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MARRIAGE PREPARATION PROGRAM NOTES Introduction Marriage is a special state that you both enter into.

Its been described as: Marriage is like a fine wine; it improves with age and appreciates in value. Torrents of worries and difficulties are incapable of drowning true love because people who sacrifice themselves generously are brought closer together in the long run. Blessed Josemaria Escriva There is nothing in the world - no possible success, military or political, which is worth weighing in the balance for one moment against the happiness that comes to those fortunate enough to make a real love match - in which the lover and sweetheart will never be lost in husband and wife. I know what I am writing about, for I am just as much devoted to Mrs. Roosevelt now as ever I was. Theodore Roosevelt Session 1 Genesis 27 God created human beings in his own image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he. 28God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase, fill the earth and subdue it, have dominion over the fish in the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves on the earth.' Genesis 18 Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; I shall make a partner suited to him.'19 So from the earth he formed all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each living creature, that would be its name.20 The man gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every wild animal; but for the man himself no suitable partner was found.21 The LORD God then put the man into a deep sleep and, while he slept, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the flesh over the place.22 The rib he had taken out of the man the LORD God built up into a woman, and he brought her to the man. 23 (6)The man said: 'This one at last is bone from my bones, flesh from my flesh! She shall be called woman, for from man was she taken.'24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and attaches himself to his wife, and the two become one. As a Vocation As a vocation God who created man out of love also calls him to love. This is the fundamental vocation of every human being. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which god loves man. A great saint Catherine of Siena once had a vision that God was offering her many crosses, some small, others large. Anxious to please, she selected the heaviest. "No," said the Lord, " that one is not for you. It is reserved for married couples." Marriage as a vocation aims at nothing less sanctity for the family Love - Corinthians Gods Plan

St. Paul defines love as I may speak in tongues of men or of angels, but if I have no love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 I may have the gift of prophecy and the knowledge of every hidden truth; I may have faith enough to move mountains; but if I have no love, I am nothing 3 I may give all I possess to the needy, I may give my body to be burnt, but if I have no love, I gain nothing by it. 4 Love is patient and kind. Love envies no one, is never boastful, never conceited 5 never rude; love is never selfish, never quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs 6 takes no pleasure in the sins of others, but delights in the truth. 7 There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, its endurance. 8 Love will never come to an end. Prophecies will cease; tongues of ecstasy will fall silent; knowledge will vanish. 9 For our knowledge and our prophecy alike are partial, 10 and the partial vanishes when wholeness comes. 11 When I was a child I spoke like a child, thought like a child, reasoned like a child; but when I grew up I finished with childish things. 12 At present we see only puzzling reflections in a mirror, but one day we shall see face to face. My knowledge now is partial; then it will be whole, like God's knowledge of me. 13 There are three things that last for ever: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of the three is love. St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians also advises us That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. As a Covenant I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and health. I will love you and honour you all the days of my life. As a Sacrament Grace is a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit . In the case of the sacrament of marriage the gift is given to perfect the couples love, strengthen their unity and to help them in their journey through life together. By this grace they help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children. As a Commitment to Serve - Romans 10. Let love of the Christian community show itself in mutual affection. Esteem others more highly than yourself. 11 With unflagging zeal, aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Let hope keep you joyful; in trouble stand firm; persist in prayer; 13 contribute to the needs of God's people, and practise hospitality. 14 Call down blessings on your persecutors--blessings, not curses. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in agreement with one another. Do not be proud, but be ready to mix with humble people. Do not keep thinking how wise you are. 17 Never pay back evil for evil. Let your aims be such as all count honourable. 18 If possible, so far as it lies with you, live at peace with all. 19 My dear friends, do not seek revenge, but leave a place for divine retribution; for there is a text which reads, 'Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay.' Philippians 3 Leave no room for selfish ambition and vanity, but humbly reckon others better than yourselves. 4 Look to each other's interests and not merely to your own. 5 Take to heart among yourselves what you find in Christ Jesus: 6 'He was in the form of God; yet he laid no claim to equality with God, 7 but made himself nothing, assuming the form of a slave. Bearing the human likeness, 8 sharing the human lot, he humbled himself, and was obedient, even to the point of death, death on a cross! 9 Therefore God raised him to the heights and bestowed on him the name above all names, 10 that at

the name of Jesus every knee should bow--in heaven, on earth, and in the depths-- 11 and every tongue acclaim, "Jesus Christ is Lord," to the glory of God the Father.' 12 So you too, my friends, must be obedient, as always; even more, now that I am absent, than when I was with you. You must work out your own salvation in fear and trembling; Session 2 Husband and Wife Relationship

Role of husband and wife - Ephesians 21 BE subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, be subject to your husbands as though to the Lord; 23 for the man is the head of the woman, just as Christ is the head of the church. Christ is, indeed, the saviour of that body; 24 but just as the church is subject to Christ, so must women be subject to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it, 26 to consecrate and cleanse it by water and word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself all glorious, with no stain or wrinkle or anything of the sort, but holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way men ought to love their wives, as they love their own bodies. In loving his wife a man loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own body; on the contrary, he keeps it nourished and warm, and that is how Christ treats the church, 30 because it is his body, of which we are living parts. 31 'This is why' (in the words of scripture) 'a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' 32 There is hidden here a great truth, which I take to refer to Christ and to the church. 33 But it applies also to each one of you: the husband must love his wife as his very self, and the wife must show reverence for her husband. John 12 This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.13 There is no greater love than this, that someone should lay down his life for his friends. Sex, marriage, and divorce - Corinthians 1 Now for the matters you wrote about. You say, 'It is a good thing for a man not to have intercourse with a woman.' 2 Rather, in the face of so much immorality, let each man have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband must give the wife what is due to her, and equally the wife must give the husband his due. 4 The wife cannot claim her body as her own; it is her husband's. Equally, the husband cannot claim his body as his own; it is his wife's. 5 Do not deny yourselves to one another, except when you agree to devote yourselves to prayer for a time, and to come together again afterwards; otherwise, through lack of self-control, you may be tempted by Satan. 6 I say this by way of concession, not command. 7 I should like everyone to be as I myself am; but each person has the gift God has granted him, one this gift and another that. 8 To the unmarried and to widows I say this: it is a good thing if like me they stay as they are; 9 but if they do not have self-control, they should marry. It is better to be married than burn with desire. 10 To the married I give this ruling, which is not mine but the Lord's: a wife must not separate herself from her husband-- 11 if she does, she must either remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband--and the husband must not divorce his wife. 12 To the rest I say this, as my own word, not as the Lord's: if a Christian has a wife who is not a believer, and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her; 13 and if a woman has a husband who is not a believer, and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the husband now belongs to God through his Christian wife, and the wife through her Christian husband. Otherwise your children would not belong to God, whereas in fact they do.

Session 3

Communication in Marriage

Asking the right Questions It goes without saying, that you have chosen each other for the right reasons and that you enjoyed one another's company for a reasonable period of time prior to your engagement. You are able to observe how each of you handle stress in various forms. It is useful to consider this as you are both likely to carry on in reacting in the same manner in your married life. How do you relate to one another friends and relatives? How do react to disappointments and set backs? Each partner has a responsibility to behave properly towards one another in communication. By the way we say and the way we say it, we can determine the course and tone of our conversation. Proverbs 12:18 There is one whose rash words are like swords thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger . Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. In terms of arguments we should have the following in mind. Ephesians 4:29-31 Admitting wrongdoing.

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that you may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you with all malice. Jas 5:16 Confessing wrongdoing and asking forgiveness. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. Matthew 18:21-22 Forgiving

Then Peter came up and said to Him, Lord how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many times as seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say seven times, but seventy seven times. Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:1-2 Unity

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, for bearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Session 4 Ephesians

Christian Family

1 Children, obey your parents; for it is only right that you should.2 'Honour your father and your mother' is the first commandment to carry a promise with it: 3 'that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.' 4 Fathers, do not goad your children to resentment, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. St. Benedict condensed almost all of the spiritual aspect of marriage into a single paragraph. He says "There is good zeal that can lead a married couple to God and to everlasting life. Practice this zeal, then, with most fervent love. Be the first to show respect. Support with patience one another weaknesses, whether they be of body or of character. Compete with one another in showing mutual obedience. Do what you consider useful for each other rather than what is useful for yourself. Love one another with sincere affection and have loving fear of God. Prefer nothing whatever to Christ. For many people Jesus Christ has an irresistible attraction try to be one of them. Session 5 Keys to a successful marriage

With regard to marriage between Catholics and non Catholics it is very important that you understand that your spouse has obligations that must be respected by each. In the case of the Catholic their are very serious commitments such as attending Mass every Sunday and more often if possible, the Children must be brought up to know and love God the family life but also so as not to waste time. The planning should take account of meal times, prayer times, church going and weekends. Families need certainty and planning things brings this certainty. Society does not hold the same values required of a Christian marriage. Christian The individual is committed to Christ The couples marriage is centred on Jesus The goal is unity The love between the couple is based on commitment The Christian ideal is the the family dedicated to know, love and serve God Based on Genesis children as an integral part of the marriage union The home is a place of happiness The end result should be unity, peace, joy in serving God Secular The individuals more likely to be is committed to self The couples can be centred on personal happiness instead of Jesus The goal can be individual satisfaction It may be that love is based on attraction, feelings, circumstances The alternative ideal is personal happiness The alternative is that there are no or few, at convenience The home is a place away from it all The alternative can be the marriage is self centred, with a high divorce rate, and partially or non satisfying

Miscellaneous Summary Galatians 1 If anyone is caught doing something wrong, you, my friends, who live by the Spirit must gently set him right. Look to yourself, each one of you: you also may be tempted.2 Carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. 3 If anyone imagines himself to be somebody when he is nothing, he is deluding himself. 4 Each of you should examine his own conduct, and then he can measure his achievement by comparing himself with himself and not with anyone else; 5 for everyone has his own burden to bear. Matthew 1 When Jesus had finished this discourse he left Galilee and came into the region of Judea on the other side of the Jordan. 2 Great crowds followed him, and he healed them there 3 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause he pleases?' 4 He responded by asking, 'Have you never read that in the beginning the Creator made them male and female?' 5 and he added, 'That is why a man leaves his father and mother, and is united to his wife, and the two become one flesh. 6 It follows that they are no longer two individuals: they are one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.' 7 'Then why', they objected, 'did Moses lay it down that a man might divorce his wife by a certificate of dismissal?' 8 He answered, 'It was because of your stubbornness that Moses gave you permission to divorce your wives; but it was not like that at the beginning. 9 (2907)I tell you, if a man divorces his wife for any cause other than unchaste, and marries another, he commits adultery.' 10 The disciples said to him, 'If that is how things stand for a man with a wife, it is better not to marry.' 11 To this he replied, 'That is a course not everyone can accept, but only those for whom God has appointed it. 12 For while some are incapable of marriage because they were born so, or were made so by men, there are others who have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let those accept who can.' 13 They brought children for him to lay his hands on them with prayer. The disciples rebuked them, 14 but Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me; do not try to stop them; for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these. 15 And he laid his hands on the children, and went on his way. The Christian's armoury Ephesians 10. Finally, find your strength in the Lord, in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour provided by God, so that you may be able to stand firm against the stratagems of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against human foes, but against cosmic powers, against the authorities and potentates of this dark age, against the superhuman forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore, take up the armour of God; then you will be able to withstand them on the evil day and, after doing your utmost, to stand your ground. 14 Stand fast, I say. Fasten on the belt of truth; for a breastplate put on integrity; 15 let the shoes on your feet be the gospel of peace, to give you firm footing; 16 and, with all these, take up the great shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the burning arrows of the evil one. 17 Accept salvation as your helmet, and the sword which the Spirit gives you, the word of God. 18 Constantly ask God's help in prayer, and pray always in the power of the Spirit. To this end keep watch and persevere, always interceding for all God's people. 19 Pray also for me, that I may be granted the right words when I speak, and may boldly and freely make known the hidden purpose of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador--in chains. Pray that I may speak of it boldly, as is my duty.

Peter 1 In the same way you women must submit to your husbands, so that if there are any of them who disbelieve the gospel they may be won over without a word being said, 2 by observing your chaste and respectful behaviour 3 Your beauty should lie, not in outward adornment--braiding the hair, wearing gold ornaments, or dressing up in fine clothes-- 4 but in the inmost self, with its imperishable quality of a gentle, quiet spirit, which is of high value in the sight of God. 5 This is how in past days the women of God's people, whose hope was in him, used to make themselves attractive, submitting to their husbands. 6 Such was Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him master. By doing good and showing no fear, you have become her daughters. 7 In the same way, you husbands must show understanding in your married life: treat your wives with respect, not only because they are physically weaker, but also because God's gift of life is something you share together. Then your prayers will not be impeded. 8 Finally, be united, all of you, in thought and feeling; be full of brotherly affection, kindly and humble. 9 Do not repay wrong with wrong, or abuse with abuse; on the contrary, respond with blessing, for a blessing is what God intends you to receive. As scripture says: 10 If anyone wants to love life and see good days he must restrain his tongue from evil and his lips from deceit; 11 he must turn from wrong and do good, seek peace and pursue it. 12 The Lord has eyes for the righteous, and ears open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is set against wrongdoers. In the end, God will ask each of us if we have made it easier or harder for our spouse to get to Heaven and we have to be ready to answer this question positively.