Engaged Encounter Part II: Three to Get Married?

Group Discussion Session

Here's What I Think

Gives an informal setting for the couples to discuss the many concerns that arise in their minds, including questions about birth control, finances, career, in-laws, pre-marital sex, inter-faith marriage, etc. This free flowing exchange of information and opinions often helps clear the air on many misconceptions about the teaching and policy of the Church.

Questions were submitted anonymously and selected at random to be asked and answered. I sked something like the following.

"Why hasn't there been any mention of the sacramentality of marriage? Why has Christ's name been used so infrequently? Why has Scripture been quoted so sparingly? Why has the Christian character of this retreat been so timid? What's so Catholic about this encounter?"

The answer I got was thoroughly unsatisfying. It was some evasive bunk about respecting other faiths. You can respect other faiths while presenting marriage as a sacrament. In fact, someone of another faith might be inspired by such descriptions to learn more. Beyond my question there was absolutely no mention of Church teachings.

Wedding: The Beginning of Our Sacrament

Our Love is a Sign of God's Love

In this presentation we become aware that we become a Sacrament of the Church. Examples are shared in beauty of daily living our Sacrament. Through our lived examples there is a greater understanding of "A Wedding is a Day, a Marriage is a Lifetime" and how it is personified. We are church and are dependent on moral and spiritual support of the people of our faith communities who touch our lives.

In the Catholic faith, marriage is a sacrament. A sacrament is God's presence and love for us revealed in a visible actioin or relationship. When we see a married couple's love, we believe that God is present there. The couple become ministers of the sacrament to each other and mirror God's love through daily acts of loving, serving and forgiving.

  1. I first realized that I loved you when…I first realized that you loved me when…What made me realize that out love was meant for marriage?
  2. In which of the following areas have you helped me experience God's love? When?
    • Your openneswith me
    • The way you listen to me
    • The way you respond out of consideration for me
    • The way you heal/forgive my shortcomings
    • The way you treat me
  3. How do I feel about God being part of our marriage and us being a sign of God's love?
  4. Why is being married in the Church important to me?
  5. What does becoming a sacrament with you mean to me?
  6. How can we make visible our sacramental love to others – family, friends, Church

So it was Sunday when they finally uttered the word "sacrament". At this point, we were tired from all he writing and talking and weary of the repetitive format. Our receptiveness was certainly not appropriate for such a serious topic.


Are We Ready?

In this presenation, we begin to understand that OUR Sacrament is a call to become part of the Church. The team illustrates the difference between preparation for a wedding day (engagement) and preparation for a lifetime of marriage (betrothal).

This talk encourages couples to:

  1. Assess where we are in our preparation for a Sacramental marriage;
  2. State what we need to do individually and as a couple to prepare for marriage;
  3. Affirm each other, Christ and the Church and our pledge to work on our relationship.

Betrothal is a public pledge of love and commitment to take practical, concrete steps to prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage. Betrothal is a deeper part of engagement, one that focuses on your own relationship and how it realtes to God, Chrch, and family.

If you are ready to make your pledge, you may wish to begin this way:

"Because I love you, I plan to work on deepening our realtionship between now and our wedding day by…"

You may also wish to focus on the following:

  • Our relationship needs to develop more in the areas of…
  • Your strength is important to me in the areas of..

If you are not ready tp make a Betrothal Pledge, you may wish to begin in one of these ways:

  • My truest and deepest way to love you is to be open and honest and tell you…
  • Although I care for you, I cannot commit myself to this deeper preparation…
  • I think we need more time and this is what I would like to see us work at…