For Couples in the UK
SmartLoving Engaged is an innovative program to prepare you and fiancé for Marriage in the Catholic Church.
This comprehensive course is a rich audio-visual experience that takes you on a journey of discovery, guided by video input and supplemented by the lived experience of married mentor couples. The content takes the timeless wisdom of theology and the most recent insights from psychology to give you and your fiancé the tools you need to understand what marriage is and set you up for a loving and fulfilling relationship that lasts a lifetime.
Who is this course for?
- Engaged couples preparing for marriage
- Committed dating couples discerning marriage
- Civilly married couples preparing for Catholic marriage
- Newlywed couples wanting to strengthen their marriage
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.
Using the 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
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.
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.
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.
Provided as an at home activity via the Member Hub (live events) or as an extra session (via DVD), 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.
The course is designed to allow you to explore your understanding of the various elements that make up your unique partnership and to celebrate your commitment to each other at this time. Some couples on our courses are already living together and may feel that attendance is a waste of their time. Be assured that marriage can often change aspects of living together that you thought you were happy with.
This course is designed to be just as useful to co-habiting couples as to those living separately because ALL relationships can benefit from being reflected upon and enhanced. The church law on marriage preparation, therefore, requires all couples to attend, whatever their living status.
When a couple marries in the Catholic church, a course is mandated for several significant reasons:
- The first is to provide the sacramental and spiritual formation to prepare you for the important church ritual in which you are about to participate.
- The second is to inform you fully of the commitment you are undertaking so that you can make an informed decision to participate without reservation.
- Thirdly, as Catholic marriage is considered permanent and unbreakable before God, the course is designed to equip you with insights and skills to help you be successful in your marriage.
Be assured of three things:
- Firstly, everything you say and write is in confidence and only for sharing between yourselves.
- Secondly, most of our couples are not both Catholics, so the course is not trying to convert anyone! However, you have elected to marry in the Catholic church (which views your marriage as a sacrament) and so it is only fair that you understand what this means and entails for you both. Saint John-Paul II’s Theology of the Body underpins the course, bringing to you the most up-to-date teachings of the Church, warmly presented to the engaged couple as a practical way to bolster their marital success.
- Thirdly, at no time during the course will anyone be placed in a situation that will cause embarrassment. You are never expected to talk openly in groups about your relationship. Recognising that you are two people with different life experiences, maybe from entirely different backgrounds and now coming together in marriage, you will have different perspectives. This is why we give you materials to stimulate intimate and in depth discussion between yourselves in your private time.
Marriage is a significant step in life and it is not something to be entered into lightly. Unfortunately, in our overly materialistic culture, the pressure in the engagement period is more about planning an elaborate (and expensive) party rather than taking the time to prepare yourselves for being married to someone for the rest of your life.
In addition, Catholic marriage (or Matrimony) comes with additional obligations. It’s important that you understand these before you commit to them.
Marriage preparation is a process to help you and your fiance prepare for married life. Just like having a healthy diet helps prevent you getting sick, and recover more quickly when you do, Marriage Prep is the same for your relationship. Studies have shown that couples who do good quality marriage preparation have a lower rate of divorce and better relationship resilience when hard times inevitably come.
SmartLoving Engaged has been working with engaged couples for over a decade and we have refined all our insights to bring you a comprehensive course that gives you and your fiance a safe space to ask the important questions and put your love on a solid foundation.
SmartLoving Engaged is suitable for all engaged couples preparing for Catholic marriage.
If you are a long-distance couple, frequent travelers, shift worker, or have caring commitments, you may find SmartLoving Engaged Online the perfect course for you that is both high-quality, comprehensive and flexible. You can sign up to the online course here: www.SmartLoving.org/engaged
We also have civilly married couples preparing for a Catholic recommitment ceremony and newlyweds. The material is timeless and even mature married couples find it valuable.
Yes. Your final documentation includes a certificate and a feedback report for your celebrant (or the person supervising your preparation if you are marrying overseas).
Your mentors or group facilitators keep a record of your attendance and at the conclusion of the course, will sign and date your course certificate. You’ll also be asked to complete a feedback questionnaire for your celebrant and for you mentors.
Your celebrant who may want to discuss what you have learned in the course and will discuss the next steps after the course.
SmartLoving Engaged has been approved for use in dioceses around the world for over 10 years including throughout Australia, New Zealand, UK, parts of the USA and Asia and others.
If your celebrant has concerns about the quality or efficacy of SmartLoving Engaged, please give us his contact details and we will personally reassure him.
SmartLoving Engaged has a total of six sessions that take about 2- 3 hours each to complete. Two of these hours are done face-to-face with your mentors, or in your group, the remainder at home (take home activities and practical tools).
If you are doing the course with an individual mentor, most couples do one lesson per week, completing the course in 6 weeks. As it may take several weeks for a mentor to become available, please allow a minimum of 3 months before the wedding, more if possible.
Group courses are conducted in a variety formats: some are paced at one session per week, while others are compacted over the course of a weekend. Some use a combination of evening sessions with the final session being a full weekend day. Check with your local course coordinator for details.
As a rule: don’t be too hasty! Couples who rush the course generally report lower satisfaction and rate the benefits of the course lower than those who take their time and give the take home activities their full attention.
We know it’s a busy time for you, so get started on your course early on in your engagement so that you can take the time you need to really get the most from it.
Your registration comes with a printed workbook which outlines all the couple activities as well as providing additional reading.
The workbook will provide instructions on how to access the Member Hub where you can review the videos from each session, access extension material and participate in forums.
The course includes powerful insights and frameworks from the field of relationship science which applies to any couple regardless of their religious background or practice.
The course is also designed to prepare you for Catholic marriage so the course includes Catholic theology and Sacramental preparation. The wisdom of Pope John Paul II and his Theology of the Body is frequently referenced throughout the course and the theology is up to date and highly relevant to contemporary couples.
Many non-catholic participants have reported that they found the course extremely valuable and did not feel pressured or excluded in any way by the Catholic material. Most affirm that they value having the insight into their fiance’s faith background, and some express interest in exploring the Catholic faith further.
- Presented by trained married couples
- Six sessions of 2 hours face-to-face + 1 hour at home
- Each session includes private couple sharing and innovative tools to help form good relationship habits
- Practical tools and take home activities
- Flexible formats including couple-to-couple mentoring and groups
- Can cater to couples in remote areas, or separated by distance
- Participant Workbook that has content, activities, stories from other couples and insights from Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body
Extras included when you register
- 12 month subscription to the Engaged Member’s Hub
- Access to the Catholic Wedding Liturgy Planner
- Introduction to Natural Fertility (A Total Gift of Self)
“We have already recommended the course to our friends. It is really applicable, even for non-religious couples. The skills we learned we will continue to use throughout our marriage.”
“I was apprehensive about doing the course because of negative experiences my friends had had with other courses. It turned out to be everything I DIDN’T expect – extremely practical and useful – definitely worth doing.”
“We loved the SL Engaged experience and built a rapport with our mentors after about the first 5 minutes. Our communication skills, physically, emotionally and spiritually, have developed greatly over the past 6 – 7 weeks and a lot of that can be attributed to the course – it will certainly set us up for a successful and loving marriage.”