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M ARRIAGE P REPARATION. “ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body. ” Genesis 2:24. Mission Statement: CatholicMarriagePrep.com, a division of AgapèCatholicMinistries.com, is dedicated

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M ARRIAGE P REPARATION

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M arriage p reparation

MARRIAGE PREPARATION

“That is why a man leaves

his father and mother and clings

to his wife, and

the two of them become one body.”

Genesis 2:24


M arriage p reparation

Mission Statement:

CatholicMarriagePrep.com, a division of

AgapèCatholicMinistries.com, is dedicated

to the building of strong Christ-centered

Catholic marriages.

With God being the source and foundation of

marriage, it is foremost a spiritual journey.

The Foundation:

The Catholic Marriage Prep program

is deeply rooted in John Paul II’s Theology

of the Body and the teachings of

the Catholic Church (Catechism of the

Catholic Church, encyclicals, and apostolic

letters).

2


Program overview

Program Overview

  • The course covers the theological and

    sacramental aspects of marriage and

    sexuality.

  • It also expands on the “life-skills” a couple

    will need throughout their marriage.

  • Taught online with the one-on-one

    mentoring of an instructor couple.

$170 per couple.

Note: the course covers the theology behind NFP and explains why

contraception is a sin. It does NOT include the actual NFP training.


How does it work

How does it work?

  • The couple registers on the website.

  • They receive a username and password to access

  • their personal profile with the link to their first worksheet.

  • 3. They log-in to fill and submit their first worksheet.

  • 4. Their personal instructors retrieve it, review and complete it with the

  • teachings of the Church.

  • 5. Their instructors upload the couple’s personal Answer-Key onto their

  • profile with the link to their next worksheet and advise them when it is

  • posted.

The couple can share their username and password

with their priest or deacon to give them access to their work

throughout their journey.


How does it work1

How does it Work?

The online course is made of seven lessons in all,

consisting of five worksheets, and two questionnaires.

Worksheets are designed to provoke deep thought and

discussions. They challenge each couple to answer in

depth and in writing.

When couples are separated by distance, they share

their answers to the worksheets either by phone or the

Internet (Skype, email, instant messages) before

submitting their common work.

The course can be completed at the couple’s own

pace, within one week (very intense) to three months

maximum.


How does it work2

How does it Work?

The couple can submit their worksheet at any time.

Their instructors will upload their personal answer-key within

24 hours to a maximum of three business days.

Couples can contact their instructors with their personal

questions at any time.


How does it work3

How does it Work?

TEACHING STYLE:

The course is not designed to be taught in the traditional “lecture” style,

but rather to make the couples “think” first, and try to find their own

answers to the questions.

This heuristic process allows the couples

to stay engaged in the subject being

discussed and helps them “own” the

knowledge that is being passed on.

The instructors will then complete the

couple’s answers with the teachings

of the Church in the Answer Keys.


M arriage p reparation

Worksheet One Overview

In the Beginning… Genesis:

God's original plan for humanity, man, and woman,

the origin of marriage and how sin distorted it.

In both creation accounts we will understand the TRUE vocation of

humanity, the TRUE vocation of man, and the TRUE vocation of woman,

laying the foundation for a strong marriage and family life.

“The wise man builds his house upon a rock” Matt. 7:24


Worksheet one overview

Worksheet One Overview

We will also define sin, how it distorted man

and woman's relationship, and why it separated

them from God.

Some questions on sin from our first worksheet:

  • What is this fruit Adam and Eve ate and

  • why didn't God want them to eat it?

  • How did the man and his wife sin?

  • What are the first consequences of sin?

  • How does this still affect us today?

  • Is there any hope for redemption?



M arriage p reparation

10


M arriage p reparation

Worksheet Two Overview

The Sacrament of Matrimony:

After defining a covenant and a short review of

the seven sacraments of the Church, we will

reflect on what it means to receive the Sacrament

of Matrimony and its powerful Grace.

We will use the Catechism of the Catholic

Church (paragraphs 1601 – 1666), to discuss the

requirements of a valid sacrament and what a

couple is consenting to.

We will also listen to St. Paul in the Letter to the

Ephesians, as he gives us clues about the love and respect

connection to enhance our communication.


M arriage p reparation

12


Questionnaires overview

Questionnaires Overview

Before Worksheet Three, couples will complete two Questionnaires

based on audio teachings by Professor Janet Smith, consultor to the

Pontifical Council on the Family.

CDs are available at

http://mycatholicfaith.org

The questionnaires will help couples understand the importance of

properly forming their conscience, and grasp the Church’s position

on contraception.


Worksheet three overview

Worksheet Three Overview

THE RITE OF MARRIAGE IN DETAIL:

We will analyze in detail each sentence of the vows.

  • Freely and Without Reservation

  • To Give Yourselves to Each Other

  • For the Rest of Your Lives

  • Will You Accept Children

  • I Take You


M arriage p reparation

Worksheet Three Overview

The Rite will bring us to discuss cohabitation, sex before marriage,

and the true meaning of sex in marriage, contraception, abortion,

Reproductive technologies, families of origin, parenting…

Couples will need to discuss these core topics:

  • Abstinence

  • Natural Family Planning

    They will learn that to be a faithful

    Catholic couple requires them

    to be counter-cultural.

Older couples who cannot have children will work on how their

marriage can be fruitful in a different way.


M arriage p reparation

16


M arriage p reparation

Worksheet Four Overview

Forgiveness and Freedom:

Forgiveness plays a vital role in marriage and we will understand just how

important it is, and “rediscover” the value of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Your body is a Temple:

We will also learn that we owe immense respect to our bodies, as they are

the Temple of the Holy Spirit and a window to our souls. This will give us

clues on how to have a holy sex life.

We will look at how to safe-guard ourselves against the “silent killers of

families” such as, pornography and other sins of the flesh.


M arriage p reparation

Worksheet Five Overview

RELATIONSHIP TOOLS

EXPECTATIONS:

Each couple will reflect on these questions:

- What do we expect from marriage?

  • What is going to hold our marriage

    together for the rest of our lives?

POTENTIAL PROBLEMS:

Couples will unmask the myths about

marriage, and bring expectations in line

with reality. They will make a list of potential

problems in a marriage with the reasons

behind them. Then couples will work on

finding their own potential problems.


Worksheet five overview

Worksheet Five Overview

RELATIONSHIP TOOLS CONTINUED:

COMMUNICATION:

  • Couples will receive introductory skills to active listening and

    non-blaming communication.

    2.Techniques to dealing with feelings and emotions during

    communication, conflict resolution.

    3.Tips on how to express the needs of each individual.

    PRAYER:

    Couples are given insight into what prayer is.

    They are helped to understand the importance of daily prayer in

    marriage.

    Suggestions are made on how to get started.


M arriage p reparation

“For a family that prays together is a

family that stays together.”Mother Teresa

20


M arriage p reparation

Feedback Form

The last questionnaire is a

short feedback form

allowing the couple to

express their appreciation

of the course.

This feedback can be

shared with their priest

or deacon. It gives a

picture of what the couple

got out of the program.


M arriage p reparation

Feedback Form

After the couple submit their feedback form, their certificate of completion

will be uploaded onto their profile to be printed.


M arriage p reparation

Agapè CMP’s 2012 NUMBERS

Answers from over 2,000 couples who completed the online or live

Agapè CMP marriage prep courses.

Abstinence: Yes or Maybe = 97.0% NFP: Yes or Maybe = 94.0%

(Yes: 78.0%, Maybe: 19.0%, No: 3.0%) (Yes: 64.0%, Maybe: 30.0%, No: 6.0%)  


Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How can an online course allow personal interaction, and answer

the specific needs of each couple?

Each couple is assigned an instructor couple who will work one-on-one

with them, reviewing and personally answering each of their worksheets.

The course does not consist in a “multiple choice” type of questions and

answers. Couples must formulate their answers in complete sentences.

“We were so impressed by the way our instructors took the time to write such

detailed and informative answers. We were afraid that going the online route

would be impersonal and that we wouldn‘t get much out of it, but we were so

surprised to see how much we got out of it and how open and honest and

informative our instructors were. We also greatly appreciated their effort in

providing timely responses. They added a great personal touch to the course

that really helped us feel comfortable with the material and them as our

instructors.”Andy and Natalie


Frequently asked questions1

Frequently Asked Questions

How can an online course allow personal interaction, and answer

the specific needs of each couple?

The goal is also to get the couple to discuss together each and every

Topic, to increase and deepen their communication.

Even more important than the interaction with their mentor couple

is the interaction between them to get to know each other in a deeper

and stronger way.

This class brought up things that we may otherwise not have discussed. Assumption is not something that strong marriages are built on. Talking about God, our family, sex, expectations, feelings, finances, etc. through this class was an impetus for us to keep talking! We learned about ourselves and each other. The communication that it elicited is such awesome preparation for a communication-filled, open marriage.We feel closer to each other (though we didn't think it was possible!) than we had before the class. Frederick and Meaghan


Frequently asked questions2

Frequently Asked Questions

Do couples have set appointments with their instructors, either over

the Internet, or over the phone?

No. There are no set times or set meetings, couples can email their

instructors at any time with their questions.

Couples fill out a worksheet and submit it, their instructors review it

and upload a personal answer key onto the couple’s profile, with the link

to the next worksheet.

Do couples have to wait for their answer key before they can move on to

the following worksheet?

Yes. The work is done in two parts: the couple answers the questions,

and then reads the answer key. There is a progression of learning in the

course. Each worksheet is built upon the previous one and reading

the instructor's feedback together is as important as filling out the

worksheet itself.


Frequently asked questions3

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast can the couple start the course after they register?

They can start as soon as they have received the confirmation email that

is sent automatically to their email address after they register.

The links to their first two worksheets are in this confirmation message.

The couple will start the course by clicking these links.

How fast can the couple expect to have an answer to their work?

Instructors review worksheets within 24 hours to a maximum of three

business days.

They will give priority to couples whose wedding date is closest.

How fast can the course be completed?

The minimum is two weeks, the maximum is three months.

Most couples complete the course in an average of six weeks.


Frequently asked questions4

Frequently Asked Questions

I am planning to marry overseas. My fiancée is taking a class on her

own there. Is it possible for me to take the class by myself?

If so, is there a discount?

We have launched this online marriage preparation to allow couples

who are separated by distance to still be able to prepare TOGETHER.

Marriage prep is not just about gaining more knowledge. It is about

getting to know each other in a deeper way and preparing

together for the challenges of married life. Marriage is for a couple,

not an individual, so marriage prep is also for a couple.

Since the price is the same, the best would be to work through the

program together. The perspective your fiancée will offer you will be

valuable to your relationship.


Frequently asked questions5

Frequently Asked Questions

We have been civilly married 17 years and are asking the blessing of the

Church in a convalidation. Why do we have to take this course?

A “convalidation” is not just the Church’s recognition of an existing

situation, nor a blessing of an existing union. If both are baptized,

Convalidation = Sacrament of Matrimony

with all the same “obligations and benefits,” or “goods and requirements”.

A convalidation is not simply a renewal of the previous intention to marry,

but the creation of a valid marriage in the sight of the Christian

community. USCCBCanon law requires proper preparation for entering the sacrament of

marriage. Individual dioceses establish the guidelines for this preparation.

A civilly married couple needs to learn all that the Sacrament of Matrimony

entails.


Frequently asked questions6

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the program focus so much on the spiritual aspects of

marriage rather than on life-skills?

First, a few numbers...

Average age at first marriage:

Women1970= 20.8         2010 = 26.1

Men1970 = 23.2      2010 = 28.2

Women giving birth for the first time at age 30 or older:

  • 1970 = 4%

  • 2007 = 22%

    Because more and more couples are getting married later in life, they

    are no longer coming to the Catholic Church to learn these basic skills.

    We cannot give these couples the same kind of preparation that we were

    giving 20 or 30 years ago, when young people had a solid religious

    formation through their families.


Frequently asked questions7

Frequently Asked Questions

Most couples today have learned how to communicate through their

careers, their counselors, or just the Internet, and the abundant literature

one can find on the market.

They have also had to learn how to handle money effectively through

living on their own.

Couples today mostly need a moral and spiritual compass.

They need to learn self-giving love and to understand the beauty of

the Sacrament of Matrimony. They need to learn to give Christ the

first place in their lives.


M arriage p reparation

Research shows that couples who seriously practice a traditional

religious faith – be it Christian or other - have a divorce rate markedly

lower than the general population .

The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and

practice.

Faith affiliation% Divorce reduction or increase

Protestant - Nominal +20 % chances of divorce

Protestant - Conservative -10 %

Protestant - Active Conservative -35 %

Catholic (nominal) -5 %

Catholic - Active -31 %

Catholic practicing NFP-95%

Jewish (nominal) +53 %

Jewish - Active -97%

Numbers: W. Bradford Wilcox and Elizabeth Williamson, “The Cultural Contradictions of mainline Family Ideology and Practice,” in American Religions and the Family, (2007) p. 50


Frequently asked questions8

Frequently Asked Questions

Still, throughout, our program focuses on many different life-skills,

linking them to the spiritual:

First worksheet: the reading of Genesis eliminates any confusion about

our life’s mission as male and female.

Second worksheet: St. Paul teaches us how to communicate and live

as husband and wife.

Third worksheet: we approach chastity, family planning.

We also discuss families of origin, and what discipline is about.

We give resources on child rearing.

Fourth worksheet: we focus on forgiveness, one of the most important

skills in marriage!

Fifth worksheet: we go into the more “traditional” type

of life-skills such as potential problems, communication, conflict resolution,

budgeting, and expectations.


M arriage p reparation

Follow-up

Couples who would like to stay in touch after the course can sign-up for

our monthly Enewsletter.

This beautifully illustrated “chat” offers tips and advice on how to deal with

day to day situations, whether it’s parenting, marriage, finances, or faith,

it’s all there, and more.

It also shares new documents from the Church on Family Life and

reviews different resources.


Online classes

Online Classes

“This course ignited our desire to get closer to the church as individuals

and as a couple. It also guided our decision to make changes to our

lifestyle to be in communion with God and his church, including abstinence

and we are no longer living together.”Asa and Diane

“Honestly, we thought that we had an

understanding of each other's vision of

marriage and we were wrong. This class

helped us open our eyes. We really think that

the online class is great because it feeds candid discussion in private.

It also makes it possible for people who live far from each other to still get

a lot out of a class rather than rushing through it.”

Javier and Renee


M arriage p reparation

Archbishop

Charles Chaput,

O.F.M. Cap.

Denver

36


M arriage p reparation

Bishop

Michael Sheridan

Colorado Springs


Online classes1

Online Classes

Fidelity Green Light Awardfor Excellence in Catholic Fidelityfrom CatholicCulture.org


M arriage p reparation

A Division of

Agapè Catholic

Ministries

Over 10,000 couplessuccessfullyprepared since May 2004


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