A Marriage Enrichment Program for Catholic Parents
A Marriage Enrichment Program for Catholic ParentsLauri Przybysz, D.Min.Director: William C. Mattison III, Ph.D. Given the connection the Church has emphasized between the unitive and procreative aspects of marriage, ministering to couples with regard to their parenting provides a good occasion to also minister to them in their vocation as spouses. However, ministry to spouses and to parents of young children is rarely coordinated. This project aims to fill this gap by designing a practical plan to link marriage enrichment to parenting education, attracting couples by addressing both of their vocations. Under the promotional title, "Married...with Children: Wisdom and Grace for Parenting," a series of four workshops provided formation for couples in the character qualities, life skills, respect for differences, and spirituality that nurture the two reciprocal ends of marriage. Short presentations, small group sharing, guided discussion, and prayer experiences were utilized to conduct the workshops. The project was held at two Catholic parishes with two groups of couples. Participants completed a self-assessment of their competency in skills for successful marriage and parenting at the first and last workshop, and the results were compared to measure the couples' perceived learning about how to be good parents and good spouses. At the end of the program, participants reported improvement in relationship skills and new awareness of areas for improvement. By introducing married couples to their peers in the parish, the project introduced them to a community of support during the challenging parenting years.
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