Preparing Couples to Marry
in the Catholic Church
Grounded in Catholic Theology in a readily understandable, fully inclusive and inspirational way!
Internationally approved, well resourced and with guidance available, SmartLoving Engaged offers an easy and supported way for parishes to provide marriage preparation for their engaged couples whose life-long intimate love affair can witness to the profound depths of God’s love and be a source of inspiration and encouragement to their children and extended community.
Getting Started Is Easy!
SmartLoving Engaged is a marriage formation programme that fully integrates:
Contemporary Relationship Psychology
Presented by husband and wife teams, the perspectives and experience of both sexes are brought to each topic with examples and personal stories, so making the concepts come alive in relatable and relevant ways which offer profound opportunities for personal discovery.
Practical Skills & Tools
Usable immediately for a direct impact on a relationship at whatever stage and throughout a marriage.
Couples are encouraged to practice the tools as homework between each session.
Comprehensive Catholic Theology
For an effective and powerful sacramental preparation of the engaged couple, helping them to grow into the fullness of their spiritual potential and mission to love.
Engaged Live is conducted in a mentor couples home, normally over 6 weeks. The mentor couple use the educational DVD’s and workbooks to work through 6 lessons of 1-1.5 hours each while providing the perfect opportunity for engaged couples to witness a Catholic marriage. This course is also beneficial to the mentor couple as they revisit all the concepts and skills necessary for their own married life while being able to immerse themselves in the growth and learning of the engaged couple.
A Completion Certificate is provided on completion of the course.
Engaged Live can be used in a small or large group setting. A married mentor couple runs the course, either at their home for smaller groups or in a parish hall for larger groups, using the same educational DVD’s and workbooks and provides personal insights to the group as a whole.
There is no group sharing or discussion. Couples share with each other and regroup to watch the DVD’s and listen to the mentor couples input as well as ask questions. There are also additional take-home activities to stimulate discussion in private.
Seamless Integration of modern psychology and Catholic theology forms the foundation of the course. Drawing on the wisdom of Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body the course reframes insights from contemporary relationship research to provide practical strategies and exercises that help couples know the theory and live it.
Skillfully deals with tough topics like family planning and interfaith marriage. These are addressed in a manner that is warm and inviting while at the same time does not ‘water down’ Church teaching.
There are 6 sessions in the face-to-face course (9 in the online format). Each session is of two hours duration with 1-2 hours of take home exercises and reading. The course can be run over six weeks, over two full days, or any combination. Conducting the course over several weeks has the additional benefit of facilitating the integration of the material into the engaged couple’s daily lives, allowing them to practice and discuss the skills taught.
High-Quality Materials. The use of multimedia resources utilises contemporary approaches to adult learning. Engaged couples receive a comprehensive participant pack (100+pages) and take home DVD and booklet on natural fertility methods providing a practical resource for future reference.
Facilitated by a married couple Engage provides a living witness of sacramental married love that powerfully reinforces the course content.
- The presence of a married couple Mentor, combined with comprehensive educational content, provides the engaged couple with the best possible mix of information, practical wisdom and sacramental inspiration.
- Engaged couples hear the perspective of both husband and wife bringing balance and relatability to the material.
- Engaged couples develop a direct relationship with the parish through their Mentors who can be a future source of support if needed. For marginalised Catholics, the course provides a personal and non-threatening way to draw them into active participation in the Church.
- Teaching is an effective way to consolidate one’s own understanding of any topic and Mentors consistently report substantial benefits to their own marriage. The Mentors’ Guide has specific suggestions to assist their ongoing formation.
- The couple-to-couple mentoring format removes the need for Mentors to have group facilitation skills. Couples who would not ordinarily step forward to lead large groups can confidently and capably present Engaged.
- As the course is conducted in the Mentors’ home, no child-minding is required, enabling couples with young families to participate and contribute to the mission of the Church.
- The DVD based input makes the course easy to facilitate.
- Rather than sending couples outside the parish community, Engaged allows any parish to provide its own marriage preparation drawing on its own parishioners as Mentors.
- The comprehensive participant pack and DVD ensures that the course is presented consistently and with high standards.
- Engaged is a powerful means of marriage enrichment for the Mentors, thus providing the parish with an additional avenue of adult formation with no extra effort.
Discussing the nature of love, this session introduces the concept of Smart Loving – a practical insight designed to make a couple’s efforts to love more efficient by helping them learn the specific ways in which their fiancé experiences love. The role of affirmation is also addressed.
Theology of the Body focus: Love as Gift and the Body as Sacrament.
Using the PMRC’s L.I.F.E. communication framework, couples will learn how to communicate effectively and intimately. A technique for accomplishing Emotional Communion (empathy) is also taught. Theology of the Body focus: Communion of Persons.
Theology of the Body focus: Communion of Persons.
Session 3 is a detailed examination of the couple’s attitudes and beliefs about sexuality and marriage, looking particularly at their family of origin. The impact of other significant relationships including emotional injuries is addressed.
Theology of the Body focus: The Redemption of the Body.
In this session, couples learn how to use the Stop-Reflect-Connect tool for values-based decision making. Conflict and the role of forgiveness is examined, including an adaptation for the Stop-Reflect-Connect tool for the specific purpose of reconciliation.
Theology of the Body focus: Nuptial Meaning of the Body.
Examines how, contrary to popular belief, marital sex is an intimate communication rather than just a recreational activity. The concept of sex as a sacramental gesture and a renewal of wedding vows is explored.
Theology of the Body focus: Sex as Sacred Body Language.
Provided as an at home activity via the Member Hub or in some cases as an extra session with the mentor or group facilitator. This topic explores fertility and the natural methods of regulation.
Addresses the sacramentality of marriage and will direct couples towards spiritual intimacy with their fiancé. Specific issues relating to couples of mixed faith are addressed along with an introduction to couple prayer.
Theology of the Body focus: Marriage as an Image of Christ and the Church.
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