Groom 101

Groom’s Guide to Surviving Marriage Prep Classes

Chris Easter

Love, children, family, and marital duties — if you’re planning on being married in a church, these are some issues you’ll most likely discuss in a marriage preparation class. Some grooms may cringe at the thought of spending a Saturday or Sunday afternoon discussing and learning about marriage (especially if it’s football season). But if you take the classes seriously, there’s actually a lot of good information you can get out of them. Consider this article your primer for marriage prep. Men, class is in session.

Marriage prep classes are designed to give the couple a preview of married life and what each spouse’s responsibilities may be. The number and location of classes will typically vary based on the couple’s religion. Sometimes a couple will only have to go to one afternoon class or a single meeting with the church. Other times, several classes may be required. Some religions even require a couple to participate in a weekend retreat to complete the course. After deciding where the ceremony will take place, make sure to check into that church’s requirements regarding marriage prep classes.

So, what exactly are these classes about? Basically, they’re designed to prepare and educate the engaged couple about many of the challenges they’ll most likely face in married life. Classes are usually led by a clergy member, marriage counselor or married couple volunteering their time to the program. Typical topics of discussion include finances, planning for children, sexuality, romance and disillusionment, communication, and overcoming differences between each spouse’s families. The sacrament and holiness of marriage is also often a big discussion point in marriage prep. You’ll probably be asked to share stories as well as your personal thoughts and perceptions regarding different aspects of marriage.

While you may have some one-on-one meetings, most marriage prep classes are made up of several other engaged couples. You’ll meet other couples going through the same process you are. Who knows, you may even make some new friends.

A lot of men get nervous about attending these classes. One common fear is that the classes will get too personal or put you on the spot with tough questions. But rest assured that this isn’t what these classes are about. The instructor or lead couple will do everything they can to make sure everyone’s comfortable with the content. In fact, many men talk about how surprised they are that they really enjoy sharing personal stories with the other marriage prep class members.

Marriage prep shouldn’t be something you dread (unless, of course, it happens to fall on Super Bowl Sunday). If you take it seriously and really put some effort into it, you’ll get a lot out of it. You may even learn something about your fiancé or the way she grew up that you didn’t already know.


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