The following seven steps have been carefully selected to help establish a strong foundation for your marriage. You can expect the entire process to last approximately nine months, which is to your benefit! Investing in your marriage before your vows will help equip you for the lifetime ahead. Prefer to complete your preparation in Spanish? Visit alianzadeamorphx.org.
Step 1: Meet with your Pastor
When: BEFORE setting your wedding date
After you become engaged, contact your pastor right away to set up a meeting. During this initial meeting, your pastor will talk you through the marriage preparation process. He will also provide you with the information you need to complete Steps 2-6. Taking the time now to set a schedule to complete each step will help you stay organized as you plan your wedding and prepare for your marriage!
Step 2: Take a Marriage Preparation Inventory
When: As soon as possible after meeting with your pastor
After meeting with your pastor, you will complete a Marriage Preparation Inventory, a series of questions designed to facilitate a good conversation about goals, habits, expectations, and values. The bride and groom each complete their own survey. Together, you will be given a personalized profile of your relationship’s strengths and weaknesses. This inventory is an important starting place for communication and an excellent map of any issues that need affirmation, time and attention, or problem solving.
Step 3: Attend a Married Life Skills Workshop
When: Seven to eight months before the wedding
A variety of Marriage Life Skills Workshops are designed to fine tune practical skills for your marriage, like conflict resolution, decision-making, financial management, and communication, to build on the knowledge you gained from your Marriage Inventory. To best accommodate your busy schedules, you may choose from a weekend retreat or recurring evening meetings. Your priest or deacon may also have suggestions as to which program meets your specific needs.
Choose from one of the following:
- Parish-based Program – varies from parish to parish. Ask your parish coordinator for information.
- Catholic Engaged Encounter – a weekend retreat in English or Spanish at Mt. Claret Retreat Center. Register at ArizonaCEE.org.
- Love for Life Engaged Weekend – Diocesan commuter retreat for engaged couples. Register by creating an account at ourcovenantoflovephx.org.
- Loving Anew Seminar – Diocesan commuter retreat for couples marrying after an annulment or the death of a spouse. Register by creating an account at ourcovenantoflovephx.org.
Step 4: Attend God’s Plan for a Joy-filled Marriage
When: Six to seven months before the wedding
God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage is a program based on Scripture and St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body.” It will teach you what the Church teaches about marriage and sexuality, and why She teaches this beautiful vision of marriage. Register by creating an account at ourcovenantoflovephx.org.
Step 5: Natural Family Planning (NFP) Instruction
When: Four to six months before the wedding
To ensure you have the tools to plan your family effectively and in accord with God’s plan for marriage, you will have the opportunity to learn Natural Family Planning by taking a full course in an approved method of NFP. The Diocese of Phoenix offers classes in more than 30 locations across Arizona. To search for classes by city, parish, or method and to register for classes on-line, visit phxnfp.org.
Step 6: Take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation
When: Before the wedding as needed
The Church invites all Catholics to prepare spiritually before marriage or receiving any sacrament by making frequent use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Step 7: Final meeting with your Pastor
When: Six to eight weeks before the wedding
Plan the liturgy for your wedding day, including readings, music, some optional prayers, and other cultural traditions.