Relationship Support

As with all relationships, marriage needs working at.

Couples wishing to develop and strengthen their relationship may find an enrichment programme a helpful process; the following organisations provide such opportunities and online resources:

All relationships, whether solid and loving or stressed and fragile, experience challenges which test our ability to support and understand each other as needed or appropriate, and we may struggle with the promises we made to each other. Most of the time, couples will resolve their own differences through mutual sharing and listening, working together to find the best way forward. However, should things become strained and resolutions difficult to achieve, seeking support from others can be beneficial, especially relationship support with an impartial perspective. Two organisations that can provide this form of support are  Marriage Care  or Retrouvaille.

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and recognising that support for marriages and relationships is potentially more vital than ever, both Marriage Care and Retrouvaille are now delivering their services by virtual means; details of what is available and how to book can be found on their websites.

Getting Married in the Archdiocese of Cardiff:

So, you want to get married in the Catholic Church? Congratulations!

The most important part of preparing for your marriage, is to gain a true understanding of the sacramental and lifelong covenant that you are making with God and each other.

In order that you can prepare properly, you are asked, in the first instance, to contact your parish priest. He will guide and support you through this preparation period, enabling you to get the most from it; He will also explain both the Civil and Catholic Church’s requirements for Marriage and will complete the pre-nuptial papers.

Marriage Preparation:

Marriage preparation is a process rather than an event limited to the planning of a liturgy or the completion of obligatory paperwork; marriage preparation is a gradual, continuous, life-long endeavour, which follows a three-stage process of: remote , proximate and immediate preparation as defined in Familiaris Consortio #66 and by the Pontifical Council for the Family.

  • remote (beginning in infancy, through to adolescence),
  • proximate (catechesis for young people, through relational, moral and spiritual formation, presenting the sacrament of marriage),
  • and immediate preparation (as defined in Familiaris Consortio, #66) and the Pontifical Council for the Family) the period from an engaged couple’s first approach to the Church, the period of preparation and the celebration of the rite.

The Archdiocese also recognises and acknowledges the need for continuing support during the couple’s life-long commitment to their marriage (Familiaris Consortio (1981) #69)

Couples can expect their preparation to take place over a minimum of 4 sessions as outlined;

1. Introductory/ Exploratory session

Introductory/ Exploratory session with the parish priest; the prenuptial documents will be completed and conditions for a valid marriage confirmed. As a couple you will be encouraged/invited to reflect on your relationship to date and your expectations for your future together as a family. In addition, you will explore the sacramental nature of the covenant that you are about to make; you are encouraged to view this experience as an opportunity to take the time to truly reflect on the call to the married vocation.

2. Lay Led Course

It is envisaged that, within the Archdiocese of Cardiff, all couples will be directed towards a lay-led course alongside sessions with the clergy. These courses are run by trained lay facilitators, frequently couples, and provide an opportunity for engaged couples to explore together, often within a group setting, their relationship now and beyond their marriage. Within the Archdiocese of Cardiff, Marriage Care (MC) are the main providers of this part of the marriage preparation (MP) process and this relationship is being further developed to ensure this valuable resource is sustained. The content of the MC ‘Preparing Together’ preparation course is outlined here.   –   NB All Marriage Care courses are to be booked via their central booking system.

3. Follow Up Session(s)

After completing the Lay-led course, you, the couple, will then meet again with the parish priest of your domicile parish (or where your preparation is being provided) to reflect with him how things went and are going. You will then begin to explore the liturgy of the marriage; how the liturgy relates to your hopes and aspirations, how it relates to what you have experienced on the MP course and how it can be put together to provide a fulfilling experience for you and your wedding guests.

4. Wedding rehearsal

The rehearsal for the ceremony is to be recognised as a great time for evangelisation, not merely as a familiarisation exercise; spending time explaining to all the key participants their role and the meaning behind it. This will strengthen the sacramental experience for you as a couple and your guests.

Marriage Preparation during the current Coronavirus pandemic

If you were due to get married during 2020 or early 2021, the chances are that your wedding has now been postponed or, at the very least, significantly modified which must be very distressing. We hope that you take comfort in the fact that your marriage is still very important to us.

In line with current Government and Public Health guidance regarding the Coronavirus, the marriage preparation process has also been significantly affected;

  • All face to face meetings with clergy are suspended but they will be happy to discuss your plans by phone, conferencing platforms or emails.
  • If you were expecting to attend a marriage preparation day, Preparing Together, these have been cancelled until at least Spring 2021; you should be contacted directly by Marriage Care’s appointments service to offer you an alternative online preparation.
  • Newly engaged couples are still advised to contact their parish priests before making any other arrangements; he will be able to advise you of the local guidelines and when your wedding is likely to be able to take place.
  • Please do take advantage of the virtual preparation services being offered and see getting the lay led marriage preparation course requirements done and dusted as a good use of your imposed downtime. Visit Marriage Care’s website for details and how to book.

Some resources for engaged couples preparing for their catholic wedding: Readings   Choosing your Readings   Reflections on the Readings  Advice for your Reader 

Lay led Preparation courses:

Two Marriage Care preparation programmes are currently used in the Archdiocese:

Preparing Together, is a one-day workshop for groups of up to 12 couples. It is normally held on a Saturday or Sunday, organised by local Marriage Care centres across the Archdiocese. Enjoyable, revealing and rewarding, couples are encouraged to consider things they may not even be aware they need to think about. All in a safe, supportive environment, where no one is forced to share anything they are uncomfortable with.
As a direct consequence of the pandemic, Preparing Together Anywhere has been developed for virtual delivery, for up to 6 couples over three weekly ninety-minute sessions.

FOCCUS© stands for Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study. It is a personalised consultation using a research-based questionnaire and gives couples a good snapshot of how their relationship works. The picture that develops is shaped by their experiences and answers to questions about family life, faith and spirituality, how they communicate and settle differences. It’s not a test to pass or fail, as every relationship is unique. But their responses will help in identifying, discussing and working through any issues as they enter this new phase of their relationship. This currently available via secure webcam.

Becoming a volunteer facilitator of Marriage Preparation Programmes.

Have you considered becoming a volunteer facilitator of Marriage Preparation Programmes?

To find out more, download our leaflet here and contact one of the team.

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