Confession time: I have not yet finished the book, or play rather, that I'm about to recommend to you. But I'm confident; the author became our late, great, Pope and all, so I'm sure it will be worth my time. The Jeweler's Shop is a play written by Karol Wojtyla, who, of course, became John Paul II (skiing, drama, camping...seriously, this man's talents never end), and since it's about engagement and marriage, I think it's a perfect pick as you prepare for or bask in your own wedding day and beyond.
The play examines the relationships of three couples: two are engaged, and among them one couple is content while the other feels reservations about their future (in their minds, everything is rational and right, yet they sometimes lack feelings of love), and the third is long-married but unhappy. All of them have ties to the town jewelry shop, where they've bought their wedding rings.
If you're looking for tons of action and a plot-driven story, this is not it. The Jeweler's Shop is more a series of monologues that reveal the state of each relationship. The dialogue feels a little stilted to me so far, probably because it's translated from its original Polish. Still, the thoughts and occasional doubts of the characters do transcend cultures and years.
I have tried, and failed, multiple times, to read another one of the Pope's most famous works, Love and Responsibility. I did, however, make it through Dr. Edward Sri's excellent breakdown of the book. Read it if you haven't. Seriously. Anyway, I feel like my existing knowledge of the Pope's philosophies on love, utility, emotions, and the human person came through so clearly in The Jeweler's Shop. These couples wonder about love at first sight, how to will the good of your beloved, and how to balance the cerebral and emotional aspects of romance. Me being a huge English dork, I love how literature can work in exactly the way this play does--through characters and dialogue, so many truths about life are illuminated in a way that doesn't feel preachy or educational. Even if you aren't familiar with JPII's other writings, though, there's plenty to enjoy here. I'm excited to finish it!
What about you? Have any of you read The Jeweler's Shop? I'd love to hear what you think!