Because Christian marriage is a sacrament, the Catholic Church wants couples to be well-prepared. Dioceses and parishes offer marriage preparation to help couples develop a better understanding of the sacrament; to evaluate and deepen their readiness to live married life, and to gain insights into themselves as individuals and as a couple.
Marriage preparation programs take different forms. Some couples attend a weekend retreat; others are matched with a "sponsor couple"; and others participate in a series of marriage preparation classes offered by their parish or diocese. The important thing for engaged couples to keep in mind as they check numerous items off their pre-wedding "to-do" list is the well-known adage, "Your wedding lasts a day, but your marriage lasts a lifetime." The Church encourages couples to invest time and energy into the all-important work of preparing for their married life together.
For couples planning to marry in the Catholic Church, please contact your parish priest six to nine months before your anticipated wedding date to begin the marriage preparation process.
Other USCCB resources on marriage preparation: