Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Jean Gonzalez

2/18/2008 (6 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 (6 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

Undeniably cute rendition of classic children's song is sure to put a smile on your face Watch

Image of Josie sings an adorable song to her father.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the midst of war, terror and disease, it's important to take the time to smile and remember that some of the world is good. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - An adorable toddler melts hearts with her spunky rendition of classic children's song "Old McDonald." ... continue reading


Mother of quadruplets tragically dies without ever seeing her four miracles Watch

Image of Erica Morales, 36-years-old, tragically passed away hours after giving birth to quadruplets.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Just hours after giving birth to quadruplets, Arizona mother, Erica Morales, died. "She never got to hold them, she never got to see them," cried Morales' cousin, Nicole Todman to Fox10. "It is so hard to know she fought so hard for her children. She will never get to ... continue reading


Archbishop of San Francisco warns of coming war on marriage Watch

Image of The Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, warned of a growing war on the

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On January 16, the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, warned of a growing war on the "essential meaning of marriage," as defining "a bond which unites a man and a woman to each other and to any children who come from their union." LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


One... two... three babies?! New mother gets shocking surprise in ultrasound Watch

Image of Boe, Mika and Hope love to cuddle. (Magic Moments SWNS.com)

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Imagine hoping for one child, and being told you're pregnant with triplets; this was the case for British mother of now four, Melanie Thornton. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Melanie had a happy life with just her 13-year-old daughter and husband. Her husband, ... continue reading


Do you know what your kids are putting online? Here are 30 text acronyms that your teen DOES NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW Watch

Image of Teens have an entire code for keeping parents clueless about their activities.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In this new age of easy, fast and discrete communication the English language has rapidly evolved in a way that may leave many older people at a loss. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Acronyms rule the digital airwaves, being all important in the world of ... continue reading


14 years later: Extreme and horrific child abuse victim, Lauren Kavanaugh, thrives Watch

Image of Lauren Kavanaugh, now 21-years-old, attends college and plans on becoming a counselor to help those going through similar situations as hers.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Routinely raped and tortured, Lauren Kavanaugh was forced to live in a 4ft by 9ft closet for five years of her life until she was rescued in 2001. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Now 21-years-old, Lauren lives the "normal" life of a college student aspiring to make ... continue reading


Should marriage be defined by the legal system? The Supreme Court may aim to change the textbook definition of marriage Watch

Image of The U.S. Supreme Court may decide on same-sex marriage, as early as June of this year.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What is the definitive definition of marriage? Is it only a union before God between men and women, or is it extended to same-sex couples as well? This is a question that may be legally decided by the Supreme Court, which is set to decide soon if it will take up ... continue reading


The Reality of Marriage: The Lifelong Union of One Man and One Woman Watch

Image of

By Deacon Frederick K. Bartels

Marriage is a unique reality. There is no possibility of redefining it, shaping it in a new and essentially different way, or altering its nature, since marriage is authored by God and woven into the fabric of human life. The reality of marriage is the permanent union ... continue reading


A dream come true: Paraplegic woman remarkably walks down the wedding aisle Watch

Image of [Photo Courtesy of Disney Fine Art Photography and Video]

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Walking down the aisle, adorned in the prettiest wedding dress, reaching the arms of your Prince Charming is every girl's dream come true. For Tami Martin, this dream appeared to be only a fairytale when she was told she would never walk again. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


The Quad Squad arrives: Viral quadruplets enter the world Watch

Image of Ashley Gardner was completely shocked to learn she would be having four babies.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ashley and Tyson Gardner welcomed to the world their, already viral, quadruplets. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Indie, Esme, Scarlett and Evangeline, better known as the Gardner Quad Squad, made their entrance on Sunday, December 28. Each weighing in at about ... 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, Hebrews 10:1-10
1 So, since the Law contains no more than a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 40:2, 4, 7-8, 10, 11
2 He pulled me up from the seething chasm, from the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:31-35
31 Now his mother and his brothers arrived and, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 27th, 2015 Image

St. Angela Merici
January 27: When she was 56, Angela Merici said "No" to the Pope. She was ... 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