God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage is a marriage preparation supplement that offers engaged couples a more complete understanding of God's glorious plan for marriage and human sexuality than perhaps any program available in the Church today. Based on Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body, this supplement is not a replacement to current diocesan or parish programs. It is intended to enhance a key component of marriage preparation: catechesis in the theology of marriage and the gift of human sexuality.God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage can be implemented as a one-day seminar, or over multiple evenings.
When people think of the Catholic Church’s teaching on sex and marriage, they often think of a list of “prohibitions.” Others who live the Church’s teachings often do so with an “I’m-coping-with-it, but-I’m-not-happy” attitude. God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage offers a refreshing, liberating vision of marriage and sexuality—one that helps couples fully embrace, and even celebrate, God’s glorious plan for their lives.
God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage provides couples with a rich understanding of the teachings of the Church and offers them the tools to live married life as God intended. The creators of the program believe that when engaged couples understand God’s plan for marriage, including a clear and pastoral explanation of the “difficult teachings,” they come away from the program with a sense of liberation and gratitude rather than resentment toward the Church.
Faith Should Be "Proposed," Not "Imposed"
God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage works from the premise that Catholic teaching can never be imposed, only proposed, especially in our modern culture where messages that are contrary to the Catholic vision of marital love are commonplace. We realize that we are presenting the Church’s vision to a skeptical audience that will ask many valid and understandable questions. We also know that pastoral sensitivity is vital to transmitting the message successfully.
An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Part 1 - Catholic Faith & Your Marriage
It is the common experience of those who work with engaged couples that the faith of these couples is most often in need of rediscovery, nourishment, and maturation. Part I of the workshop is evangelistic in nature. With clear respect for the freedom of each person, it encourages an encounter with the person of Christ through a call to faith in the fundamental truths of Catholicism. Following the basic Christian schema of “Creation, Fall, and Redemption,” Part I provides a reflection on the Word of God as understood by the Church in regard to God’s plan for marriage and our need for Christ. It also helps couples to understand the nature and meaning of the commitments they make in their exchange of vows.
Part 2 - Sacramental Sexuality
While many factors have contributed to the breakdown of marriage and family life, special attention must be given to the widespread acceptance of new sexual attitudes and “lifestyles.” There is no sidestepping this often difficult aspect of marriage preparation. What is needed is a compassionate approach that explains the beauty of the Church’s teaching and, with full respect for people’s freedom, invites couples to embrace it. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body provides the positive approach we need. Building on the foundation laid in Part 1, Part 2 of God’s Plan for a Joy-filled Marriage presents the joys of “sexual honesty” before and within marriage.
Endorsed by the Diocese of Toledo, Marriage and Family Life Office