Question 146


Is There Good News for Marriage Preparation Programs?

Good News from Marriage Preparation Programs

The number of marriages in the Catholic Church dropped by 63% from 1975 to 2008 (Kenedy Official Catholic Directory). Sometimes the Church seems afraid to ask 'too much' from couples, afraid that it will scare them away. (Less than ten dioceses in the United States require complete NFP formation and almost none outside the USA. Most of the couples have never heard about NFP and/or do not know where to find NFP courses even if they are convinced.)

Couples asking to get married in the Church are also asking the Church to give them the Truth. They hunger for it, and want lifelong marriages. Most couples have low expectations from the Church, thinking they will be lectured. When the teachings of the Church are well-explained and presented in a respectful, non-judgmental environment, couples are inclined to accept them and make them their own. The way the program is taught and presented is as important as the content of the teachings; otherwise we could just give them a book or a series of DVD's. 

Numbers speak by themselves for couples who completed the interactive, one-on-one Catholic Marriage Preparation classes ( Below are results from over 1,500 couples in the USA who went through the online Catholic Marriage Prep classes in 2010.

ABSTINENCE: Did you decide to abstain from sex until your wedding day as required by God through the Church, in the goal of giving sex its true meaning which is to authenticate your consent and receive each other from God in an act of trust?

- Yes or Maybe = 97.0% (Yes: 81.0%, Maybe: 16.0%)

- No: 3.0%

NFP: Do you plan to practice Natural Family Planning in your marriage out of respect for God's natural laws and trusting that they are for your greater happiness and holiness?

- Yes or Maybe = 93.0% (Yes: 61.0%, Maybe: 32.0%)

- No: 7.0%

Our duty is to feed them well, not to make them feel well.

—Submitted by Christian Meert, Co-Director
Diocese of Colorado Springs