From This Day Forward

 

“More than ever necessary in our times is preparation of young people for marriage and family life…

The Church must therefore promote better and more intensive programs of marriage preparation…”  Familiaris Consortio #66

image-3The decision to marry is one of the most important decisions that anyone can make. Usually, couples marry because they have fallen in love, but learning to love, as opposed to being in love, takes a lifetime. Couples need instruction and practice in living skills – skills that are learned rather than intuitive. This marriage preparation program will provide couples with the opportunity to practice some of the skills necessary to have a successful marriage.

In a welcoming and non-threatening group setting, couples will have the opportunity to discuss and explore such issues as:

  • Communication Skills/Conflict
  • Goals & Expectations
  • Family Backgrounds
  • Time/Money Management
  • Sexuality/Spousal Love
  • Children
  • Natural Family Planning
  • Meaning of Sacrament

By getting issues out on the table before the wedding takes place, couples can provide their relationship with a strong foundation that carries them through the transition into marriage and hopefully allows them an increased chance of fulfilling their long-term dreams and goals. This faith-based, prevention-focused program is facilitated by a trained team of clergy, married couples and individuals.

Topics

Readiness for Marriage

“A life allied with mine, for the rest of our lives—that is the miracle of marriage.”– Denis de Rougemont
What brings you to the church for marriage? It is crucial at this time to ask what this phrase, “For better or for worse”, means to you personally and as a couple. Life’s journey (and marriage’s) is marked with many peaks and valleys. Personality differences and flaws, illness, injury, and job loss are just a few things that can test the strengths of a couple’s true commitment.

 

Communication

“Do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up.” – Ephesians 5:29
Communication is as important in marriage as the flow of blood is to your body. Talking and listening and understanding are all involved in the process of communication. Couples will be provided with the opportunity to practice effective communication and conflict resolution skills through one-on-one and group activities.

 

Prayer

In his address to engaged couples preparing for marriage, Pope Francis said “On this journey prayer is important, it is necessary, always: he for her, she for him and both together. Ask Jesus to multiply your love.” (February 2014) In this interactive workshop which is always highly appreciated by the couples, we will discover the importance of individual prayer, of prayer in our life as a couple and prayer within the family.

Sexuality

“In the image of God he created him, male and female, he created them.” – Genesis 1:27
As the Book of Genesis states, we are created in the image and likeness of God. Just as the Trinity is a mystery of love, so  too are we called to the same universal vocation “to love” and “be loved.” Our sexuality is a key element of our personality, an essential dimension of our experience of relating to others, our desire to move out from isolation to encounter, which is the first step toward true love. This session, based  on Saint John Paul II Theology of the Body will help you to both deepen your understanding and mature in God’s gift of sexuality.

Natural Family Planning

Sexuality is integral to the life of a couple. The sexual union is meant to express the full meaning of their love: its power to bind them together as one (the “unitive” aspect) and its power to generate new life (the “procreative” aspect). In this session we will look at the basics of natural family planning (NFP). It will include an introduction to the human and spiritual reasons why the church proposes the approach of natural family planning rather than contraception to couples, an introduction to the biological foundations of fertility awareness, as well the benefits and challenges of NFP. This session is led by a certified NFP practitioner. The Billings fertility method will be introduced.

Family life

“The vocation of the family is to be a place of prayer, service, and love – a “little Church of the home.” Families naturally do this in their day-to-day lives. “The spirituality of family love is made up of thousands of small but real gestures” (Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, no. 315). In this session, presenters will give personal examples of the joys and rewards of parenthood as well as the challenges. Couples will be given time to reflect on their own families of origin and share their hopes and expectations with each other.

Stewardship

“A generous man will prosper; he who refuses others will himself be refused.” – Proverbs 11:25
Money in your marriage can be the source of great blessing, and it can also be the source of much conflict. What does money mean to you? How much is “my” money, “your” money and “our” money? This session is intended to help couples examine their personal histories, attitudes, life experiences and expectations regarding time and money management.

 

Marriage as Sacrement

“So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” – Matthew 19:6
For Catholics, Marriage is a Sacrament, a unique means of experiencing divine grace. They recognize this Sacrament as a sign that God’s love is truly present in their relationship. The marital bond requires each partner to be faithful to one another, to share the other’s life and to give freely of spiritual and material support. Couples will be presented with the teachings of the Catholic church, as well as given a better understanding of the significance of their vows and the dignity of the Sacrament they will receive.