Pre-marriage course helps couples fully understand the Sacrament of Marriage

By Mary Brazell, 3 January 2019
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv with members of the Life, Marriage and Family Office Catherine Bourne, Lyn Keane and Karin Abrams. Image: Aphonsus Fok/ Diocese of Parramatta.


Karin Abrams is preparing for what 2019 will bring and the new couples she will help on their journey to marriage.

“I am currently looking at the content of our Pre-Marriage courses and other resources, and I am always looking for more research and resources that further enhance the course.”

For six years, Karin has been the co-ordinator of Marriage Education Support and Enrichment and assists in the Pre-Marriage courses run by the Life, Marriage & Family Office in the Diocese of Parramatta.

“The Diocese of Parramatta was set up in 1986, and the pre-marriage course, or an iteration of the course, has been around since then,” Karin says.

Karin, with her husband and five other couples, helps lead a course that runs over a Friday night and a full-day Sunday. In this course couples are taken through what Karin says are the key ingredients for a long and successful marriage.

“Just like a parent prepares a child for the Sacrament of Communion or Confirmation – through our course, our couples fully understand the Sacrament of Marriage and its importance,” Karin says.

“The PowerPoint presentation is the same for each couple presenting the course, but each allows for interactive and different personal stories from the leaders, which are often very powerful.

“The most enriching part of presenting the course for me is seeing the couples understand, learn and engage with the course material.

“I particularly enjoy helping them understand the joy of entering into and living a Catholic marriage, inviting God into their marriage.”

The Life, Marriage & Family Office run two programs: the weekend course and Prepare Enrich – a one-on-one session with the couple and a facilitator. The couple and facilitator then work through the inventory results looking at the strengths and challenges in their relationship with the aid of exercises in their couple workbook

“Most couples take part in the weekend course, but there are individual cases where this can’t be done. For example, shift workers and couples with one spouse overseas find the Prepare Enrich session suitable for them,” Karin says.

In the prevalence of online communication, Karin understands that young couples today are used to using digital media. However, there is only one Catholic course available online in Australia.

“By having face-to-face courses, it gives the couple a chance to see a married couple, who can give them true examples of how things are, which is often very powerful.

“For some couples, interacting and learning from a faithful and loving couple, it might be a new experience, as they may not see that in their own lives.”

Karin says she has learnt a lot about her own marriage from running the course. “These young couples remind me of the heady exciting days of courtship and preparing for a life-long marriage.

“The course has helped to remind me to love my husband unconditionally, to forgive and to be the best wife I can be to ensure our happy marriage.”

Dates for the Pre-Marriage courses from the Life, Marriage & Family Office in 2019 are as follows:

  • February 8 and 10
  • February 22 and 24
  • March 9 and 10
  • March 22 and 24
  • April 5 and 7
  • May 3 and 5
  • May 24 and 26
  • June 7 and 9
  • June 21 and 23
  • July 26 and 28
  • August 9 and 11
  • August 23 and 25
  • September 13 and 15
  • September 27 and 29
  • October 18 and 20
  • November 1 and 3 and
  • November 22 and 24.

For more information about the Pre-Marriage Courses, please visit the Life, Marriage & Family Office website at


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