Guidelines for the Preparation of Couples for Marriage – 2016

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Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

“The complexity of today’s society and the challenges faced by the family require a greater effort on the part of the whole Christian community in preparing those who are about to be married…In this regard the Synod Fathers agreed on the need to involve the entire community more extensively by stressing the witness of families themselves and by grounding marriage preparation in the process of Christian initiation by bringing out the connection between marriage, baptism and the other sacraments. The Fathers also spoke of the need for specific programmes of marriage preparation aimed at giving couples a genuine experience of participation in ecclesial life and a complete introduction to various aspects of family life.”
Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia #206

Preparing couples to confidently live out their ‘lifelong project’ is a great joy and responsibility for the whole Christian community. By saying ‘I do’ they begin a journey that calls for great generosity and commitment. It is our task as church to welcome them, help them discern their vocation, and then walk with them throughout the seasons of married life, supporting them as they gradually discover the dignity and beauty of their calling.

These ‘Guidelines for the Preparation of Couples for Marriage’ express the goodness of marriage and richness of Church teaching in:

– An extensive theological preface;

– The suggested content for marriage preparation programmes;

– The need for training and support of clergy and lay people;

– The benefit and impact of the ministry of marriage preparation;

– Options for planning local provision of marriage preparation by a collaborative team of clergy and lay people.


Guidelines for the Preparation of Couples for Marriage is available to buy online from Matthew James Publishing.

Resource Download

The resources in this download are not included in the Guidelines because of the challenges of keeping the information current. The links provided are for information purposes only. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship cannot and does not necessarily endorse the resources, the content on external websites, or those organisations’ affiliations with third parties.

Related Reading

Official website of the Marriage and Family Life Project Office of England and Wales. This is a hub of information about the Church’s pastoral care of marriage and family life and signposts many practical resources.
Official website for the Liturgy Office of England and Wales.
Marriage Care is the largest single provider of marriage preparation services for couples marrying in the Catholic Church in England and Wales.