Books

Very Married: Field Notes on Love & Fidelity
Herald Press, Forthcoming September 2016
Katherine Willis Pershey has never slept with the mailman or kissed an ex-boyfriend. Good thing, since she’s married. But simply not committing adultery does not give you the keys to “happily ever after,” as Pershey has come to find out in her own marriage and in her work as a pastor. What is this sacred covenant that binds one person to another, and what elements of faith and fidelity sustain it? In Very Married: Field Notes on Love and Fidelity, Pershey opens the book on all things marital. With equal parts humor and intelligence, Pershey speaks frankly about the challenges and consolations of modern marriage. As she shares her own tales of bliss and blunder, temptation and deliverance, Pershey invites readers to commit once again to the joyful and difficult work of cherishing another person. For better or worse. For life.

Click here to download a discussion guide, perfect for couples, book clubs, or bible studies. 

Praise for Very Married

"In her second book, pastor and writer Pershey (Any Day a Beautiful Change) weaves together personal stories of the triumphs and tribulations of her own marriage, theological reflections on this ancient institution, and practical advice for both newlyweds and not-so-newlyweds alike. Witty, candid, and heartfelt, this book covers topics such as maintaining a healthy sex life and dealing with in-laws with a refreshing energy. Pershey’s love and respect, for both her husband and the covenant of marriage, is evident on every page. However, she does not shy away from discussing the sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes dull daily labor that marriage requires. With poignant and relatable honesty, she confesses to difficult times with her faith and fidelity: an almost-affair, her struggles with codependency and her husband’s alcoholism, and her marriage’s rough first few years. This is a book that celebrates the hard work of marriage and that makes readers believe marriages 'can be saved, and that marriage as an institution can be redeemed.' It is a book that is sure to become part of the premarital counseling canon, passed among friends, and opened whenever “for better or for worse” is put to the test." (Publishers Weekly, September 2016.)

“Very Married is, without question, the very best book on marriage I have ever read—and I have read many.”

—Eugene H. Peterson, author of The Message, from foreword

“Very Married is the book we have all been waiting for: hopeful, inclusive, practical, theological, honest talk about the complex sacrament of marriage as both reality to be lived and metaphor to be embodied. Pershey is a pastor at her core, and on every page of this book, her calling is evident and wholehearted. I'm grateful for her honesty, for her wisdom, for her work in this conversation. Now when I’m asked to recommend a book about marriage, I finally have an answer: Very Married!”
—Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts

 “I’ve read my fair share of marriage books, but few are as deft in their storytelling or as honest in their reflection as Very Married. Pershey has written an extraordinary book, which shines an unfiltered light on the constituent parts of marriage—love, sacrifice, compromise, submission, and sex. Very Married does not shy away from the potential volatility of the time-honored institution, nor the God-ordained beauty of tender fidelity, and in this tension you will find its power.”
—Seth Haines, author of Coming Clean

 “How many adjectives am I allowed to use to wholeheartedly endorse this marvelous book? Witty, engaging, honest, thoughtful, funny, wise, nuanced, gracious. I could go on. I will read this book more than once. I will give it to many friends. And I will be forever grateful to Katherine Willis Pershey for her honest and hopeful reflection on the complex, conflicted, and glorious institution of marriage.”
—Amy Julia Becker, author of Small Talk and A Good and Perfect Gift

 “I thought it would take a lifetime of marriage—of bearing witness together to all the heart and heartache of being human—before I could comprehend the profound beauty of this ancient commitment. I was wrong. All it took was reading this book. What Pershey has accomplished here is mysterious and sublime. Prepare to fall in love with marriage all over again, or perhaps, even, for the first time.”
—Kelly Flanagan, licensed clinical psychologist and author of The Marriage Manifesto 

"This is a marriage book I can get behind: grace-filled; doesn't take itself more seriously than it ought. It is a book on loving your spouse for "the rest of us"—regular folks working daily liturgies, choosing to witness life with the one for whom we've forsaken all others. It is a beautiful treatise on loving the gift of marriage, one I can give to friends without a second glance. Katherine has written a gift."
—Tsh Oxenreider, author of Notes From a Blue Bike and At Home in the World

“Without question, this is the most authentic, most engaging, most truthful book I’ve ever read about love and marriage. I intend to borrow shamelessly from this book for future pre- marital counseling and wedding meditations.” —
—Keith Graber Miller, Professor of Bible and Religion, Goshen College




Any Day a Beautiful Change: A Story of Faith and Family
Chalice Press, April 2012
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the minister with the baby carriage. In this collection of interrelated personal essays, Katherine Willis Pershey chronicles the story of her life as a young pastor, mother, and wife. At turns hilarious and harrowing, deeply moving and gently instructive, Pershey’s reflections will strike a chord with anyone who has ever rocked a newborn, loved an alcoholic, prayed for the redemption of a troubled relationship, or groped in the dark for the living God.




Praise for Any Day a Beautiful Change
"One could judge this book by how many chuckles it evokes. It is good in that department. One could also judge the book by its clever and at times provocative turns of phrases. It does well on that score, too. Both criteria would ignore the deeper narrative of this memoir by a young writer, wife, mother and pastor who grows in her acceptance of herself, including her body, as she matures in these roles. Pershey lets us see her vulnerabilities: her doubts about God, her anxieties, her (at one point) shaky marriage, her sense of inadequacy as a mother and pastor. Yet there’s never TMI (too much information). Through it all shines the probing spirit of a real-world practical theologian. Judge this book by whether you wish its author were your pastor."
The Christian Century

“I expect a good memoir to be wise and funny. A good pastoral memoir should bear witness to God’s goodness. I don’t normally expect one chapter to force me to read another, or to care so passionately about characters. The glory of this one, in particular, is its incarnationally-shaped bodiliness. We have a new writer to whom we must pay attention.”
Jason Byassee, author of The Gifts of the Small Church

 “Pershey writes beautifully about hard things. This is not so much a book about ministry as it is about life. She examines her motherhood, her marriage and her ministry as they are all unfolding, in their tender beginnings, all three, works in progress. Despite being a memoir of faith, this honest book is a sanctimony-free zone.”
Lillian Daniel, author of This Odd and Wondrous Calling 

"In Any Day A Beautiful Change, Pershey shows us with candor and grace how motherhood, the chaos and delights of family, marriage, and our bodies enrich our interpretations of ministry, scripture and liturgy. I’m especially grateful for this memoir as a woman who has experienced pregnancy in the pulpit, but it is a gift for anyone who longs to reflect deeply on life and the church. It’s funny and honest and wise."
Debbie Blue, author of Sensual Orthodoxy 

"Katherine Willis Pershey walks alongside all of us who delight in Eat, Pray, Love, but yearn for a reflection on a different sort of path. With theological depth and insight, Pershey struggles with the passions of life, the heartbreaks of relationship, the worries of parenting, and the truths of vocation. Through all the twists and turns of her emerging marriage, ministry, and motherhood, she leads us to glimpses of reconciliation and wholeness."
Carol Howard Merritt, author of Tribal Church