"Each crisis becomes an apprenticeship in growing closer together or learning a little more about what it means to be married. There is no need for couples to resign themselves to an inevitable downward spiral or a tolerable mediocrity." - Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, 232
Marriage Coaching is a couple-to-couple mentoring program designed to invite couples to live out more fully God’s plan for their marriage. It was developed to minister to couples who are experiencing struggles in their marriages but are not yet ready to seek marriage counseling. It is also helpful for couples desiring to strengthen their marriage. Marriage Coaching is not counseling. Rather, it offers support and practical tools to couples in need to help them strengthen their marriage within the four walls of their home.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the sacrament of Matrimony aims at a deep personal unity and faithfulness in definitive mutual giving. (CCC 1643) Marriage Coaching Ministry acknowledges that although marriage can be difficult, it is possible to strengthen and heal marriages with God’s grace. It also signals to the couple that the Church is a place to go to receive support and accompaniment:
“It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God's faithful love. Spouses who with God's grace give this witness, often in very difficult conditions, deserve the gratitude and support of the ecclesial community.” (CCC 1648)
The program consists of seven main coaching sessions. These seven sessions cover a range of topics that deal with issues and struggles that couples often face. The seven topics cover both the spiritual and practical concerns and deficits couples may be experiencing:
- Relationship building and family of origin factors
- God's plan for marriage and the importance of forgiveness
- Priorities in marriage and praying together as a couple
- How to love and serve each other (discovering the needs of our spouse)
- Open and healthy communication
- Sexuality in marriage
- Spiritual relevance and growth in marriage
The program is strictly confidential with no cost.
Upon completion of the program, many couples enjoy more stability in their relationship and may benefit from participation in marriage enrichment activities and programs offered in their parish community. Couples whose concerns exceed the scope or intention of the coaching program are referred for professional counseling.
Feedback from Couples Who Received Marriage Coaching
“The Marriage Coaching was very personalized and the discussions we had were incredibly helpful. Understanding all that God has planned for our marriage was amazing. We felt that everything we covered was immensely helpful.”
“Our Coaching Couple was VERY helpful for both of us. I would highly encourage other couples to go through this experience. We appreciated the Coaching Couple sharing their personal experience.”
“Our Coaching Couple was excellent! We enjoyed our time together and they provided us with the tools that we can use throughout our marriage. We found it very helpful.”
“We thought it was a great experience. It strengthened our marriage and gave us tools to use in the future. Our Coaching Couple was great and very easy to talk to and non-judgmental. They were perfect for this ministry.”
Marriage Coaching in Families of Parishes
Families of Parishes offers a great opportunity to provide Marriage Coaching for all married couples in their geographic area. Once a coaching couple is trained, clergy and parish staff can refer couples in need to the coaching couple and they take it from there. The Marriage Support Office provides all the training, oversight, and referral assistance for the Marriage Coaching Ministry. Coaching Couples also receive ongoing formation and mentoring.
Resources for Marriage Coaching
- Marriage Coaching in Families of Parishes
- For Couples - Marriage Coaching Ministry Flyer Marriage-Coaching-Ministry-brochure.pdf
- For Couples Interested in Becoming Coaches – Inquiry Form
- For Coaching Couples - Marriage Coaching Online Training
Take it to the Next Level
- · Each Family of Parishes is challenged to have at least one coaching couple in their parish community.
- Prayerfully discern who you think would be an excellent and available couple(s) for this type of marriage ministry. Typically, mature empty nesters who embrace God’s plan for marriage and demonstrate a passion for living and supporting others in the vocation of Catholic marriage are good candidates for Marriage Coaching Ministry – see the Candidate Coaching Couple Inquiry Form.
- · Have the candidate couple complete the Archdiocesan self-paced Marriage Coaching online training course and once completed discuss their experience and discernment to commit to an initial one year of ministry.
- · Contact the Archdiocesan Marriage Support Office to enroll the couple as members of the coaching couple team so that they can participate in various support activities and receive resources for developing their Marriage Coaching Ministry.
- · Begin a regular and sustained cadence of advertising of the Marriage Coaching Ministry in your Family of Parishes – bulletin announcements, brochures, Facebook, email blasts, etc. Remember “in-sight, in-mind.” Parishioners from Family of Parishes may refer couples in need to this ministry.
- · It is also important to develop a referral list of local, qualified Catholic counselors who have a specialty in marriage counseling so that staff have resources available should the need arise.
Marriage Support Office
Support for Marriage Ministry: Marriage Preparation, Marriage Coaching, Marriage Enrichment, Marriage Support/Restoration, and Divorce Recovery