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‘Joy-Filled Marriage’ programme continues in 2021

The Church recognises the marriage of non-Catholics, whether baptised or not. Source: caritasetveritas.com

Introduced in the Archdiocese in January 2020, The ‘Joy-Filled Marriage’ (JFM) programme offers a comprehensive approach to marriage preparation that covers not only the sacramentality and theology of marriage, but the practical life skills necessary to live out the rich Catholic vision of marriage.

This programme incorporates a three-stage approach:

Learning Stage: Couples learn sound principles and a fresh, virtue-based approach to life skills, as well as the Catholic vision of marriage and the beautiful and significant gift of sexuality.

Discuss and Discover Stage: Through a variety of focused questions and activities, couples discuss their relationships, learn about themselves, and begin applying what they have learned.

Plan and Build Stage: Couples recognise topics they may need to discuss at a later date, identify shared goals, and set a unified vision to build a joy-filled marriage. All this is captured in one wonderful keepsake, the Couple’s Journal.

The JFM programme is designed to address some of  the challenges of immediate preparation. The two components of the programme are the ‘Life Skills for Couples’, and ‘God’s Plan for Love’.

Participants are taught to:

  • Appreciate what the Catholic Church teaches about marriage, and why;
  • Embrace the gift of grace that makes a lifelong, joy-filled marriage possible;
  • Explore important topics, identify shared goals, and set concrete plans to build a joy-filled marriage.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions in most areas, the JFM programme is held virtually on Zoom since March 2020.

Among the recent groups were several engaged couples of mixed religions, with some of them attending the sessions enrolled in the RCIA classes. They would have been baptised or received into the Church during the Easter Vigil.

The pandemic allowed for serious introspection as couples were faced with the realities of the ‘new normal’.

Testimonies from participant couples

“In terms of what I learnt in the JFM programme, the easiest thing is to be faithful, that comes almost  natural. I don’t know if this is me or us alone. However, the most  difficult part  is postponing the sexual intercourse until it’s a full expression of the wedding vows, especially with everything we are seeing these days, that’s very difficult,” said one of the engaged couples.

Another couple shared, “The session raised some relevant discussion points that we previously would not have discussed in as much detail prior to this marriage preparation class, especially as an interfaith couple.”

“For me, I haven’t had good role models in marriage growing up, it was  a bit of  disaster and always ended in a disaster, so it was good to see you (married facilitators) share on the programme. You shared your challenges and how you overcame it with Jesus and to see how different in years and time,  a successful marriage is, and it happened with Jesus. It definitely helped me, I will take with me and hopefully one day we could help a younger couple in their journey of marriage,” said another participant.

“The classes were very useful, my wife and I even though we may know the content, the classes pushed us to truly put in practice the theory learnt into our marriage. Especially useful to me, as I used the content to reflect and improve my role as a husband”, were the sentiments expressed by a couple civilly married.

Said another participant: “The level of discussion we had has dramatically increased and there is emphasis now on applying what we have learnt to make our marriage what God wants it to be.”

Another couple shared, “These weeks gave us a lot to talk about and made us aware of a lot of different things. We started to use some of the skills, and we are very much surprised as to how impactful the course has been overall. I personally did not expect it to be so rich.”

Among the comments from the facilitators, there is a great need to:

  • Create a supportive environment before, during and after wedding and marriage.
  • Create a parish database of couples preparing for wedding and marriage, in order to keep in touch with them.
  • Set up parish Family Life Units (FLUs) with a focus on marriage and family life. The AFLC began FLU training on April 17 until May 15.

 

Marriage Preparation classes continue in different areas throughout the Archdiocese. Please contact the AFLC at Phone/WhatsApp 299-1047,

visit our website – aflcrc.org,

or Facebook/Instagram –

@familylifecommission.

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