Marriage Ministries recently gave me the opportunity to demo their Catholic Marriage Prep Class AND their Natural Family Planning Class—both of which are available exclusively online. Below is my review.
Marriage is easily and often misrepresented in our society today, not necessarily always as something bad, but certainly often as something far short of the glorious elevated status it is meant to have in the Christian context. Two people professing their love for one another in front of family and friends is a nice gesture, and it may even be a good enough excuse to throw a party; but Christian marriage is meant to be even more than that. It’s the moment when two people become one, each no longer living for himself (or herself), but truly binding themselves before God from now on to live for the sake of the other—to do everything with the intention of helping the other get to Heaven.
The above excerpt is from a post  I wrote a while back on the beauty of the Christian Sacrament of Matrimony. There is so much more that could be said on the awesomeness of Christian marriage. In fact, there is so much more that needs to be said, especially to couples preparing for the Sacrament. For this reason, Canon Law actually requires that couples within the Church be prepared by their pastor:
Pastors of souls are obliged to ensure that their own church community provides for Christ’s faithful the assistance by which the married state is preserved in its Christian character and develops in perfection. This assistance is to be given principally:
- …by preaching, by catechetical instruction
- …by personal preparation for entering marriage, so that the spouses are disposed to the holiness and the obligations of their new state…
…It is the responsibility of the local Ordinary to ensure that this assistance is duly organized. If it is considered opportune, he should consult with men and women of proven experience and expertise.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of marriage prep classes. Unfortunately it is all too common for instructors of these classes to sweep Catholic teaching under the rug as not important, or to sidestep really talking about the important issues altogether.
That’s why it’s great to see that something like CatholicMarriagePrepClass.com is available to couples.
Once signing up, couples are given access to an online course that they can complete in their own timeframe. Upon completion, you are given a certificate, and they guarantee your money back if, for whatever reason, your priest/deacon does not accept it (though sound advice would be to get their go-ahead before signing up for the program!)
There are a lot of reasons why couples could benefit from this program. Some couples are separated geographically before their wedding, which makes it hard to attend classes together. Others have schedules that make it difficult to get to the classes offered by their local parish or diocese. But the reason I personally am most impressed by Catholic Marriage Prep Class is because it allows couples to attend a class that does not compromise Catholic teaching—which I think is what every couple preparing for a Christian marriage deserves.
Marriage Ministries also offers an online course on the Billings Method of Natural Family Planning. It only takes about three hours to go through and at the end you have the option of being connected to a certified instructor who will get you started and help you through the charting process. The course was wonderfully done and I found it very informative and easy to understand. If you’re interested in NFP (or if your diocese requires you take a course as part of your marriage preparation), I highly recommend Marriage Ministries’ online course!