Preparing Couples to Marry
in the Catholic Church
✔ Flexible format
✔ Digital resources
✔ Easy to run
✔ Theology of the Body
Engaged is a parish-based, marriage formation programme that integrates contemporary relationship psychology with Catholic theology for an effective and powerful experience for the engaged couple.
Combining a number of adult learning methodologies, the six-session course is designed to be used in couple to couple mentoring, small home-centred groups or by correspondence. The programme can also be adapted for use with large groups in parish facilities.
The core content is presented on DVD and is supported by comprehensive participant materials. Each session is of two hours duration with additional take-home activities (approximately twenty hours in total). Well resourced, Engaged offers an easy way for parishes to provide marriage preparation for their engaged couples within the parish.
Getting Started is Easy!
Option 1: Send them to Engaged Online
Engaged is now available as a fully online course. With all the same content, as well as activities, time locks and quizzes to ensure couples’ learning, the course can be taken through self-direction. There is also the option of involving a parish mentor couple who meet with the engaged couple throughout the progress of their course, using the discussion guide provided.
Option 2: Buy it, run it
Engaged can be purchased as a ‘Teach out of the Box’ product and used as designed or adapted for your unique parish circumstances. Couples already experienced in running marriage preparation courses will find Engaged easy to pick up. Alternatively, Mentors may attend the Mentor Training course offered by MRC. Training usually takes place over one day or three evenings and includes all printed materials required to facilitate the programme with confidence.
Option 3: Partner with SmartLoving as a Mentor
In this model, trainee mentors attend the two-day SmartLoving Marriage seminar for personal formation, followed by the Mentor Training course. Every aspect of the administration of the course is managed by MRC (bookings and fees, conduct of the course, provision of materials, supervision and in-servicing of the Mentors). To find out more about becoming a mentor couple, click below:
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.
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.
Session 4 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.
This session 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. A take home DVD provides a summary of key concepts regarding sexuality with a discussion of natural fertility methods and their benefits.
Theology of the Body focus: Sex as Sacred Body Language.
This session 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. Couples who are not Catholic, or who do not practice their Catholic faith, are gently invited to become fully engaged members in parish life.
Theology of the Body focus: Marriage as an Image of Christ and the Church.