Marriage Preparation FAQs
Why should we do marriage preparation?
Most people plan for the big things in life and getting married is no different. This is why many churches ask couples to spend some time thinking and learning about relationships as well as preparing for their wedding. Thousands of couples have taken some form of marriage preparation and the overwhelming feedback is that they get a lot out of it.
Moreover, the Catholic church requires that couples undertake marriage preparation so that they fully understand and appreciate the commitment that they are making in the Sacrament and are better equipped at this stage of their journey to meet that commitment.
“Priority should be given to an attractive and helpful presentation of information that can help couples to live the rest of their lives together ‘with great courage and generosity’.” Pope Francis, The Joy of Love #207
Why do you offer two types of marriage preparation?
There is a lot to making a relationship work. Our two types of marriage preparation are designed to complement each other and to give your married life the best start. We recommend that you do both and will offer a discounted rate if you book FOCCUS after paying for a place on a Preparing Together course.
A Preparing Together course will help you learn about the different stages in relationships and learn about how to handle the inevitable difficulties that arise. Packed with skills and information, as well as reflections on spirituality and the Sacrament, this will help you to move forward together.
FOCCUS offers the chance to gain some bespoke insights into your unique relationship. It will give you time to think and talk together about your life and relationship, by exploring a host of issues with each other in a safe, supportive and confidential environment. Learn about your relationship strengths as well as the issues you may not have talked much about yet.
My partner is not keen. What can I say to persuade him/her to come along?
The vast majority of attendees get a lot out of our courses. We always ask couples to fill in an evaluation form to help us make our courses better. Here is a sample of what they have said.
“You don’t know you need it until after you have attended!”
“It gave me an insight into how to deal with conflict and I learned that I can change the way I react.”
“Every couple should attend one of these courses – it was surprisingly helpful.”
“It was relaxed, informal and fun.”
“Everybody participated but there was never any pressure.”
“We’ve been together for 10 years and still learned a lot today.”
What does it involve?
Preparing Together consists of a number of sessions over one day for our in the “Same Room” courses, or three 90 minute sessions over three weeks for our “Zoom” courses.
There will be some activities in groups, some as couples and some individual tasks. There will be no pressure to discuss personal matters in front of the group. The topics include the importance of talking and listening, dealing with difficult issues, expectations of your life together, maintaining intimacy in your relationship and your experiences of the family you grew up in.
FOCCUS consist of at least two sessions spaced about a week apart, after the inventory has been completed. Your facilitator will take you through the report and encourage you to share with one another your thoughts on a range of important issues, such as shared values, expectations, the role of family and friends, raising children, the role of faith in your relationship and how you will manage your finances. FOCCUS helps you to be more aware of your particular strengths as a couple and how you can grow stronger.
How long will my certificate last?
Your Marriage Preparation certificate doesn’t expire and it is evidence that you took part in Marriage Preparation approved by the Catholic Church, it is recommended to attend a course 6-12 months prior to getting married.
My partner believes in God but I’m not sure. Will you be talking a lot about God?
Our Preparing Together courses are suitable for any couple wanting to spend time on their relationship before marrying, from all faiths and belief systems. Our expertise is relationships and that will be the main focus of the day but you will have an opportunity to reflect on the promises you make to each other on your wedding day.
Our FOCCUS courses are similar in that they encourage the couple to explore their attitudes to faith, without making any judgment. It’s important for a couple to know where each other stands on lots of issues, including faith in God, before they marry. So think of it as providing useful time and safe space to approach this and similarly sensitive issues with the help of a trained facilitator.
Couples who are marrying in church will also have separate meetings with their priest or pastor often to answer any questions they have about the wedding ceremony, church teaching or the theology of marriage.
We’ve been living together for ages. Can we come and will we get anything out of marriage preparation?
Yes, you will be welcome to attend the course. No judgments are made about your current position. You’re the experts on your relationship whether you have only just met or have been living together for some time. This time is an opportunity for you to focus on your partner and your relationship away from all the pressures of daily life and wedding plans. Couples that have been together for years tell us they still learn something of value to them.
Will we be frowned upon because we already have children?
Some couples coming on courses do already have children. We value all the experience you bring and hope that you will be able to build on that during the course.
Can we bring babies or children with us?
No; our volunteers are not able to provide child care so please make alternative arrangements for your babies and children. Unfortunately, if you do bring your babies or children, you will need to leave and arrange to book onto a later course.
How do I find out about marriage preparation?
For Preparing Together Anywhere please visit our booking page. For FOCCUS please visit our FOCCUS booking page. If you would like to book FOCCUS at a discounted rate, please book your Preparing Together Anywhere course first and then ring our appointments service on 0800 389 3801.
Find out more about our marriage preparation courses.