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)

Article 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

From Living Large to Putting God in Charge

Image of

By Catholic Match

The year was 1990 and Bob was, in his own words, living large. The then 29-year-old had graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee several years earlier and spent over a year on the pro golf tour. He went to build a thriving CPA firm and thought himself to be in ... continue reading


Devil at work! Infidelity experts says adultery is good for marriage - if you don't get caught Watch

Image of Since launching in Canada on Valentine's Day in 2002, the adultery Web site has attracted more than 24 million members in 37 countries. South Korea joined last week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ashley Madison is a controversial Web site that enables married men and women to have xtramarital affair. Based in Canada, Noel Biderman is forthright about the right of the married to have affairs -- providing they don't get caught. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


The Path to Happiness for a Young Widow

Image of Bruce and Lauren are now happily married!

By Catholic Match

It's been said the hand of God works by way of coincidences, keeping Him invisible as He illuminates our path. That's how it worked for Bruce and Lauren, and how they get their first sense that something special was afoot. Lauren, 54-years-old, was recently widowed ... continue reading


A Marriage Built on a Firm Rock

Image of Ed and Francis both had great success thanks to CatholicMatch!

By Catholic Match

Frances already had an immensely positive experience with marriage when she came to CatholicMatch. A widow, she had great memories of her years with her late husband and if another marriage was to happen it would have to be on a firm foundation. I had a wonderful ... continue reading


Easy homemade play dough recipes, for the whole family to enjoy.

Image of Home made Play Doh is so much fun.

By Wendy C. R.N., BA

Every child loves to play with play dough and making your own play dough with your child can be fun. Here are three easy recipes for great homemade play dough. Kids are amazed when they learn how easy it is to make play dough wit this activity. The dough can be ... continue reading


Have a Great Family Easter Egg Hunt. Instead of just candy, why not fill your eggs with clues or puzzle pieces, or all sorts of things!

Image of Children love Easter Egg Hunts. Lets make it special this year.

By Wendy C. R.N., BA

Have an Family Easter Egg Hunts this year and fill the eggs with more than just candy. Here are 31 ideas to fill them with, and have fun! LOS ANGELES, CA - Need a fun idea to spruce up your Easter Egg Hunt? Instead of just candy, why not fill your eggs with clues or ... continue reading


Former 'house of horrors' abortion clinic to become emergency food, support center for poor families Watch

Image of The Philadelphia clinic was described as a chaotic

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is such a thing as a second chance. The notorious Delaware clinic in which abortionist Kermit Gosnell performed late-term abortions and executed children after birth will see a second life as an emergency food and support center for poor families. Lutheran ... continue reading


Hey dads! Pope Francis has an awesome message for you! Watch

Image of Pope Francis follows the example of St. Joseph, and blesses a child. Our clergy are father figures too.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On the feast day of St. Joseph, Pope Francis spoke directly to dads, encouraging them to follow the example of St. Joseph and remain close to their children. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Yesterday was the feast day of St. Joseph and Pope Francis used the ... continue reading


Church must reconcile divorce and remarriage, German cardinal says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Church needs to find a middle ground that does not destroy or abandon doctrine in regards to divorce and civil remarriages, Cardinal Walter Kasper says. The church must offer a "renewed" interpretation of Church teaching in order to help those whose ... continue reading


How Republicans won the fight over abortion in Texas Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Just twenty abortion clinics remain open in Texas following an antiabortion bills that was passed into law in July of 2013. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - House Bill 2, which was passed in November, requires that all abortion clinics close by Sept. 1, 2014, unless ... 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 1:1--2:2
1 In the beginning God created heaven and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11
5 My birthright, my cup is Yahweh; you, you alone, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 28:1-10
1 After the Sabbath, and towards dawn on the first ... Read More

Reading 2, Genesis 22:1-18
1 It happened some time later that God put Abraham to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 19th, 2014 Image

St. Alphege
April 19: Archbishop and "the First Martyr of Canterbury." He was born in ... 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