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Marriage Preparation Program

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My "ideal" Marriage Preparation Program will take place over a one month period before the wedding is to take place. It will be composed of four private sessions and three group sessions. Each session will be approximately two hours long and will be led by the Church Priest and the group sessions will have a speaker proficient on that weeks topic.

Session I:

This will be a private introductory session in which the Priest can learn about the couple and the couple can learn about each other. The Priest will explain what is expected in a Catholic marriage; the couple will explain their expectations from the marriage (children, careers, home life, etc.). Some questions asked will be: What can you do to prepare for life together? How do you envision growing as individuals and as a couple? Do you know your own and each other's strengths and weaknesses? Have you discussed the challenges that you will face as you make the transition to a long-term emotionally committed relationship? Also, the couple will take a FOCCUS inventory. This will enable us to design a program specifically for this couple. Also, we will help give the couple insight of what the program is about and what it plans to achieve. We will also learn what the couple hopes to gain from the program.

Session II:

Will be a group session. The first hour will be to discuss children in marriage. We will have a speaker come in and discuss child raising techniques. The couples will then split into groups and work on a group project. They will be given hypothetical situations and must come up with a way to handle it. The group leader and speaker will then discuss and go over each groups way of handling the situation. In the second hour, we will discuss Natural Family Planning. The couples in the session will learn what NFP is and how to utilize it. We will inform the couples that Natural Family Planning refers to natural methods used for avoiding or achieving pregnancy which are based on a couple's awareness of the woman's naturally occurring times of fertility and infertility. The speaker will then go over the benefits of NFP: Calls for mutual responsibility with regard to family planning by both husband and wife, allows married couples to live their sexual relationship within natural law as well as within moral and religious teaching, and assists both husband and wife in fulfilling the true principles of responsible parenthood. They will be given the proper materials and other items that are needed to engage in NFP. Also, we will inform the group of other natural methods such as the ovulation method and the Sympto-Thermal Method.

Session III:

Will be a private session. The session will begin with what the couple had learned from the previous group session, which method they feel they will employ and their personal thoughts on it. We will follow up by discussing financial planning. The couple will both give their thoughts and ideas on how they plan to handle household finances and if disagreements occur, the Priest will help them come to a happy medium. Also, in this session the Priest will help them discuss planning the Church part of the Wedding. What readings must be selected and who will do them, who will carry up the sacraments during communion, and other aspects of the religious ceremony.

Session IV:

Will be a group session. A speaker will come in and discuss financial planning. Budgeting, savings, spending, joint-accounts, and investments will all be discussed. The speaker will go over each part of financial planning in detail. He will give them ways to set up retirement funds, the best way to set up an efficient and personalized budget, how to get involved in the stock market, saving to buy a house or set up a college fund for future children. He will also go over the idea of joint accounts and will also discuss alternate ways of investing and saving for the future. In the second half of the class, each couple will be given hypothetical lives (salaries, kids, housing, bills, etc.) and must come up with a budget accordingly, as well as the best ways to invest the money for the future. The speaker will then review each hypothetical budget and critique it. The couple will be given papers on each form of investing and everything else they have learned in this session. Through this session we hope the couples will learn to enhance their relationship by communicating more effectively about money, keep money in perspective in the relationship, share their dreams and turn them into attainable goals, understand the many areas of financial planning and how they work together, and design a personal financial



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