Here you go again. You’re working with a couple who hasn’t darkened the door of a church in years. You guide them through the marriage prep process, preside at their Catholic wedding, then watch as they carry on with their life journey leaving faith by the side of the road.
You see it over and over, and honestly, it can make you feel a little jaded about marriage prep.
The couple has so much on their mind already: wedding decorations, catering, invitations, honeymoon travel arrangements, etc. If their faith isn’t already really important to them, it’s going to get crowded out pretty fast.
As you prepare an engaged couple for marriage, what can you do to keep their Catholic faith alive?
Teach them how to pray.
Sure, they may know the standard Catholic prayers by heart, like the “Our Father” and the “Hail Mary.” But do they know how to pray together, as a couple?
So many people have never really been taught how to pray. That means they’re missing the very foundation for their faith lives. But as a clergy or ministry leader, you can provide that foundation for them.
When a couple prays together, their spiritual lives change. They start to develop a relationship with Christ. And when that happens, their love will mature. They’ll ask deeper questions. And all those things you wish would stick in their heads about faith and marriage? They’ll desire to know it for themselves.
That’s not an overnight process, though. It can start here in marriage prep, but like all good things, learning to pray and growing in faith take time.
So start small. Encourage your couples to start praying together. Better yet, don’t just tell them, show them how.
Yes, praying as a couple can feel awkward at first. That’s okay. (And you can tell them that.) It’s like planting seeds. If they stick with it, those seeds of faith will bloom in their married life with the help of God’s grace.
When you remember that, you’ll find joy and purpose coming back into your marriage prep.
Here are some resources to help you teach couples how to pray.
Joined by Grace: A Catholic Prayer Book for Engaged and Newly Married Couples
A simple, practical guide on ways to pray as a couple. It’s full of texts to pray with and background info on devotions your couples can start working into their life together.
The idea of praying the Rosary every day intimidates most people, so invite couples to try praying just one decade a day with a pocket rosary. That alone can make a powerful impact on their faith.
Novena for engaged couples
Praying a novena together for nine days in a row builds up habits of prayer the easy way, because it takes just a few minutes to do each day. This “Novena for a Happy and Faithful Marriage” was compiled from St. Josemaria Escriva’s writings on marriage in today’s world.