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.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Marriage & Family

Husband and wife, married for 75 years, die in each other's arms Watch

Image of The Toczkos were the children of Polish immigrants, started dating as youngsters. Love and marriage and five children followed afterwards.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Boyfriend and girlfriend from the age of eight, 96-year-old Jeanette Toczko, and her 95-year-old husband, Alexander died in each other's arms a few hours apart. The San Diego couple, who had been married for 75 years, was both in ill health and made their ... continue reading


Gang of teens riot inside Georgia Walmart causing thousands of dollars in damage Watch

Image of The teens pulled a man out of his wheelchair.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Wal-Mart in Georgia was ransacked by a mob led by a teenage boy, now in police custody. Identified as Kharron Green, 17, the boy was caught on video during the Sunday riot inside the Wal-Mart, along with others he refused to identify. Police are searching for Green's ... continue reading


Historically important religious discovery found while family renovates living room Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During an Israeli family's living room renovation, they discovered an ancient ritual bath under the floor. Calling the Israel Antiquities Authority, the bath was identified as a mikveh, which was used by the Jews for their ritual immersions. This suggests there were ... continue reading


4 out of 10 children in the US exposed to abuse and violence last year Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Although some types of violence against children appear to be on a decline, children remain the most victimized sector in the U.S. population, as found by a recent study. Through phone interviews, researchers determined the level of exposure children face on abuse and ... continue reading


Marriage is an Appetizer

Image of

By Bill Donaghy

I was asked not long ago to share what I thought might be the three most powerful thoughts from Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. These three things continually fill me with wonder and awe, and are becoming the tripod on which I stand to view God, life, and ... continue reading


SHOCKING: Woman confesses to killing her EIGHT newborns and hiding the corpses in her home Watch

Image of Dominique Cottrez faces life imprisonment for murdering eight newborn babies.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dominique Cottrez, a 51-year-old French nurse, has confessed to killing her eight newborn babies, fearing they were from her incestuous relationship with her father. During her trial, she revealed the stories of murder she vividly remembers, dubbed the worst ... continue reading


SUPREME COURT RULES GAY 'MARRIAGE' LEGAL IN ALL 50 STATES Watch

Image of

By (CNA/EWTN News)

In a wide-reaching decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has declared that same-sex "marriage" is a constitutional right and that states must recognize same-sex unions contracted as marriages in other states. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - By a vote of 5-4, the court ... continue reading


Family terrified to move into dream home after deadly threats made from 'The Watcher' Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A couple is now afraid to move into the house they bought for $1.3 million after receiving threatening letters signed by "The Watcher," three days after they closed the sale. Now, they are suing the previous homeowners for withholding information about the creepy house ... continue reading


'This is how God takes evil and turns it into something wonderful': How one woman's Charleston experience reinforced God's love Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Almost a week has passed since the Charleston church shooting and one mother decided to bring her three young sons to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Kayla Robinson Hall wanted to show her children that despite the terror and pain people ... continue reading


Obama to give eulogy at funeral service of Charleston church shooting victim Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama is confirmed to deliver a eulogy at the funeral of the late South Carolina state senator and pastor of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church killed last week, according to the White House. Along with the president, Vice President Joe ... 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, Genesis 28:10-22
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 3-4, 14-15
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:18-26
18 While he was speaking to them, suddenly one of the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 6th, 2015 Image

St. Maria Goretti
July 6: Born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890; her ... 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