Preparing to be married has never been regarded as an easy task, but it has been especially challenging during a pandemic. Just ask newlywed Ashley Bradshaw whose April 17 wedding plans were upended at the last minute.
The couple weighed their options and were forced to cancel much of what they planned, but Bradshaw and her husband Ryan decided they were able to focus on what was most important.
As Catholics, we are guided by faith that the marriage sacrament is a gift or even a series of gifts — a gift from God, a gift between the husband and wife and a gift of the opportunity to form a family.
To prepare for this gift exchange, the Church provides us with marriage preparation classes and resources to assist a couple in building a solid foundation.
“When we were saying our vows, I was so ready and at complete peace knowing that Ryan is the right person, this is the right day. And knowing God was going to give us the graces we needed to make this last a lifetime.”Ashley BradshawBride
Our Church Gives the Road Map for a Faith-filled Marriage
Carrie Keating, Natural Family Planning and Marriage Specialist with the Office of Evangelization and Family Life shares the goal of the formation is to help the couple understand what does it mean to live out the sacrament, which is different from what the world teaches us about marriage.
Communications skills and taking personal inventories are focal points of the preparation courses. The preparation is not meant to be scary or intimidating.
“We are not the Catholic DMV, a bureaucracy for pushing papers and pushing them through the process,” Keating said.
“It’s a beautiful ministry, where I serve these couples who want to live a good and faith-filled life together.”Carrie KeatingMarriage Specialist
If a parish does not provide its own marriage preparation classes, the Archdiocese of Denver through funding from the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal has numerous options with many different times and locations.
Nick and Abby were excited to take the course and were surprised by what they learned.
The Church offers marriage preparation courses as a road map of sorts to guide a couple through ideas that may be new or revealing to them.
“We went into the program with lots of excitement for the sacrament, but with an incomplete knowledge of what marriage looks like in the practical sense,” the couple shared. “The program has helped tremendously in teaching us how to translate the calling God has given us into a substantial, grace-filled relationship for life.”Nick and AbbyNewlyweds
“Our marriage prep experience was extensive, but in the best way possible. Preparing to share a lifetime commitment in the sacrament of marriage is no joke!” said Ashley and JD.
JD and Ashley even made friends through the experience and said they feel more confident with their new tools to “go boldly into our marriage.”
“We were unsure of what to expect but as we moved through our preparations, we felt loved and supported from the parish community every step of the way.”JD and AshleyNewlyweds