Director of Faith and Marriage
Assistant Director of Faith and Marriage
What Causes Divorce?
What causes divorce? Studies might point to inadequate communication skills, lack of education, resources, families of origin, and poor effort ….but even the most well-educated, hard-working, “perfectly compatible” couples, each from wonderful upbringings, are not given a divorce-free guarantee.
Talents, skills, treasures, tips, and techniques, great to have, and do come in handy, but there are not what a marriage is built on. Just as a contractor does not construct a house on top of his tool box but on a solid foundation, so too spouses must build their marriage on a solid foundation.
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).
For a marriage or family to weather the storm, to stand the test of time, to overcome all the sick times, bad times, and make it through the rough times… it must be built on God.
But God is not just a song foundation, He is also the one who nourishes and perfects the very love of the spouses. “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in Him will bear much fruit. Because, without me, you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). When we aide in Him, then we are grafted on the vine which then gives us the ability to bear lasting fruit.
Two very important questions to ask for those who want to see their marriage and other marriages not just survive but thrive, are how can we strengthen our foundation in Christ and how can we be more firmly grafted on Him?
This is exactly what we look to answer in our brand new marriage enrichment program called “United in Love, United in Christ.” Inspired by Pope St. John Paul II and his Theology of the Body, this six-session program explores God’s plan and promise for spouses and it provides practical steps in building on what Pope St. John Paul II taught to be the “infallible” and “indispensable” way to a truly united and faithful love.
United in Love is intended for married couples, to be used in small or large group gatherings, at home or in a church parish.
The goals of the program are to:
o Strengthen couples in their love for God and each other.
o Offer greater insight into God’s plan for marriage.
o Provide practical suggestions to assist couples in living out their vocation faithfully and joyfully.
o Encourage development and growth in the prayer lives of the spouses.
o Foster a deeper appreciation and living out of the sacraments.
o Build up parish life and promote the sacramentality of Marriage. As well as to highlight the importance of Mary for marriage and family life and encourage Marian devotion.
The Six sessions are broken down into eight parts:
1. The Opening contains verses from Sacred Scripture to help set the tone and theme of the gathering.
2. Truth for Your Marriage are quotes from the CCC which highlights the Church’s rich teaching for the session’s theme.
3. A Presentation found in the program DVD will give witness to the particular theme of each session.
4. The Group Discussion invites couples to respond to questions, to foster participation and to contribute towards the theme.
5. “Just the Two of You” is private time given to the spouses in order to answer questions that help them reflect on what they are learning.
6. After the couple reflection time, the group is brought back together to be led through the “Plan for Your Marriage.” This section will offer specific ways to help couples apply in their marriage and in their family what they are learning from the session.
7. At the “Closing” of each session you will want to make any finally announcements, thoughts and conclude with a prayer.
8. The last part is a “Social Time” which will help in the building of fellowship in the group.
There are four main components to the “United in Love, United in Christ” program.
1. The Couple’s Guide. Each participant will need their own guide.
2. The United in Love, United in Christ DVD. The DVD set contains the six presentations for the sessions Each presentation is between 20 to 30 minutes.
3. The Leader’s Guide and the Leader’s Guide DVD. These two resources are intended for the couple who will be leading the sessions. The leader’s guide has all the content from the couple’s guide plus added material to assist the leader couple understand more of the heart and objective of each session as well as tips and suggestions on how to lead the group through the different parts of the program. The Leader’s Guide DVD contains a video overview of the program, structure of each session, a sample schedule for the night and 6 short instructional videos that are intended to be viewed before each session.
4. The Parish Guide and the Parish Guide DVD. This resource will help the facilitator couple implement United in Love, United in Christ into a Church Parish. It offers step by step instructions on how to carry out a successful and well-planned event as well as materials and resources to make the preparations and implementation easier.
If you or your parish is interested in offering this program please contact us at (504) 830-3716 or JAngelette@Willwoods.org. You can also place your order today at www.FaithAndMarriage.org.
“If a family is centered on Christ, He will unify and illumine its entire life.”
– Pope Francis