Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Jean Gonzalez

2/18/2008 (7 years ago)

The Florida Catholic (www.thefloridacatholic.org)

ORLANDO, Fl (The Florida Catholic) - "Wedding is a day, but a marriage is a lifetime." Is that phrase captured by the church's Engaged Encounter marriage preparation program a cliché or an overlooked notion? According to an author and freelance speaker with more than three decades of experience with marriage preparation, the Catholic Church works to ensure that phrase is canon among engaged couples.

PRIORITIES - Don't make the mistake of putting all your attention into the details of the wedding. Preparation for a lifelong marriage, both spiritually and in practical terms, should be your main focus during your engagement. (Freedigitalimages.net)

PRIORITIES - Don't make the mistake of putting all your attention into the details of the wedding. Preparation for a lifelong marriage, both spiritually and in practical terms, should be your main focus during your engagement. (Freedigitalimages.net)

Highlights

By Jean Gonzalez

The Florida Catholic (www.thefloridacatholic.org)

2/18/2008 (7 years ago)

Published in Marriage & Family


"I think marriage as a sacrament gives a much deeper meaning to the wedding, that it is not just a beautiful ceremony," said Susan Vogt, of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers, headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. "When couples enter into the sacrament of marriage, they are making a commitment that is permanent, an exclusive commitment of love and doing that in a public way. The publicness draws on the support of the community of faith."

The Catholic Church requires all couples married in the church to do marriage preparation. Vogt said couples -- whether they are Catholic or not -- can become victims of the secularized "disposable culture." Marriages -- like razors, pens, diapers and lighters -- can be thrown at the wayside when they no longer work.

Commitment for life

According to the National Marriage Project of Rutgers University in New Jersey, the overall divorce rate in America remains close to 50 percent of all marriages, but the rate has been dropping gradually over the past two decades. The risk of divorce is far below 50 percent for educated people going into their first marriage, and lower still for people who wait to marry at least until their mid-20s, haven't lived with many different partners prior to marriage, or are strongly religious and marry someone of the same faith," according to the National Marriage Project's "Ten Things to Know" series.

"It is important for couples to understand marriage as a lifelong commitment, that it is a vocation and it is a lifelong vocation," Vogt said.

Vogt and her husband have been married 35 years and led marriage preparation programs for 30 years. She estimates they have prepared more than 5,000 couples for marriage. Times have changed, and so have couples. One thing that has held true: Couples who don't understand the need for marriage preparation say couples have been marrying for years ... isn't it just natural?

"What we like to say to that is you don't have to make all your own mistakes. There are things you can learn that not everyone has to learn through trial and error," Vogt said. "Millions of couples have gone before you and figured out some things that make marriage more loving, more lasting, more meaningful. They have human wisdom to share. ... There comes a time when all couples face disillusionment and stress in their lives. Things might be nice and all wonderful now, but when you start facing disagreements it's difficult to resolve the complexities of life if you begin to question if this was really the right person. They have to realize the commitment of love in the marriage."

Upholding Catholic values

When asked a difference between couples throughout the last 30 years, the first item Vogt reflected on was dual careers -- both members of the couple working. The situation requires negotiation about many things, such as child rearing. Should the wife quit work and stay home or should it be the husband? Will they both work and settle on day care? Should it be in-home day care or at a facility?

"There are many different permutations of how will it work out," Vogt said. "And these are issues that those in marriage preparation must recognize. We can't tell couples the one best way to do it, but open their eyes to the many possibilities and support them to hold up the Church's values so they can make wise decisions."

Dual careers also pose marital challenges, Vogt said. While couples at home deal with the day-in and day-out necessities of a relationship -- from chores to bills to children -- the work environment offers the individuals a fulfillment and energy outside the home.

"Very often they are rubbing shoulders with coworkers of the opposite sex in their professional lives. It is very tempting to find fulfillment and pizzazz in a new relationship without dull parts of marriage," Vogt said. "There is bound to be more temptation, unless the marriage is very strong and sound."

Thirty years ago cohabitation and divorce were not common scenarios faced in marriage preparation. Today those are two prevalent realities. There are more couples of different faith backgrounds getting married, and couples are older, with the average age of the groom at 27 and the bride at 26.

Vogt said marriage preparation is not just about "imparting knowledge." The sharing of stories has a significant role. Married couples sharing experiences of their own trials and errors to impart what worked well and caution what they did wrong so newly married couples don't make the same mistakes.

"Our purpose is not to empty into them all the right answers or important information but to help them know the Church is there to support them, not just throughout preparation time but throughout the whole marriage."

Resources

The Web site foryourmarriage.org, which is offered by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, offers daily marriage tips written by Susan Vogt. Below are a few examples:

•Before insisting on having your way, try to get  in your spouse's skin. Look at the problem through his/her eyes.

•Don't be too proud to ask for help. The wise  couple seeks help as soon as they notice something is amiss.

•Dates don't always have to be in the evening.  Consider a lunch date. It's cheaper than dinner and if your kids are in school you don't need a babysitter.

To get tips e-mailed to you daily, sign up at susanvogt.net.

For more information on the National Marriage Project, visit www.marriage.rutgers.edu.

---

This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of The Florida Catholic (www.thefloridacatholic.org), official newspaper of the dioceses of Orlando, Venice, St. Petersburg, Palm Beach and Pensacola-Tallahassee, and the Archdiocese of Miami.



Comments


More Marriage & Family

The World Meeting of Families is coming: Here's what you can learn from the event Watch

Image of

By CNA/EWTN News

The World Meeting of Families event next month in Philadelphia aims to lead families to know their importance as a gift from God and to help them open their hearts to Jesus Christ, a priest involved in the event has said. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The family "is ... continue reading


Twin Strangers meet online and discover shocking similarities Watch

Image of Jennifer and Ambra after enhancing their similarities.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The website twinstrangers.com brought together 23-year-old Ambra and 33-year-old Jennifer in an astonishing doppleganger encounter. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - 26-year-old Niamh Geaney joined forces with two friends to work on a project called Twin Strangers. ... continue reading


Pope Francis to allow all Catholic priests to forgive abortions Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During the upcoming Holy Year, Pope Francis will allow all priests to forgive women who seek absolution and have had abortions. The pope proceeds with his "year of mercy" by opening up this opportunity. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - By expanding the number of ... continue reading


Special needs students hope they will be remembered during Pope's U.S. visit Watch

Image of A group representing Catholic students with intellectual disabilities is hoping a U.S. visit from Pope Francis could spark nothing less than a renaissance in Catholic education.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

A group representing Catholic students with intellectual disabilities is hoping a U.S. visit from Pope Francis could spark nothing less than a renaissance in Catholic education. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN) - "We hope that Pope Francis will further open up the ... continue reading


Hero teen keeps dad alive in the wilderness for two days Watch

Image of Charlie and David Finlayson pose for a picture at the hospital.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

David Finlayson and his 13-year-old son Charlie have a stronger bond now after the teen heroically saved his father from death following a terrible hiking accident. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The Finlayson father-son duo were on a two-week backpacking ... continue reading


7 important things couples need to discuss before marriage Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Most people think the wedding is perfect if everything they had planned for the event was successfully enacted - the dress, the entourage, the food, the music, etc. Couples spend a lot of time, effort and money just to make sure they will have that magical ceremony ... continue reading


One mother's plea sparks a life-changing organization for families in need Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When families are devastated with unfortunate life events, children are sometimes positioned to become a collateral damage in an often overburdened foster care system. Safe Families for Children provides a much proper alternative. MUNTILUNLPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic ... continue reading


Chinese welder builds life-size Transformer for son Watch

Image of Wang Liansheng stands on his 16-foot-tall model of autobot Bumblebee.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After his son requested a bigger model of Bumblebee, the famous yellow autobot from the blockbuster hit Transformers, one father went above and beyond to create a 16-foot-tall model. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - When asked for a bigger Transformer toy, ... continue reading


Unusual book of prophetic warnings mysteriously appears at Philidelphia residents' doors Watch

Image of 'The Great Controversy' sent to 700,000 residents free-of-charge and unsolicited.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Costing them nothing, Philadelphia residents have received their own copies of "The Great Controversy," a Christian book analyzing the prophetic warnings of the Biblical end of times. The Christian book company was reportedly in ties with another company to print and ... continue reading


Viral video shows 5-year-old boy's heartwarming reaction to mother's pregnancy Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A five-year-old boy living in Scunthorpe, UK expressed an adorable reaction when his mother, Sarah Bromby, told him he would be a big brother soon.  MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) -The Blaze reports that the enthusiastic little boy asked his mother, "Is ... continue reading


All Marriage & Family News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11
1 About times and dates, brothers, there is no need ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2015 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter