An approved course for Catholic marriage prep
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.
Ready to Register?
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 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.
- 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
- 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)
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
Already Enrolled in a Course?
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“Enjoyable, revealing and rewarding, you’ll be encouraged to consider things you may not even be aware you need to think about.”
“Useful, practical, deeply insightful and encouraging.”
“We loved how interactive this course was and how much closer it has brought us together.
“An intense, helpful and extremely well-constructed course for engaged couples wanting to get the most out of their marriage.”
“We’ve come out with a better understanding of who we are individually and where we want to go collectively as a married couple with actual plans. We’ve already implemented a few of the techniques we’ve learnt from the course.”
“We really enjoyed participating in this course at our own pace and having so many valuable resources available to us along the way.”
“The highlight of SmartLoving for us would be the friendly and down to earth personalities of the team, especially Byron and Francine and how they make the course easy to listen to and understand.”
“A useful way to take time out and think beyond the superficial. The practical activities were so enlightening for us.”
“I am full of awe at what lays ahead. One thing that didn’t hit me until a little while ago was the fact that when we are married, I won’t have to do this alone but we’ll have prayer on my side and the power of the sacraments to help us grow in our union. It’s a very encouraging thought.”
“A great course to really open up and build your relationship. Worth every cent to learn how to really love your fiance with many practical tips and helpful insights.”
“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 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.”
Got a question?
Check out our FAQs below
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, SmartLoving Engaged is the perfect course for you that is both high-quality, comprehensive and flexible.
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.
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.
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).
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.
We’re sure you know couples married for many years whose relationship has broken down. While the reasons are generally complex, one thing is certain: living together does not mean that a couple has everything worked out!
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.
It would be completely negligent of us to let you make a commitment in a Catholic wedding service without fully informing you of the requirements and training you to fulfill them. While we understand that many engaged couples find the preparation course onerous, we also know that looking back, you will appreciate it’s benefits and be grateful for the time you spent with us.
Both formats cover the same content.
The advantage of the face-to-face mentoring format is that you get a dedicated married couple who are focused on you and your fiancé over the duration of the course. They welcome you into their home and go through the course with you, using discussion points along the way. It brings the reality of marriage out in front of you through the mentor couple and their family.
Face-to-face group courses give you exposure to other engaged couples in your area. Having others to do the course alongside you can be an encouragement to participate more fully, and assists in building community networks.
The online course allows you to work at your own pace and on your own schedule. It offers two tracks – celebrant supervised (self-directed) and parish mentor (where a married couple accompanies you through the course). The main difference between face-to-face mentoring and parish mentoring with the online course, is that parish mentors are usually doing the course for the first time themselves.
We want to assure you that your privacy is always respected regardless of the course format you choose.
All activities are designed as individual reflections or couple sharings.
While some formats provide opportunities for group discussion, no one is ever obliged to share personal information about their relationship unless they so desire. Any discussion that take place between mentors and engaged are considered confidential.
Don’t worry! You can’t fail the course and our goal is to equip you for success in your marriage so we’re committed to seeing you flourish.
Provided that you attend all the sessions and make a reasonable effort to participate in the activities, you will get a certificate at the end of the course for your celebrant.
If you are having technical issues accessing the member hub, contact us immediately via the website and we will resolve it as soon as possible.
If you are having trouble integrating any of the lessons or tools, you can always ask your mentors for assistance. Alternatively, you can purchase a coaching session with one of our relationship coaches at anytime during the course. Information HERE
If you or your fiance require further professional help, consult your celebrant for advice on finding a suitable professional in your area.