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M ARRIAGE P REPARATION That is why a man leavesThat is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.

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Presentation on theme: "M ARRIAGE P REPARATION That is why a man leavesThat is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body."— Presentation transcript:

1 M ARRIAGE P REPARATION That is why a man leavesThat 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

2 Mission Statement:, a division of Agapè, 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 IIs Theology of the Body and the teachings of the Catholic Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, encyclicals, and apostolic letters). 2

3 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. 3 $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.

4 How does it work? 4 1.The couple registers on the website. 2.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 couples 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.

5 How does it Work? How does it Work? 5 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 couples own pace, within one week (very intense) to three months maximum.

6 How does it Work? How does it Work? 6 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.

7 How does it Work? How does it Work? 7 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 couples answers with the teachings of the Church in the Answer Keys.

8 8 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

9 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? 9

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11 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. 11 Worksheet Two Overview

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13 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. 13 The questionnaires will help couples understand the importance of properly forming their conscience, and grasp the Churchs position on contraception. CDs are available at

14 Worksheet Three Overview Worksheet Three Overview THE RITE OF MARRIAGE IN DETAIL: We will analyze in detail each sentence of the vows. 1.Freely and Without Reservation 2.To Give Yourselves to Each Other 3.For the Rest of Your Lives 4.Will You Accept Children 5.I Take You 14

15 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. 15 Older couples who cannot have children will work on how their marriage can be fruitful in a different way. Worksheet Three Overview

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17 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. 17 Worksheet Four Overview

18 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? 18 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. RELATIONSHIP TOOLS Worksheet Five Overview

19 RELATIONSHIP TOOLS CONTINUED: COMMUNICATION: 1.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. 19

20 For a family that prays together is a family that stays together. Mother Teresa 20

21 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. 21 Feedback Form

22 After the couple submit their feedback form, their certificate of completion will be uploaded onto their profile to be printed. 22 Feedback Form

23 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%) Agapè CMPs 2012 NUMBERS

24 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 wouldnt 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 24

25 Frequently Asked Questions 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 25

26 Frequently Asked Questions 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 couples 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. 26

27 Frequently Asked Questions 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. 27

28 Frequently Asked Questions 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. 28

29 Frequently Asked Questions 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 Churchs 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. USCCB Canon 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. 29

30 Frequently Asked Questions 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: Women 1970 = 20.8 2010 = 26.1 Men 1970 = 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. 30

31 Frequently Asked Questions 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. 31

32 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 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.

33 Frequently Asked Questions 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 lifes 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. 33

34 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 its parenting, marriage, finances, or faith, its all there, and more. 34 It also shares new documents from the Church on Family Life and reviews different resources. Follow-up

35 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 35

36 Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. Denver 36

37 Bishop Michael Sheridan Colorado Springs

38 Online Classes Online Classes Fidelity Green Light Award for Excellence in Catholic Fidelity from 38

39 Over 10,000 couples successfully prepared since May 2004 A Division of Agapè Catholic Ministries

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