The Marriage Preparation Course was developed by Nicky and Sila Lee, co-authors of The Marriage Book and The Parenting Book. They have been married for over thirty years, have four children and are on the staff at Holy Trinity Brompton - the London church that started the Alpha course. They started The Marriage Preparation Course in 1985 and The Marriage Course in 1996, and the courses continue to spread with thousands of courses now running around the world.
They have spoken to thousands on the subject of marriage and are the co-authors of The Marriage Book which has sold over 150,000 copies since it was published in 2000. They run The Marriage Preparation Course, along with The Marriage Course, three times a year at Holy Trinity Brompton with around 160 couples on each course.
The Marriage Preparation Course talks are presented in one of two ways:
* DVD talks featuring Nicky and Sila
* Live talks
The talks are interspersed with filmed clips of couples talking about their experiences of marriage and street interviews.
Over five sessions of the course you will discover practical tools to help you build the foundations for a lasting marriage. You will look at:
* the importance of commitment
* how to recognise and appreciate your differences
* the art of communication
* resolving conflict
* the importance of spending time together and nurturing your friendship
* making each other feel loved
* developing a good sexual relationship
* the importance of talking about your goals, values and dreams
1. Communication. This session helps couples see how important effective communication is for a strong marriage and how communication is affected by personality, family background and circumstances. Couples look at what it means to talk about their feelings and they practise listening to each other.
2. Commitment. Commitment lies at the heart of the marriage covenant and is reflected in the marriage service vows. In this session couples consider the meaning of these vows and then look at how to live out this commitment th rough making quality time for each other on a regular basis and separating appropriately from their parents.
3. Resolving Conflict. Conflict can either destroy a marriage or, if handled well, strengthen it. Couples consider how to handle anger, appreciate their differences, look for solutions together and practice forgiveness. Organising finances, a primary cause of conflict in marriage is also addressed.
4. Keeping Love Alive. This session looks at how love must be deliberately nurtured in a marriage through couples nurturing their friendship, discovering how the other feels loved and developing their sexual relationship
5. Shared Goals and Values. While appreciating their differences, couples need to agree on their goals and core values. In this session couples have the opportunity to discuss their priorities for the future, the roles they expect to fulfil and the building of spiritual togetherness.
FOCCUS Questionnaire. Before the course starts you will be asked to complete a questionnaire called FOCCUS (most but not all courses will use FOCCUS as part of The Marriage Preparation Course). This questionnaire will ask about different aspects of your relationship. It is not a test nor is it a predictor of whether your marriage will succeed or fail. It is a tool to help highlight any important issues that you would benefit from discussing before you get married.
It is by no means compulsory to complete the questionnaire but most couples find it very useful. Once you have completed it you will have the opportunity to discuss the results with a support couple.