In 2009, Bishop Dan and the Priests’ Council looked at the survey results of how Marriage Preparation takes place in our diocese.
A new resource entitled, “For Better and For Ever” and a “sponsor couple approach” was chosen a an effective “RCIA for Matrimony."
This resource and approach are Parish based, and use sponsor couples from the parish to journey with the engaged couple who learn the skills of lifelong marriage. Follow-up is also part of the program.
This program is an example of where the “rubber hits the road”. It implements the Diocesan vision of “evangelization, education, enabling the laity” and it will require many couples to share their “time and talents”.
It is suggested that a married couple only sponsor 1 or 2 engaged couples each year. Many “laborers for the harvest” are needed – married couples who are willing to enter into relationship with young adults as they begin their journey together as part of the Christian community. So married couples who are reading this, please consider this ministry and invite others to consider it as well. We all know how important the married couple is for the “holiness” of the domestic church.
Now implementation proceeds like “yeast which makes the dough rise”. Copies of the Marriage workbook resource are available for $15; training DVD’s - $20. Please join in prayer for blessings upon this venture.
During our parish's call for volunteers we signed up to help with marriage prep. Having been recently married ourselves we felt called to help other couples preparing for the sacrament of marriage. Our pastor invited us to attend a marriage seminar called “For Better and For Ever”, a resource for couples preparing for Christian Marriage. During this seminar we were given the opportunity to review a new type of marriage preparation course. “For Better and For Ever” is a program that pairs newly engaged couples preparing for marriage with a married sponsor couple. During the course of about 5 to 6 weeks the engaged couple meets with their sponsor couple to complete a marriage workbook and discuss the various issues that married couples face. One advantage of this approach is the bond that is formed between the engaged and sponsor couple. This friendship can be very helpful for both the engaged and sponsor couple as time goes on for issues they may face in the future. The sponsor relationship also allows the engaged couple to ask questions and get ideas from a couple who has experience in being married. This sponsor/engaged couple relationship is a different approach to marriage preparation since most parishes are used to a weekend seminar for marriage preparation. “For Better and For Ever” is a useful and beneficial approach for marriage preparation. We feel blessed that God has called us to help engaged couples and we hope that the “For Better and For Ever” approach to marriage preparation will not only give us the opportunity to help an engaged couple but to also strengthen our own marriage as we work through the workbook with them.