Resources for Supporting Marriage
Resources especially relevant for British Catholics
This page does not claim to be exhaustive but offers useful links to websites of relevance to British Catholics concerning preparing for, and living out, marriage. It does not set out to list support for family life in the wider sense; Leeds diocese offers a thorough list of resources for this.
• Preparing for
Resources for couples preparing for marriage
If you are preparing to get married in a Catholic Church, you will be expected to attend a preparation course. If you are choosing a course from the list below, please ensure that the minister preparing your wedding recognises the course you have chosen.
Marriage Care offers marriage preparation in co-operation with local Churches and other who are helping couples prepare for Wedding, the day, and Marriage, the life.
An Engaged Encounter weekend is a form of marriage preparation. It is designed to give couples preparing for marriage the chance to talk openly about their expectations and attitudes in such areas as work, money, children, in-laws, sex, leisure time, church and so on. The focus of the weekend is on growth in relationships through communication as a couple. It is not a retreat and there are no group discussions.
The Cana Marriage Preparation course, run by the Chemin Neuf community, covers subjects such as effective communication, how to stay "in love", and looking towards the future. Events take place in Bristol & Somerset.
The Marriage Preparation Course is for any engaged couple who wants to develop strong foundations for a lasting marriage. Over five evenings spent together you will learn important tools that will enable you to make your marriage work. The evenings are very relaxed. There is a meal followed by short talks interspersed with exercises and questions for you to discuss together as a couple. A course developed by from Holy Trinity Brompton, home of the Alpha Course.
FOCCUS is a research-based self-report or diagnostic inventory. It is designed for couples considering committing themselves to a long-term relationship such as the responsibilities of children and marriage, and it is also applicable to couples within the first two years of such a relationship.
A Marriage Encounter Weekend offers couples the opportunity to grow closer. It helps people to refocus on the values that are really important to them and to live more joyful and purposeful lives. It is not aimed at marriages that are in difficulty, because Marriage Encounter does not offer advice or counselling for marriage in crisis.
The Marriage Course is a series of eight sessions designed to help any married couple strengthen their relationship. It's a great opportunity to spend time together as a couple looking at the important issues in your marriage. A course developed by from Holy Trinity Brompton, home of the Alpha Course.
A week reflecting on your life together: time to talk about the things that really matter to you; looking at questions such as: dialogue, forgiveness, sexuality, commitment; allowing the Lord to change the water of our daily lives into the wine of a wedding feast; living together as a community to celebrate the joys of marriage and family. Your children are invited to the whole Cana week and will be looked after by a team of volunteers who will organise their activities, games and relaxation, as part of a programme adapted to their ages and particular needs. Events take place in Bristol & Somerset.
Our vision is that marriage and relationships as God intended will: be experienced in our own lives; become a prophetic statement within churches nationwide; ultimately transform society.
Couples in which each of the partners belongs to a different Christian denomination are often referred to as Interchurch Families, and sometimes have needless difficulties through lack of up-to-date information. The Association of Interchurch Families helps such couples – and those concerned with their pastoral welfare.
REFOCCUS is designed to help you communicate, understand and study your relationship. It has five sections that refocus your attention on the core issues of relationships. These topics touch both the "big picture" and the daily routine of relating. It cannot be used by itself to measure how you relate. It can be a sharply focussed tool to help you affirm what is strong in your relationship and help you explore areas ready for growth and solutions to problems.
An information website from the USA's Catholic Bishops. Much of the contents are relevant for the UK, too.
Marriage Care is a charity operating across England and Wales, from 54 Centres, with 80 counselling locations, in and around the major towns and cities of England and Wales. The Centres are part of one single organisation, sharing a common ethos and purpose. Our volunteers are mainly though not exclusively drawn from within the Catholic community.
This is a Virtual Catholic Resource Centre, available to Christians of all denominations. It is run by Tony and Betty Dady, a married couple, qualified in Christian counselling and spiritual direction. For fourteen years we ran the residential Catholic Marriage Centre in Porthmadog, North Wales, which helped hundreds of married couples find healing and wholeness in their marriages through teaching, counselling and healing prayer. This Centre closed in May 2005, and our ministry is now one in which we will be available to offer friendly and confidential help, support, advice or information on marriage and relationships, by telephone, email, or through this website.
Retrouvaille: A program to Help Couples Heal and Renew their Marriages. Do you feel lost, alone or bored in your marriage? Are you frustrated, hurt or angry with your spouse? Are you constantly fighting? Or, do you simply shut down? Have you thought about separation or divorce? Does talking about it only make it worse? Retrouvaille provides marriage help! Most events are in the Americas, but some courses are held in Ireland.
Women's Aid is the key national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children. We support a network of over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the UK.
The ASDC is an association of local lay self support groups; the purpose of our organisation is to provide Catholics shattered by the trauma of marriage breakdown with the support and care which is often best provided by fellow believers and sufferers. Through shared prayer, discussion, study, retreats, as well as more social outings and entertainments, we grow in the confidence to reassert ourselves in society.We are not a pressure group seeking to change church law; we uphold the sanctity and integrity of marriage as the foundation of human life. We do aim to change attitudes by spreading accurate information on the church's teaching on separation, divorce, annulment and remarriage both among our members and fellow Christians.
The Fertility Education Trust (FET) was set up in 1992 as a non-profit organisation by a group of people interested in promoting fertility education and the understanding of how Natural Family Planning (NFP) works. It was felt at the time that there was a lack of visual teaching material for helping people to understand the delicate workings of their fertility. Director: Colleen Norman, Cardiff.
The Life FertilityCare programme promotes and supports reproductive health and fertility. FertilityCare helps couples to understand their fertility potential before they try to conceive and offers evaluation and treatment for infertility. There are many benefits and it can be learned at any time by a woman during her childbearing years. The Creighton Model FertilityCare System combines family planning with the maintenance of reproductive and gyneacological health. This advanced education model uses Natural Procreative Technology (NaProTechnology) to track, evaluate, and modify the various biological markers identified in the course of a woman's cycle. These markers reveal critical information essential for restoring gyneacological and procreative health.
The Couple to Couple League in Great Britain (CCL-GB) is the British arm of the Couple to Couple League International. The main purpose of CCL is to provide reliable information about Natural Family Planning within the context of the traditional Christian teaching in the area of married sexuality. We teach as couples, and invite married and engaged couples to join our courses.
Fertility UK is the national fertility awareness & NFP service for the UK. The service provides comprehensive and objective information to the general public and health professionals on all aspects of fertility awareness.
NaProTechnology (Natural Procreative Technology) is a new and innovative medical science that works cooperatively with the body's natural procreative cycles, enhancing the chances of procreating naturally and healthily. We seek out the cause of infertility in our patients and look to restore their bodies to a healthy state where natural conception can take place. Artificial fertility treatments ignore the causes of infertility and bypass the problem rather than looking to treat the underlying cause.
NAOMI provides information, authentic literature and a teaching service for learning the Billings Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning. There is no charge for the teaching service as our members are volunteers.
Permission is granted for copying and reprinting the NFP information on this website. Please cite the source of the information and unless otherwise noted, please include the following text: "Used with permission from the NFP Program, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved."
Home is a Holy Place is about seeing, knowing and responding to God's presence at home in our families, in the ordinary events of our daily lives, in the deep joys and sorrows we experience together and in our relationships with one another, whether we are children, siblings, parents, spouses, friends or neighbours.
Mothers' Prayers was formed to help those mothers who wished to pray together for their children and grandchildren and to find the support they needed.
We’re here because parents are the most important person in a child’s life. We know that family life can be challenging and difficult for parents. We support parents, so that you can do your best.
We know that a special relationship can exist between grandchildren and grandparents and we are here to provide support to enable this relationship to flourish. Our services include an advice and information line, welfare benefits advice, publications, support groups, and Grandparent and Toddler groups and mediation. We are actively recruiting new members and training volunteers to expand these services.
Teams is an International Catholic movement for Christian married couples. The basic unit - the Team - consists of 3 to 5 couples together with a priest or other religious as Spiritual Counselor. Teams is about the spirituality of the couple. It is this shared journey that is the essence of Teams.
Couples for Christ (CFC) is a movement intended for the renewal and strengthening of Christian family life. The members have committed themselves to the Lord and to one another so that they may grow in maturity as men and women of God and fulfill their primary vocation of raising up families under the lordship of Jesus Christ and for the service of the Kingdom of God.
Parenting Course from FaithCafé
This very accessible series of 7 talks on video, aims to encourage parents to consider the spirituality of their children. It is a moving and humorous look at, not only how parents can teach their children, but how they can learn from the simplicity of a childlike faith. It can be used as an excellent way to encourage parents to take a deeper look at their own journey of faith. Three of the talks look at Baptism, Reconciliation and the Mass.
A platform for churches and other agencies, National Marriage Week is born from mainstream Christian figures and organisations, so it will always have a Christian distinctive - while welcoming, accommodating and being much the weaker without the active participation of others.
The Challenge Team UK is a group of young volunteers who educate teenagers about healthy sexuality. Challenge Team UK presents its message from a common sense and health perspective, without any religious references.
The Silver Ring Thing Programme for Small Groups (SRT434) provides a fantastic framework to deliver a 21st Century presentation on sexual purity and abstinence. It is specially designed to train young people using DVD clips, group discussion and bible studies to communicate the risks associated with teen sexual activity, social pressures and the blessings of sexual abstinence. Those who go through the programme will be motivated and better prepared to take a strong stand for sexual abstinence during difficult and tempting situations.
Pure In Heart is an Irish youth community dedicated to living the true beauty of sexuality. We believe that sexuality is a gift to be treasured and respected, finding its full expression in marriage. This frees us to be the people we are created to be, to love properly with our bodies. This is the virtue of chastity.
A useful US-based website for young people with a Catholic perspective.
The vast majority of young people hold very real and deep aspirations for having a long-term and meaningful relationship, stable and happy family life that is probably marriage in their adult lives. However, it has been recognised that less than 5% of today's young people have ever had the opportunity to hold a detailed and open conversation with a parent, relative, teacher or adult on the subject of their relationships. Scant provision is, therefore, made to prepare young people to make the biggest decisions in their lives. Explore allows young people to enter dialogue with couples who are willing to speak about their marriages. "Learning by experience" methodologies are employed by Explore, through Workshops, Half Day Conferences and Class Sessions. The task and boundary of the dialogue between the young people and the couples are crucial and the roles of the participants are clear, applied, regularly revisited and owned by the participants.
Our manual for teachers and educators (KS3, KS4 and 16+), Foundations for a Good Life, is available as a free download from this site. We will also work with schools and educational establishments in facilitating the work.