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
“That is why a man leaves
his father and mother and clings
to his wife, and
the two of them become one body.”
CatholicMarriagePrep.com, a division of
AgapèCatholicMinistries.com, is dedicated
to the building of strong Christ-centered
With God being the source and foundation of
marriage, it is foremost a spiritual journey.
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
sacramental aspects of marriage and
will need throughout their marriage.
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.
The couple can share their username and password
with their priest or deacon to give them access to their work
throughout their journey.
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
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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
The questionnaires will help couples understand the importance of
properly forming their conscience, and grasp the Church’s position
THE RITE OF MARRIAGE IN DETAIL:
We will analyze in detail each sentence of the vows.
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:
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.
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.
Each couple will reflect on these questions:
- What do we expect from marriage?
together for the rest of our lives?
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.
RELATIONSHIP TOOLS CONTINUED:
2. Techniques to dealing with feelings and emotions during
communication, conflict resolution.
3. Tips on how to express the needs of each individual.
Couples are given insight into what prayer is.
They are helped to understand the importance of daily prayer in
Suggestions are made on how to get started.
family that stays together.”Mother Teresa
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.
After the couple submit their feedback form, their certificate of completion
will be uploaded onto their profile to be printed.
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%)
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
“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
Fidelity Green Light Awardfor Excellence in Catholic Fidelityfrom CatholicCulture.org
Over 10,000 couplessuccessfullyprepared since May 2004