How Does the Online Marriage Prep Course Work?

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Marriage Prep: Myth or Fact?

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Online marriage prep is still a fairly novel idea. It’s natural to have questions about it, and easy to fall prey to certain assumptions. As a person who went through CatholicMarriagePrep.com just last fall, I’ll use my recent experience to differentiate between some of the most common “myths” and “facts” about our program.

1.     Online marriage prep is only for long-distance couples.

Myth. While CatholicMarriagePrep.com is a great resource for couples who don’t have the ability to meet in person, anyone can use it, regardless of how far apart they live. Some of the best results have come from couples who discuss the questions together one-on-one.

2.     Marriage prep assignments take a long time to complete.

Fact. And this is a good thing. Our course encourages you to meditate upon multiple facets of the commitment you are about to make, from the sacramental to the practical. Ponder your answers to the questions, discuss them in depth together, pray about them. They aren’t meant to be answered glibly or in an off handed manner. You are preparing to spend your lifetimes together, so think of this course as one of your first shared projects.

3.     CatholicMarriagePrep.com is only available to practicing Catholics.

Myth. A marriage prep course is required for all practicing Catholics, but that doesn’t mean that it’s off-limits for non-Catholics or for people converting to Catholicism. Two good friends of mine took this marriage prep course while preparing for RCIA this year!

4.      CatholicMarriagePrep.com teaches you how to use Natural Family Planning.

Myth. The course explains the theology behind NFP, and why the Church rejects contraception in favor of NFP, stating its benefits for marriage, but it does not include an actual NFP training. Natural Family Planning is a separate training that many parishes require in addition to our marriage prep course. We give you the links towards the different methods and a comparison chart of those. You can also contact the marriage prep coordinator at your parish for more information on the NFP instruction available to you.

5.     A couple who has studied the Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality has no need of marriage prep.

Myth. It’s awesome if you are already familiar with Theology of the Body and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Our course focuses that general knowledge into the specific channel of a couple’s marriage preparation. There’s a difference between understanding a concept and applying it to a specific situation, and our course focuses on the latter skill. It applies the broader teachings of the Church to the specific situation of you and your future spouse. The course isn’t just about “knowledge”, but mostly about the two of you starting to build the foundations of your marriage and your life-project together. We believe that every couple will grow from this experience.

6.     To be prepared for marriage, I do not need theological training, but practical skills.

Myth. Both are valuable for a marriage, and that is why “life-skills” are intertwined throughout each assignment. We have a holistic approach of marriage and do not separate the practical from the spiritual. The last assignment, the Relationship Tools, focuses even more on these “life skills.” A couple must agree on how to spend money, educate their children, and express appreciation for one another, and all these skills are made possible by being able to communicate effectively. How can you do so when you speak two different languages? As Catholics, we also know that marriage is first of all a spiritual adventure, as God invented it! The Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality are foundational to a relationship. So studying the theology of marriage—its origin, implications, and significance as a sacrament—will give you and your spouse a direction. This will help you address the practical aspects of your marriage constructively.

7.     The course can feel repetitive.

Fact—it is. Two of our assignments are actually more “academic” than the rest of the course. So we do ask similar questions in later assignments to encourage deeper discussion between the two of you and help you “own” your knowledge. As a teacher, one of the safest ways to ensure my students have processed the material is by having them rearticulate it to me. We try to do the same thing with our course.

8.     You must complete assignments in one sitting.

Myth. We understand that some of the assignments take a while because of the discussions they provoke between you, so you have the option to save your work and return at any time.

9.     An in-person marriage prep course encourages a more honest dialogue between instructors and couples.

Myth. Being vulnerable in front of others is daunting. In a group class setting, couples may hesitate to share their specific challenges because nobody wants to be the one couple with issues. It’s tempting to just keep quiet and passive! Online marriage prep does not give you that option. You are encouraged to confront each other honestly and to respond fully to every question, with the confidence that only your instructors will read your answers. In most cases, this format results in a more candid dialogue between couples, and between couples and instructors, than could occur in-person.

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In our mission statement at CatholicMarriagePrep.com we say: “Agape Catholic Marriage Preparation invites couples to a deeper relationship with each other and with Christ, one couple at a time.  Online, on-demand instruction rooted in Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, combined with personalized mentoring from a trained married couple, builds a foundation for a strong, healthy, Christ-centered marriage between a man and a woman.”  Who does that best serve?   From the very inception of CatholicMarriagePrep.com serving military couples has always been on our hearts, even offering a military discount.

Tara Brooke
28 June 2022

Wow!!!  Yes, that is the correct word to begin this blog post!  I think I am still in shock!  On the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus our country just experienced the overturning of an almost 50-year-old law regarding abortion.  Roe vs. Wade was overturned!  

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I read an interesting article today on CNN linking ibuprofen use to infertility in men. Ibuprofen has already been linked to affecting the testicles of babies in utero, so further studies have begun to reveal what could happen in male adults. For example, an athlete using ibuprofen regularly for 14 days developed compensated hypogonadism: a hormonal imbalance resulting in low testosterone and associated with impaired fertility, depression, and heart disease.

 

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