The primary reason for this post is to show forth some balance in what we do here at this website and not to just review a book. We are not blind to the confusion and chaos of modern society and the difficulties of right belief in the church today. (we recognize the need for pre Vatican II literature)
In fact what marriage is can be very confused in our minds. We are constantly being feed mixed messages (or outright lies) by the media and our friends (even Christian ones) often set bad examples.
That is why I recommend not only reading Vatican II and post council texts on marriage but also pre-Vatican II sources.
A great start is Casti Connubii by Pope Pius XI. It is a short 45 ish page read (which is not much if you are considering living the whole rest of your life in the state of marriage). It goes through several benefits of marriage and its powerful graces. It also details several don’ts and errors.
The last point is why I write this. There are lots of modern books (which are very good and should be read) about the does and goods of married life, thus it is also beneficial to take a step back and focus on reading an encyclical that is more prescriptive about the don’ts. It gave me a better perspective. It can be hard to move onwards to the law of love in freedom of the New Testament if we don’t first take to heart and pass through the thou shall nots of the 10 commandments of Moses in the Old Testament.
Additionally, reading both pre-and-post Vatican II document on marriage can show forth the continuity. In this way the post Vatican II morality of marriage expressed by some can be purified of its truly erroneous character when we see that this morality does not represent at all the intent of the council or Catholicism.