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Preparing for Marriage: 10 Tools for the Journey Daniela Parisotto July 5, 2011 Opening Prayer: Loving God,

We thank you for the gift of love in our lives. Help us appreciate those we love and not take each other for granted. You know our hearts and what we need to satisfy our deepest longings. Give us the courage and determination to not abandon out high ideals, but to live and achieve them in our relationships with one another. Enlighten and strengthen all those who are preparing to marry, that may make wise decisions about their future together. This we pray in Christs name. Amen 1a). Introduction: What is Marriage? The sacred union of a man and a woman who pledge themselves to each other for life. The covenant of a man and a woman committed to each other through Christ, involving a partnership of Life and Love. A sacred bond whereby a man and a woman pledge themselves to be faithful lifelong spouses, loving and caring for each other and lovingly raising and guiding the children they bring into the world. A sacrament that celebrated a couples commitment to share the whole of their life together and to reveals Gods love to themselves, their children, and others through their marriage relationship. b) The Catholic Church and Marriage According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Marriage is: The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the lord of the dignity of a sacrament (1601). The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws (1603).

c) Marriage in the Bible There are many biblical passages that outline the different aspects of marriage and how they relate back to our Catholic beliefs. In the second creation story in the book of Genesis, God says: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him (2:18) From a rib taken from the man, God made a woman. Genesis goes on to describe the mans relationship with the woman: That is why a man leaves his fathers and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body (2:24) These verses from Genesis are at the heart of marriage. As Genesis states, human beings are not meant to be alone. They long to love and be loved in every way. Through marriage, people are given the context for love, companionship and support. Marriage also ensures that the human race will continue. Through their love a husband and wife share in Gods power of creation. In Genesis, God commanded men and women, Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdues it (1:28). A husband and a wife can look to the love of Jesus as a model of love that is life giving in the fullest possible way. His love for others and the Church was total. In Johns Gospel, we read that during the Last Supper Jesus summed up his life in these terms: This is my commandment; love one another as I have loved you. These words could be the motto for every married couple.

2) 10 Tools for the Journey: Discussion Question: What are the important ingredients necessary before entering into the sacrament of marriage and why? (Placemat Activity) Communication: How well do we communicates with each other? What communications problems do we have and how do we address them? Learn how to fight fair: How do we handle and feel about how we handle conflict between us now? Be prepared to accept change: Sometimes changes are beyond our control, how will we cope with them? Learn to accept your in-laws: How do we feel about our family members and our future in-laws? What practical concerns and strains will our family relationships likely bring to our marriage? How will we deal with that?

Parenting and Family Life: How many children would we like to have? How we each were raised as children and how will this affect how we raise our children? Goals and plans: What life or career goals and plans do we each have? Are they compatible? What goals will each have for finances Religion: What are our individual religious beliefs and practices? Intimacy: Discussing with your partner forms of intimacy that is important to the both of you Learn to deal with land mines: Talking about the past can be difficult, but it must be discussed before marriage. Make God central to your journey: Find ways to share faith and beliefs with each other 3. Considerations after Marriage: Discussion Question: What are the important ingredients necessary to make a marriage last the test of time and why? (Placemat Activity) Below are a few key points believed to be major factors in making marriages work: Communication: Making an effort to talk about and work through everyday concerns is crucial to the stability and sanity of any marriage. Being able to discuss everything with your spouse makes for a successful relationship. By talking about everyday issues regularly, and patiently, you develop skills and trust to tackle more major issues that may arise later on in the relationship. The best communication involves listening with live in both verbal and nonverbal situations so that were open to receiving whatever the message may be. Dealing with Conflict: Most married couples have a few standard ongoing fights.

These might include: children, sex, finances, in-laws and hurt feelings. Try to figure out how you can approach the situation differently to be more constructive in arriving at a mutual solution. It is important that you have agreed in principle (and in practice) not to go to bed before resolving the concern. In other words, Dont go to bed angry! Refer to the Twelve Commandments for Constructive Fighting and Guidelines for Conflict Resolution handouts.

Fidelity: In marriage, fidelity refers to faithfulness to the vows promised between husband and wife. Being faithful to the marriage vows isnt always easy and takes strength and determination. It is possible that a married person might find another individual attractive and sometimes this can be the root of conflict between two married people. However, when you marry someone you make the choice to be with them forever, and like any choice, it means that other possibilities are no longer options. Being unfaithful does not only relate to the physical aspect of a marriage, but it also requires the partners to be emotionally faithful as well. The In-laws: YOU ARE MARRYING THE IN-LAWS! Your spouses family are the people who have shaped and formed the one who you have vowed to spend the rest of your life with. Whether they are quiet or loud, affectionate or more subdued, your spouse has been strongly shaped by his or her family. Sometimes your spouse will have very similar personality traits that you have observed in his or her family members. Can you live with these qualities or traits or do they upset you? When we are deeply in love, even though our spouse may possess some undesirable qualities, we can occasionally look past these qualities, love our spouse for who they are and therefore accept their family as well. Intimacy: Theres much more to intimacy that sleeping together. Sharing feelings, conflicts, crisis, faith, beauty of nature, working together, sex and romance, talking about ideas that matter to us, the many ways we have fun together-these all are a part of being married and intimate. There are several ways to be intimate with your partner. Its up to you and your spouse which aspects are most important in your relationship. Intimacy Scale Activity (Aspects of Intimacy)

4. Closing: Group Discussion Questions:

1. Recent statistics show that more and more marriages are ending in divorce after the first few years of marriage. What do you think are the main reasons why marriages fail in the first few years? 2. Fidelity is absolutely critical in marriage. Discuss the validity of this statement. 3. There are many obstacles that face interfaith marriages. Discuss the various obstacles and/or pressure that these couples may face in their marriage with regards to family, relatives and raising children. Closing Prayer: Compassionate God, When two become one in marriage, We are reminded that you became one with is through your Son, Jesus. God of men and women, Give strength to couples And to all those who seek a life of love and generosity. Amen. To make a marriage life long and successful, there must be an enormous amount of mutual understanding, mutual consideration, mutual respect, mutual dream plus willingness to compromise and meet one another in the middle. A wedding is a dayA marriage is a LIFETIME!

Works Cited Glavich, Mary Kathleen. Called to Love: Your Christian Vocation. Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 2000. McCarty, Michele. Christian Vocations. U.S.A. Harcourt Religion Publishers, 2001. Stoutzenberger, Joseph. Celebrating Sacraments. U.S.A. Saint Marys press, 2000. Urbine, William. Preparing for marriage: 10 Tools for the Journey. 2006. http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU.asp