to Live
Mentor Outlines
Copyright 2005
Pastoral and Matrimonial Renewal Center
P.O. Box 2304
Southeaster PA 19399-2304
No portion of this program may reproduced with out the written
authorization of the
Pastoral and Matrimonial Renewal Center
Session 1
The Mission and the Dream
What draws us to one another?
This evening is designed to fill the engaged couple with enthusiasm and
confidence in their ability to choose to live in love. The mentor couple ought to
reflect a very positive and proactive attitude toward marriage. The engaged
couple really can have the kind of marriage they always dreamed of, but it
doesn’t happen by magic. They have both the ability and responsibility to take
charge of their marriage and make of it what they want.
We hope to convey an authentic delight for this particular couple’s love for each
other and a real confidence in the truth that they have only just begun to grow in
love. We make every effort to communicate our excitement for the gift they are
to us and how precious and significant their marriage will be in the church.
Bear in mind that this will probably be the very first time the engaged couple and
the mentor couple will have met. The engaged couple will most likely be nervous
and unsure as to what to expect. They need to experience our warmth and
excitement. We need to come across as enthusiastic, supportive, and nonjudgmental.
Thank you for trusting us enough to come to our home
We are excited about your love for each other and honored to be a part of
your preparation for your marriage
 It will be your marriage, it has to be your preparation
 You are in charge
Try to relax and feel at home
Our Role as Mentors:
We are here to set you up for success, to help you develop a vision for how
you want to be married and equip you with the skills you will need to live it out
 We are on your side
 We’re rooting for you and we want to help
We are not here to judge you or decide whether or not you should marry
We will not tell you how you should be married; that choice is yours.
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We are happy to share our lives and what we have learned
 Insights from science and the study of relationships
 What the Church teaches
We offer ourselves as a real live couple who are doing our best to live in love
Think of us as Mentors or Coaches
 Friends who are willing to help you to get started on the right foot
 An experienced couple that is willing to share what we have learned so
that you can live out your marriage to its full potential
We will answer any question to the best of our ability and we promise to be
completely open and honest
Anything they say will be held in strict confidentiality
Love is Possible, Love is Real
We are still “in” Love; so, we know it’s possible to live in love your whole life
It can be scary to think of getting married when so many marriages end in
divorce, but it doesn’t have to be that way
We know what it takes to make marriage work; it’s not that difficult
 Understand the “mission” of marriage
 Address the obstacles that can distract you from your mission
 Take full advantage of all your resources
We have our own experience and the experience of many other couples who
only want the best for you
You have all the resources you need to be married as happily as you ever
dreamed you could be
How special you are:
Choosing to marry in the Church puts you in a special category of engaged
You have higher ambitions, ideals, and access to the grace to achieve them
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There is a significant difference between today’s model for secular marriage
and the model for marriage in the Church
 Couples who share faith are far more likely to remain together
The Church offers you a vocation, a life-long mission to each other
This is your “Job Description”
 Convince this man that he is loved and lovable
 Convince this woman that she is loved and lovable
The real challenge is to learn how to make this specific man, this woman
whom you have chosen to marry feel loved beyond all expectations
Discovering how is fun and exciting
 Taking into account their unique personal history, family dynamic,
values, ideals, and personality
 Learning what affirms him or her best
 Finding out how he or she prefers to be loved
 Uncovering attitudes that hold you back and freeing you up to be more
 Recognizing your resources, what draws you together, and any
obstacles that can get in the way
We are fortunate to live in an age when study and science have taken the
guesswork out of being happily married
 We know what helps people to trust
 We know how to listen effectively
 We understand the importance of affirmation
 We know what helps to make a man feel needed and appreciated,
strong and free to love
 We know what helps to make a woman feel understood, respected,
cherished, and beautiful
A life-long sexual love affair is the most exciting, rewarding and wondrous
vocation imaginable
 This is what the Church calls you to
 A vocation of total mutual self-donation
 Couples who are married in church and continue to share spiritual
activities have the lowest divorce rate of anyone (About 12%)1
Program Overview:
The Program takes place in two phases
Phase 1 will help you see what you are bringing into the marriage and how it
might play out
“Ministry to Interchurch Marriages: a National Study”, Center for Marriage and Family,
Creighton University, 1999
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Two Sessions
What draws you to each other so that you can intentionally use those
gifts as resources
What might interfere with how you want to love each other
Expectations for what is normal in marriage
Patterns of behavior that might unintentionally not work in the best
interest of the marriage
The purpose is to learn how the other most wants to be loved and to
discover anything in ourselves that might get in the way
Phase 2 is all about empowerment and skills training
 Topics that will help you have the kind of marriage you are dreaming of
 The minimum number of workshops is five
1. Communicating for intimacy.
2. Sex, Sacred Body Language
3. Sacrament in the church
4. Forgiveness and Healing of Outside Injuries
5. Becoming a Couple
There are many other topics which could be addressed in one or more
additional evenings depending on your interest and what you think would be
of benefit to you
We will tailor the program to suit your needs and desires
Engaged Couple tells their story;
Ask the couple to tell you their story, how they met and fell in love.
Draw out as much as you can from them by asking open ended questions like:
 What did you first find attractive about the other?
 What was most lovable about the other? At first? After getting to know
him or her better?
 When did you know that you were in love?
 Was there a point of breaking up and recommitting? What brought you
back together again?
 What helps you to trust him?
 What do you cherish most about her now?
 What do you appreciate most about the other now?
The Mentor couple shares a bit of their story. Include what attracted you to each
other as well as what qualities still draw you together.
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The Gift of Sexuality:
Sexuality was an important part of what drew us to each other in the first
Specifically, “sexuality” is our ability to be attracted out of ourselves into
relationship with the opposite sex
 It also encompasses our attractiveness to the opposite sex
In this broad sense, sexuality applies to all our relationships with the opposite
sex not just those associated with dating or mating
Sexuality has dimensions of both “nature” and “nurture”
The “nature” part is our physical maleness and femaleness
 It is stamped into every cell of our bodies
 It is hard-wired into our brains
It can be very helpful to recognize that men and women are inherently
different in order to respect and honor those differences
Celebrating gender diversity is not about creating stereotypes or limitations,
but rather about learning to recognize the wonder of the other in order to be
more effective at loving and cherishing him or her
It is even more important to understand that the differences are not so much
obstacles to overcome as a great resource to tap into
 They create a kind of “magnetic attraction” or “chemistry” that draws us
to each other
 They produce an atmosphere of tenderness and responsiveness in
which love can grow
If the engaged couple is particularly interested in the hard science of the gender
differences that we attribute to “nature”, they can do lots of reading. We
recommend that they start with Why Gender Matters by Dr. Leonard Sax MD
PhD. For our purposes here, we are more interested in the “nurture” or relational
aspects of sexuality but will give them a quick taste of the natural facts just to
establish that men and women are intrinsically and irrefutably different and that
many of the differences are in fact genetically coded.
The most interesting differences are those that influence relationship differences associated with male and female brain development, brain
structure, vision, hearing, and the role that hormones play in dramatically
impacting how we interact with one another
Male and female brains are basically wired and organized differently
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Functions are more compartmentalized in male brains and more globally
distributed in female brains
 Before birth (at approximately 26 weeks gestation), the male brain is
washed with a chemical bath that kills off most of the connectors
between the left and right sides of the brain leaving him, in a sense,
“lateral” brained
 Men can literally remain parked on one side without being
distracted by information coming at them from the other side
 Helps him make a plan and stick to it. He can easily
focus on a task, be committed and constant
 Aids him in long-range planning
 Men are testosterone-loaded
 Drive to conquer
 Find identity in accomplishment and prefer to initiate, to go
forward, to provide and protect
 Surges of energy in the limbic system make aggressive
behavior natural
 Often very action oriented in their spirituality
 Tend to naturally process emotions physically
 Whereas, females, with more paths between the part of
the brain where emotions happen and the centers for
speech2 may find it easier to talk about their feelings
 Because they have more connectors, females tend to go back and
forth between the left and right brains continuously, swiftly, and easily
 They take in information 30% faster
 They are intuitively aware of interpersonal realities around them
 Due in part to the fact that their eyes and hearing are
physiologically designed to be sensitive to color, texture,
and speech discrimination3 which probably make it easier
for them to interpret facial expressions
 Women are estrogen-laden
 Naturally responsive to feelings and needs
 More flexible and attentive to the present moment
 Tuned into relationship and find their identity in “to whom” they
 Way of loving is often very personal, nurturing and responsive
Men and women see and hear the world differently. They process information
differently, and they have different innate strengths and weaknesses
 Discovering the “other” can bring a sense of wonder and reverence to
the relationship
Leonard Sax, Why Gender Matters, Broadway Books, New York, 2005,p 30
Ibid, p 17-22, the female retina has a preponderance of cones and p-ganglions that send data to
the portion of the cerebral cortex that analyses color and texture while the male retina has a
preponderance of rods and m-ganglions that are primarily motion detectors and send data to a
different region of the cerebral cortex that analyses spatial relationships and object motion
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When we think of each other specifically as a man or a woman, we are
naturally attracted, drawn to each other
The “nurture” aspect of our sexuality is what is drawn out of us and
developed in interpersonal relationships, specifically with members of the
opposite sex
Sexuality draws us “out” of ourselves and “into” relationship with the other
 It is other-centered rather than self-centered
A couple’s sexuality is their attraction and attractiveness to each other
 It is not just physical
 It includes personal, emotional, and spiritual qualities
 Our personhood is intrinsically sexual and our body, mind, and soul are
irrevocably integrated
It is a major resource for building and maintaining a loving relationship
Two things happen whenever we are attracted
 We want to show off our best, our good points, our beauty,
compassion, strength, integrity, or principles
 We are open to being influenced by the one we are attracted to. That
enables us to take on their good points, their strengths, in addition to
our own
Sexuality is inherently good
 We can see it in the special chemistry between Daddy and his little girl
or how Mom melts for her son
 We can see it in the way the men of the parish will do anything for the
frail little old nun, how the rough, crude teenage boy becomes tender,
protective, and responsible around the big-eyed two year old girl, how
she becomes giggly, gentle, sweet, and darling around him
 That special “chemistry” brings out the best in us
 It makes the “work” of marriage easier and even “fun”
 It creates the fertile soil in which love and intimacy grow best
You cannot define masculinity and femininity except in relationship to the
 They are the sum of all the transcendent virtue that's drawn out of us
specifically in our relationships with members of the opposite sex
 Our sexuality is absolutely unique to each of us, as unique as our
At the center of masculinity there seems to be an appreciation of power or
 A desire to be strong physically, or in intellect, or competence for the
women in a man's life
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Men tend to see “virtue” in terms of strength and “sin” in terms of
At the center of femininity, there seems to be an appreciation of beauty
 Either the physical beauty of their person or their surroundings, art,
music, or poetry, or even the beauty of spiritual virtue
 Women tend to see virtue in terms of doing something beautiful for
God and sin in terms of ugliness or shame
Acknowledging and Valuing these fundamental differences helps us to
understand and empathize with each other
Mentor Couple shares an affirmation of each other’s sexuality. This will set the
Engaged Couple up to do the Affirmation Exercise. Include the impact that each
of your spouse’s sexual qualities has on you, e.g. his masculine strength and
protectiveness makes you feel safe, her feminine warmth and attentiveness
make you feel valued and important.
Engaged Couple Affirmation
Hand out the Session 1 Couple Pack, Program Folder, and pen (one for each of
Explain that there will be a similar handout for each session containing materials
to be used during the session and also between sessions. The handout includes
text that reinforces the discussion from each evening as well as work space for
writing whenever we have an exercise as part of the session.
Tonight, we are going to provide an opportunity for each of you to help the
other see his or her masculinity or femininity through your eyes, the eyes of
This is an excellent exercise for any couple to do before or after marriage
 Just take ten minutes or more to simply list absolutely everything that
is attractive, exciting, lovable and virtuous about the other
 Start with the physical but then go further to identify the specific
strengths and virtues, values and behaviors that characterize their
unique sexuality
Refer the Engaged couple to page 4 of the Couple Pack and ask them to read
the introductory paragraph and directions and then to write their personal
affirmation of their fiancé(e). Give them 5-10 minutes to write and then 5-10
minutes to share.
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Write down absolutely everything that is attractive about the other
Follow Up to Affirmation
Were you surprised by what the other said?
Did you have a hard time accepting it?
The “Vision” of love is the truest vision
 We don’t see ourselves objectively
 We choose to accept the way our future spouse sees us
The Mentor Couple shares personally the positive impact that sexual affirmation
has had on their marriage, especially affirmation of the others masculinity and
Give examples of how you affirm each other. Perhaps you flirt or are playful,
leave love notes, write letters, email, or phone each other.
Finally, point out Skill #1, Daily Affirmation, on page 5 of the Couple Pack.
Ask them to make a conscious effort to affirm each other in some way at least
once a day.
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Explanation of Homework
We have some homework for you
 This is the hardest part of the entire program, but well worth the effort
 Do separately and then talk about it together
 We will also discuss it next time we get together
It is designed to help you see clearly the pictures in your brain of what you
think is normal, your unconscious expectations of the dynamic between
husband and wife - who leads, who follows, who knows best.
Since sexuality is developed in relationship, we look to see how ours evolved
growing up with Mom and Dad
If you come from an intact marriage, that is, Mom and Dad stayed together,
you answer the questions based your perceptions of their relationship
 We are not interested in what may have actually been going on
between them, only what you thought was going
 That is your business because you carry that into this marriage
Direct formation is the unconscious learned behavior you accepted without
question or perhaps adopted without noticing, like an accent or gesture
Mentor shares a brief, clear example of direct formation (preferably one that is
personally true for you), e.g. my Dad always drove the family car; so, I
automatically assumed it was my job to drive whenever we went somewhere
Oppositional formation happens when you see something that turns you off
or offends you and you do the opposite out of a kind of knee-jerk reaction
Mentor shares a brief, clear example of oppositional formation (preferably one
that is personally true for you), e.g. I hated the way my parents argued and so I
avoid conflict at all costs.
Neither are freely chosen behaviors, and the purpose of this exercise is
 The ideal is to be free to choose to love the way you want to
Please, don’t be taken aback by the questions
 Just imagine what you think would be true based on whatever clues
you might have picked up
 The important thing is what your guess is and what you think their
attitudes may have been
 It is irrelevant whether you are right or wrong
 Your own siblings would probably answer differently
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We are not here to evaluate Mom and Dad’s marriage
This is about learning about you, not your Mom and Dad
We only want to help you to see your formation for
If your parent’s were divorced or if you lost a parent early in life, answer the
questions in terms of the general attitudes toward the opposite sex of the
parent you lived with and his or her significant relationships with the opposite
sex, a father, brother, friend, or boyfriend
Refer the Engaged Couple to page 6 of the Session 1 Couple Pack. Point out
the Homework Preparation and ask them to take a minute to answer each of the
three questions. If necessary, resolve any confusion they may have with respect
to significant marital relationships or father and mother figures.
Then, point out the Homework Exercise that continues on pages 9-16. Be
encouraging but also stress the importance of completing the Homework and
sharing their responses with each other prior to meeting again.
Set a date for next time
Ask the engaged couple if they would like to set a date to come back and
coordinate at least one more date.
Remind them to bring their homework when they come back. If the couple has
done the “FOCCUS” or “Prepare” survey, suggest that they might bring them
along as well, especially if they would like to talk about anything that surfaced
through their responses to these surveys.
Background Reading for Mentors
The following selected books and articles are publications of the Center for
Marriage and Family at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska. For a complete
listing of available publications and to order copies, please visit
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Session 2
Smart Loving with Insights from Your Family of Origin
Discovering How to Love You?
A refreshingly honest and liberating look in the mirror for each individual in the context of
how they already relate and are likely to relate to each other in the future.
Warm Welcome
Thank the Engaged Couple for coming back
Reflect back to them some of what you perceive to be their greatest gifts in
Affirm them as a couple to build a sense of confidence in what they have
going for them
Ask them if they have noticed themselves being more affirming as a result of
the Affirmation Exercise of Session 1
Reiterate the value of affirmation and encourage them to consciously and
sincerely affirm each other
 Especially if they find it easy to complain or criticize
Formation in the Family
Tonight we are going to look at some of what we bring into our marriage
We often hear that we marry into a family
 This is particularly true in terms of patterns of behavior and models of
interpersonal relationship
We want to get in touch with what we think is normal based on our experience
to date
 Expectations of how we will be with on another
 Patterns of pleasing, influencing, and confronting
Review Direct and Reverse formation
Our parent’s relationship was inevitably a significant influence on what we
came to expect marriage to be like
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Our parents modeled marriage to us and we unconsciously learned from
them just like we picked up a similar accent or mannerism
As you will recall from Session1, this is what we call “direct” formation,
attitudes or expectations that we more or less accepted as “normal” and
which are likely to show up in us when we find ourselves in similar situations
Another significant kind of formation is what we would call “reverse” or
“oppositional” formation
 Attitudes or behaviors that we did not like and consciously rejected
We purposely chose behaviors opposite to those of our parents so as not to
be like them
In either case, our behaviors were not “freely” chosen
Seeing our patterns of behavior and recognizing where they came from
allows us to choose them freely as adults based on whether or not they will
be good for our own relationship
This Session is all about Freedom
 Freedom to love the other the way they need to be loved
 Without the undue influence of unconscious learned behaviors,
the pictures in our brains of how marriage is supposed to be
Contentment issues
Sometimes, we have similar formation and are pretty comfortable with the
same patterns of interacting
Such patterns may not be best for the marriage
They might work against shared responsibility and perhaps ultimately lead to
loneliness or resentment.
We are generally content with whatever feels right or normal, but being
content can lead us to settle for less when there is such great potential for joy
and intimacy.
Review the Homework from Session 1
The Homework from Session 1 was intended to help you see and understand
yourselves more clearly; it was not really about your parents
 What worked for them will not necessarily work for you, because you
are different people
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Most people find it hard to answer the questions. Was it difficult for you?
Did you discover any parallels in patterns of behavior from your family of
origin in your relationship with each other?
If not, don’t worry, we will help you to see your own expectations and attitudes
a bit clearer tonight
Playing Mirror
The objective of this section is to help them see 1) that their own attitudes and
behaviors were influenced and 2) that some of the attitudes and patterns of
behavior that they took away from their family of origin may not be helpful in
loving their fiancé(e). Use the following questions as appropriate to draw out
more detail and clearly establish these points in concrete terms.
Start with whomever of the two fiancé(e)s is more talkative or open, and use any
or all of the following questions to isolate two or three examples of formation.
Ask the man:
 What did Dad do in conflict with Mom? Did he withdraw or confront? Fight or
 What do you do? How has that worked for you?
Ask the woman:
 What did Mom do in conflict with Dad? Did she withdraw or confront? Fight
or flee?
 What do you do? How has that worked for you?
Ask them both:
 Did you ever see your parents make up or ask forgiveness of each other?
 How has that influenced you?
Sexual Atmosphere:
Ask the man:
 Who initiated romance in your parent’s relationship? Physical touch? Flirting?
 Do you pursue your fiancée or expect her to pursue you?
Ask the woman:
 Who initiated romance in your parent’s relationship? Physical touch? Flirting?
 Do you pursue your fiancé or expect him to pursue you?
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Ask them both:
 Were your parents physically affectionate in public? Did you like that?
 How affectionate are you in public?
 In your home growing up, did the children come before sexuality and romance
in marriage?
 Did you think that is the way it should be?
Control and Irresponsibility:
Ask them both:
 Who was the dominant figure in your home of origin?
 Did he or she have the final say? In what areas?
 Did you like that? Do you take the lead in those same areas?
Ask the man:
 Was there any area where dad had to ask permission to take a lead?
 Do you defer to your fiancée in that area, or do you insist on having your way?
 In what ways are you uninvolved in your fiancée’s life?
 Was your dad also uninvolved in these areas of your mother’s life?
Ask the wife:
 Was there any area in which mom was very independent or controlling?
 Have you adopted or reacted to that pattern?
 What has been the result?
Time spent together:
Ask them both:
 How much time did your parents spend physically together in a given day or
 What are your expectations for how much time you spend together?
When you have heard from them both, you will be able to compare the couple’s
expectations and draw conclusions in terms of the potential impact on living in
relationship or creating conflict.
Ask them both:
 Was either of your parents critical of the other? Or of you?
 Have you adopted the same pattern? What has been the result?
 How do you react to criticism? Do you lash back or become defensive or self
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Surface parallels from what the engaged couple tells you as well as your own
observations of how they relate as a couple to illustrate the limiting impact of the
Feel free to be flexible and trust your instincts.
Control and Irresponsibility
In various areas of relationship, we can attempt to control what happens out
of an exaggerated sense of responsibility or superiority
 This inevitably leads the other to become uninvolved
 The other’s lack of involvement can lead to feelings of being taken for
granted or unappreciated
Control and irresponsibility are two sides of the same coin
 Where one is controlling, the other will be irresponsible
 Where one is irresponsible, the other will be controlling
Control and irresponsibility result in loneliness and isolation in marriage
Mentor shares a brief illustration of control and irresponsibility from their
Identify an area in which the formation from your family of origin led you to adopt
patterns of control and irresponsibility. Describe the pain it caused, the changes
you have made to be less controlling and more responsible, and the rewards of
shared responsibility.
This is not meant to be a lengthy teaching. It simply introduces the topic of
control and irresponsibility and links them to formation.
Relationship with the Parent of the Opposite Sex
Often our preparation for marriage is strongly influenced by our relationship
with our parent of the opposite sex
That was our first significant and lasting relationship with a member of the
opposite sex
It can be helpful to look specifically at that relationship, particularly patterns of
pleasing, influencing, or fighting
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Continue with the same person you began with and use any or all of the following
questions to draw out examples of their formation from their relationship with
their parent of the opposite sex.
Ask them both:
 Are you choosing to marry someone just like your dad or mom, or the
 How much time did you spend with your parent of the opposite sex?
 How affectionate were you with him or her?
 How open was the relationship? Did you confide in him or her?
 What did you look to Dad or Mom to provide? What did you count on them
 Did you ever take them for granted?
Have you seen similar patterns between you and your fiancé(e)?
When you have finished with the first fiancé(e), repeat the above with the other
fiancé(e) addressing their family of origin and relationship with their parent of the
opposite sex to the extent that it has not already been drawn out.
Areas of Tension tracing back to Formation
Have you noticed any areas of tension between you that seem to revolve
around different concepts of what is “normal” or where your expectations are
Can you trace these back to what was “normal” or “expected” in your family of
What you expect to be normal will be your comfort zone unless you decide
 Where do your expectations match, not match?
Part of learning to marry each other well is to learn how to let go of what
you think is “right” or “normal” in exchange for what is best for the
Unmatched Expectations
Each person comes into marriage with different unconscious expectations,
attitudes, even ideals, values, and priorities
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Unmatched expectations often show up in everyday living
The Mentor couple shares lightheartedly some personal examples of their
different expectations about day-to-day living with respect to some of the
following areas:
 Weekends (work or play)
 Cleanliness (neat or clean)
 Gift giving and Birthday traditions
 Hospitality
 Christmas and Holiday expectations
 Vacations
 Decision making (roles versus consensus)  Children and parenting
Hand out the Couple Pack for Session 2 and point out the Expectations
Worksheet on Page 4. Tell the Engaged Couple that this is something for them
to do at home. Encourage them to spend some time with each other prior to the
next session discussing these areas
Values and Ideals Exercise
Refer the Engaged Couple to Page 5 of the Participant Pack and facilitate the
Values and Ideals Exercise.
Something else that we bring into marriage are those things that are
important to us
 Things that we value drive our behavior because we make them a
Separately, write a spontaneous list of what you consider the “most important
things in life”
Associate a value with each item in terms of how much time, energy, or
money you put into them in a given day, week, or month
 For example, Write V = 1 hour a day or $100 each month
 If you spend no time, energy, or money, then it is simply an ideal, not a
 Write an “I” in Column 2 for “Ideal”
 An ideal is something you admire and believe in, but have not been
willing to make the sacrifices necessary to put it into your life
Next, make a mental movie of yourself as you move through a typical day or
week, and write down in Section 3 anything that you spend time, money, or
energy on that was not on their initial list.
 Quantify your investment in each of these as well
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Finally, step back and evaluate your priorities. In Column 4, write a “1” on the
line with the largest investment of time, energy, or money; then a “2”
 This is a picture of your real values
 This is really you!
 Own your behavior so that you can change it anytime you like
What Else Are You Bringing In?
This section is optional. You may discuss these topics if applicable and if you
have time.
Recommend the Myers Briggs inventory, or discuss it if they have already
been evaluated
Areas of agreement and disagreement
As expressed in FOCCUS, Prepare, or Relate
Explain the preferred answer and why it may be in the best interest of the
How do I like to be Loved?
We tend to express love the way we would like to be loved
Gary Chapman identifies five “Love Languages”
Words; verbal affirmation, conversation, deep sharing
Touch: shows of affection, physical contact, sexual communication
Deeds; service, thoughtful gestures, providing
Gifts; flowers, dinner out, presents
Spending time: physical presence, shared activities or work
Rank the five love languages: (in terms of what you appreciate most. If you
could have only one, which would it be? What if you could have two?)
Refer the Engaged Couple to Page 7 of the Couple Pack and ask them to rank
order the five Love Languages and briefly answer Questions 2 and 3. Then go
on to Page 8 and follow the instructions in the left hand column where it says
“Write” to rank order the Couple Love Gestures that are most important to you.
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Give the engaged couple 5-10 minutes to write and then give them time to share
their responses with each other. When they are finished, take some time to
discuss their responses with you.
How do your preferred love languages (Numbers 1 and 2) compare with your
 If they do not match, you will need to:
 Consciously decide to appreciate expressions of love that you
do not naturally recognize
 Consciously choose to express love in ways that your fiancée
will appreciate
Note the relative ranking of “Words” and “Touch”
How does your ranking compare with what was normal in your family growing
Recording your fiancé(e)’s Love Language
Before we go on, take a moment to write down your fiancé(e)’s preferred
Love Languages
Refer the engaged couple to the “Summing Up” section on page 8 of the Couple
Pack and give them a minute to record their fiancé(e)’s preferred Love
Couple Love Gestures
Couple Love Gestures are unique to romantic relationships and are more
significant in marriage than Love Languages which apply all relationships
including celibate ones
Couple Love Gestures nurture the sexual atmosphere between you
How did you rank the Couple Love Gestures? Which were most important to
you? What most helps you feel close to your fiancée?
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The Couple Love Gestures available for the engaged couple to rank order
 Openness – volunteering information  Eye Contact – undivided attention
 Verbal Intimacy – sharing feelings
 Touch – outward signs of affection
 Flirting – being sexy
 Affirmation – compliments and praise
 Spending Time Together
 Playfulness – laughing together
 Praying Together
 Sharing Faith – relationship with God
 Trust – revealing secrets and dreams  Involvement – interest
 Sharing Responsibility
 Honesty – truthfulness
 Conversation – listening
 Dressing up – for each other
 Other centeredness – making what’s important to you important to me
What did you learn about yourself? Your fiancé(e)?
How important are expressions of affection to you?
Recording your fiancé(e)’s Couple Love Gestures
Once again, take a moment to write down your fiancé(e)’s most important
Love Gestures
As before, refer the engaged couple to the “Summing Up” section on page 8 of
the Couple Pack and give them a minute or two to record their fiancé(e)’s most
important Love gestures.
Point out Skill #2, Smart Loving, at the bottom of page 8 of the Couple Pack.
These are your marching orders
It’s what we call “Smart Loving”
 Loving by intention rather than by instinct
We can be more effective at loving by speaking the other’s language
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Make a special effort this coming week to communicate in your fiancé(e)’s
preferred Love Language and consciously choose to express love using the
Love Gestures they ranked first or second
Explanation of Homework
In addition to practicing “Smart Loving,” remember to go back over the
Expectations Worksheet on page 4 of the Couple Pack
Be sure to read through the entire Couple Pack and pay particular attention to
the section entitled “Deal Breakers” on page 11
 Answer the questions in the right-hand column and discus them with
each other
We also have a fun homework exercise for you
What Does Your Ideal Marriage Look Like?
The final aspect of what you are bringing into your marriage is not as obvious
as the concrete behaviors we have looked at so far
We want to give you a chance to get in touch with how you would want to be
married if you could have your wildest dreams come true.
Refer the Engaged Couple to Page 9 of the Couple Pack.
The Dream Exercise is normally done as homework, but if you have the time, it
can be done as part of Session 2.
If it is to be done with you, invite the engaged couple to write their Dream for their
marriage. Give them time to write their dreams separately (5-10 minutes) and
then time to share what they have written with each other (5-10 minutes).
When they are finished, take some time to discuss their responses with you.
Write your Dream for your relationship with each other
 This is not intended to be a realistic plan
 If you had no constraints and unlimited resources, how would you be
with each other?
 Be specific!
 Would you play together? Work together?
 How much would you talk, or make love?
 How much would you share feeling, hopes, and dreams?
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 Would you pray together?
 How would you pay attention to one another?
 What would you want most for yourselves?
Don't worry about how possible or practical it is. Think only about the two of
you, and let the dream that's in your heart emerge.
Putting the Dream into Perspective
This section is only done if the Dream Exercise is done as part of Session 2.
Otherwise it is covered at the beginning of Session 3.
Were you surprised by your fiancé(e)’s dream?
Were you surprised with your own dream?
There is a kernel of truth or reality that speaks to a heartfelt need for
adventure, peace, security, companionship, or freedom, something that really
needs to be built into their life to be happy
No matter what their circumstances, it is possible to have that kernel of what’s
important present in some way, and it’s a gift they can recognize and give
each other.
Set a date for Session 3.
Confirm when you will meet again
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Session 3
Communicating for Intimacy
This session is an experiential lesson in identifying, describing and sharing
feelings. It includes active listening and how to create an atmosphere of attentive
acceptance that makes vulnerability possible. These are powerful tools for
building intimacy and deepening trust.
Warm welcome
Tell them how happy you are to see them
How have they been?
 Are they stressing over anything at home or at work?
 Did they have a good or bad week in terms of spending time with each
 What are they most looking forward to in the near term?
Review Homework from Session 2
What was their experience of consciously choosing to use their fiancé(e)’s
preferred love gestures? Love Language?
How did they feel being loved the way they like being loved?
What did they learn about themselves from the Reflection on Expectations?
Putting the Dream Exercise into Perspective
This section is only done if the Dream Exercise was done as Session 2
Homework. Otherwise it would have been covered during Session 2.
Were you surprised by your fiancé(e)’s dream?
Were you surprised with your own dream?
There is a kernel of truth or reality that speaks to a heartfelt need for
adventure, peace, security, companionship, or freedom, something that really
needs to be built into your life to be happy
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No matter what their circumstances, it is possible to have that kernel of what’s
important present in some way, and it’s a gift you can recognize and give
each other.
Do you have any questions about anything that was in the Session 2 Couple
Tonight’s Topic: Communicating for Intimacy
Communication is the Life-blood of relationship
 You can’t love what you don’t know
What is their general pattern of verbal communication?
 Who is talkative? Who is quiet?
 Do they talk to think, or think to talk?
If either one or both of the Engaged Couple has done a Meyers-Briggs Inventory
and the Mentor Couple is also familiar with this tool, feel free to discuss some of
the implications within your level of experience and understanding. It is helpful to
identify significant differences in general patterns of communication so that they
can be honored and taken into account. This is not however a major thrust of
this session.
We make a distinction between communicating to transfer information and
communicating to build Intimacy
 Both are important, however, good communication of information can
be done with anyone while building intimacy is for deeply committed
belonging relationships
 Information transfer is focused on understanding the message
 Communicating for intimacy is focused on experiencing the person
 It’s the difference between knowing about someone and
knowing someone
The general rule is that all good communication is “other-centered”
 The person talking should make it easy for the other to listen
 The person listening should make it easy for the other to speak
There are many skills and techniques for communicating information well
 We will discuss a few but most of the session will be about building
Communicating for Intimacy will be something new
 Requires absolute attention
 Provides an experience of total acceptance
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Exchange of information
There are two parts to communication - sending and receiving
 If either breaks down, communication suffers
All communication passes through the unique personal filters in the brain of
both the sender and the receiver
 Miscommunication is always a risk
Awareness of potential pitfalls will help us communicate more effectively
General Principles
The following should be peppered with examples and illustrations from your life
Clarify what you think you heard, especially if you know you weren’t
listening well or you are taken aback by what you think you heard
 By asking, “Do you mean…?” we give our fiancé(e) a chance to
help us understand what they really meant and we don’t run off
acting on what we heard erroneously.
Share a personal example or use the illustration from the Reflection Point on
Page 3 of the Couple Pack
“What I hear you saying is…”
 Requires more openness
 It takes trust to reveal what your filters are telling you
 Also, gives our spouse a chance to correct a potential
If you want to be heard, pick a good time for the receiver
 It’s hard for the receiver to listen when they’re stressed,
preoccupied, or in a hurry
 Calling after someone who is running out the door on their way
to work or trying to engage them in an important conversation
when they are in the middle of a frustrating project generally
doesn’t work well
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If you’re the receiver, in order to listen well, you have to pay attention
You can’t really pay attention if you’re doing something else
 A good practice is to stop what you’re doing and look at the
If you have something very important to say, use a catch phrase to
signal this fact
 “I have Something I really need you to hear”
 Signals you are about to make yourself vulnerable
Share personally what you do to alert each other
 Wait until you have the receiver’s undivided attention
It doesn’t do any good to start talking before the other is
ready to listen
Some people use “Shared Messages”
 “I have a shared message for you”
 This signals the start of a prearranged verbal interchange
Especially useful when you have a worry or concern
 The receiver repeats back verbatim what they heard
 We retain only 30% of what we hear but 70% of what we
hear and say
 The sender acknowledges that the message was received as
intended or repeats what they wanted to say
 Repeat the process until the message is received exactly as
Communicating specifically to build intimacy
The kind of communication that builds trust and deepens intimacy is
conversation about the two of us
 Not about other persons, places, or things
 Sharing who you are, not just talking
 You can talk to any one, but you only “share” with someone you
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Hand out the Session 3 Couple Pack and refer the Engaged Couple to the
TRUST Chart on page 4. Point out that Trust increases from Bottom to Top.
Couple communication may include everything on the chart, but we should
consciously make an effort to increase the amount of communication that we
would describe as “Open”.
The most intimate communication is about the two of us right here and now in
the present moment, not the past or future
 It is real and alive, a present dialogue or exchange of personhood
 The experience is very sexy for a woman because it is her way of
getting inside her man
 It is very exciting for her
There are two parts to openness
 Willingness to reveal myself
 This is a kind of “emotional” nakedness
 It is a Gift of Self when you trust each other enough to be real,
to share who you are and what you are experiencing
 Requires vulnerability
 Builds on and deepens openness, honesty, and trust in
the other’s love and acceptance
 Willingness to accept you
 This is communicated by “passionate” involvement, meaning,
being as “present” to the other as possible
 Experiencing acceptance of who you are is extremely
affirming and liberating
You can encourage and enable openness by choosing to be responsive
 There are two parts to responsiveness
 Paying attention (tuning in) with all your senses
 Eagerness to reassure the other of your love and devotion
Communicating for intimacy sets you up for success in your efforts to love
one another
 The more known and accepted you are, the more loved you feel
 The better you know the other’s interior self the more aware of and
responsive to them you can be
 It helps us feel emotionally connected – tuned in and close – which in
turn, feeds the sexual atmosphere between us
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Sharing Feelings
The best way we know to actively build intimacy is to communicate on a
“Feeling” level (find this in Column 3 of the TRUST Chart)
 Gets away from thoughts and judgments
 Provides a common denominator that crosses gender lines
 Deeply personal
 Our feelings are the most uniquely personal part of us
 We can “think” the same way or have the same “opinion” but
feel very differently
The Mentor Couple should illustrate this with their own specific example of
thinking the same but feeling very differently. Some possible examples might
deal with decisions to stay at home with the children or continuing to work,
traveling with the job, choosing schools for the children, deciding where to go on
vacation or where to live.
Sharing feelings has a long term impact on relationship that is absolutely
 Builds trust and vulnerability
 Develops attitudes of unconditional acceptance
 Enables us to discover the uniqueness of each other
 Helps us to be more aware of and sensitive to each other
 Has a powerfully renewing effect on the relationship
 It creates excitement and discovery because our feelings are
always new, so unique, and often unanticipated
Definition of Feelings
Feelings are the emotions and physical sensations that come over us without
involving our will
 Unlike our opinions, beliefs, and judgments, we do not choose them
 They are like the “weather” inside us
Feelings are unique and personal
 No one else feels exactly the same way you do
 Feelings tell us something about who we are deep inside
Feelings have no morality
Feelings have no morality because they are not chosen
 What you do with your feelings may have morality
There is no right or wrong way to feel
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You don’t ask for them, they just are
Describing Feelings
No one can capture a feeling precisely so we have to describe it in as much
detail as possible
Start with a “Feeling” word
 Happy, sad, enthusiastic, cheerful, contented, angry, frustrated...
Next, add adjectives that describe the feeling more specifically, i.e. “what kind
of” happy?
 A “bursting with excitement” kind of happy
 A calm and gentle, peaceful kind of carefree
Paint a picture using as many similes as you can – “I feel ____ like _____”
 Happy like laughing at a good joke, cheerful like heading out for a day
of fun with friends
 Burdened or stressed like when people are yelling at you from all
 Hot and uncomfortable like a tight, itchy, wool sweater on a warm day
 Overloaded like carrying four bags of groceries at once
 Carefree like a picnic in the park on a summer day, like a kid flying a
kite, a museum on a Sunday afternoon, or picking up sea shells on the
 Fresh and clean like a spring breeze or a light blue sky with fluffy
cumulus clouds
Refer back to shared experiences
 Playful and free like we used to feel horseback riding back in the park
 Quiet and serene like we felt floating in the rowboat on the mountain
lake early in the morning
Use “Emotional Word Pictures”
 Describe a scene or situation that captures what you’re experiencing
 “Imagine being surrounded by all your best friends, eating,
drinking, laughing on a beautiful lazy afternoon in summer”
Use colors, textures, smells, tastes anything that helps to make the feeling
come alive
 “If it were a color it would be a pale yellow, smooth like glass, and
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 Physical sensations
 Light on my feet, cheery
 Warm and clammy
Avoid “I feel that…”
 Expresses a judgment or thought, not a feeling
 You can disagree or argue with a judgment
Refer the engaged couple to page 5 of the Couple Pack. Point out the three
illustrations of describing feelings and suggest that these are good examples to
read over and refer back to when they are trying to communicate what they are
Also, point out the list of “Feeling” words on page 6 that can help them to get
started when trying to identify how they are feeling.
Ask the engaged couple to read the section entitled “Love is not a feeling” on the
bottom of page 5 of the Couple Pack. As necessary, elaborate on the concept
that love is in the will.
 We can use our will to choose to love, to do the loving thing, even if we are not
“feeling” loving.
 We “decide” to love with our will, to reach out, to flirt, to risk for love’s sake
 When we act mechanically with one another, we are not using our will; so, we
are not being as loving as we could be.
Use brief, personal examples from your life as much as possible.
If time permits, it is always helpful for the Mentor Couple to model the description
of feelings by reading a vivid description of a feeling from a letter of their own.
This simplifies while reinforcing the teaching about describing feelings and
makes it come alive for the engaged couple. It also makes the Love Letter
Exercise that is coming up more attractive.
Value of Writing
When describing feelings, writing is a valuable tool
 Writing gives the less verbal person equal time
 Writing avoids the tendency to change what you are going to say if you
read a reaction on the listener’s face
 Writing enables you to become aware of a depth of feelings you would
not get in touch with otherwise
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When you write to each other, start with affirmation
 Write one thing that you appreciate, find attractive, or endearing about
the other
 This keeps things in perspective
 You have a love history that is bigger than what you are writing
 It reminds you of why you are sharing your feelings and with whom
Listening to Feelings
We also need to listen well.
 Listening sets the stage for both husband and wife but especially for
the woman. It melts her.
 If we were meant to talk more than listen, God would have given
us two mouths and one ear.
 Listening is a truly loving act because it is so intrinsically othercentered
Listening to feelings is a very active effort to understand what it is like to be
the other
 Pay attention
 Cultivate a strong sexual atmosphere
 Eye contact
 Touch
 Receptive body language
 Communicate a desire to be close
 Passionate involvement
 Use all your senses
 Hear the tone of voice, the quiver, the excitement, the passion
 See the look on the other’s face, notice if they are relaxed or
 Touch them to encourage or reassure them
 Imagine tastes or smells that describe the feelings
 Seek to experience the person behind the words
 Focus on what it is like to be the other
 Effect an other-centered orientation that is disinterested in self
 Avoid Listening with your motor running
 Thinking about how this is going to affect you?
 Getting your answer ready
 Trying to solve the problem
 Looking for an opportunity to interrupt with what you want to say
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Focus on the feeling apart from the issue or situation that prompted it
 Relate your fiancé(e)’s feelings to ones that you have had
yourself, most likely in a completely different context
 If he feels “anxious,” ask yourself, “When have I felt
anxious and how did anxious feel for me?”
 The context does not matter
 It is immaterial whether you would feel the same as he or
she about a given issue or in any particular situation or
Active listening moves from concern about how the other sees me or what I
will have to do in response to excitement about discovering who the other is
Responding to Feelings
The most loving response is not only to accept the other’s feeling but to
actually seek to take it on yourself
There are typically three possible levels of response
 Resistance
 We can be uncomfortable with the other’s feelings either
because we are defensive or we don’t want to get involved
 We may feel blamed for their feelings
 We may have an attitude of superiority because we don’t think
we would react the same way in similar circumstances
 We resist the other’s feelings by dismissing, preempting, or
patronizing them
 “I’m sorry you feel that way”
 Sympathy
 Most of the time, couples in love honestly try to be sympathetic
 Willing to listen to and attempt to understand the other
 Sympathy can be characterized by great compassion
 Validation of the feelings
 Support and caring for the person
 It has it’s limitations
 Generally, it provides a sounding board or receptive ear
while maintaining an intellectual or emotional distance
 Sympathy, by itself, is less than what we need or have a right to
expect from our fiancé(e) and future spouse
 Active Involvement
 Active Involvement is the most loving way to respond to
another’s feelings
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 It is a deliberate effort to get out of ourselves and taste what it is
like to be the other
 Relate to their feeling by calling to mind times when you
have felt similarly in circumstances unrelated to this issue
 Resurface what we have felt in the past in order to feel
close to the person we love in the present
 Actually share in their experience
 Active Involvement allows us to unite emotionally at a very
human level
The objective is to accept the other’s feelings so that they feel accepted and
loved just the way they are
By seeking to experience the other’s feeling , you open yourself to the
possibility of really knowing what it’s like to be them in this situation
 Ask clarifying questions
 Describe back similar feelings that you had in some other situation
 Continue back and forth until you can taste the feeling as if it were your
Sharing difficult feelings
Sharing feelings always bonds and draws us closer but sharing “difficult”
feelings can have an even more powerful impact on relationship.
What are “difficult” feelings
The most difficult feelings to share tend to be those that are associated
with the most trusting, intimate relationships
 Feelings I do not like in myself
 Feelings that are opposite to how I want you to see me
 Feelings I judge will upset you
 Feelings I judge will let others down, especially you
Sharing difficult feelings has an immediate, positive impact
 They make us real to each other
 They tenderize us and make us more responsive
 They grow and deepen the level of trust
 They offer the greatest possible experience of unconditional
acceptance which is itself incredibly affirming and solidifying
 Increased vulnerability leads to increased intimacy
 The result is often euphoric
Over time, the impact is liberating. We become more generous and more
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We are at our most generous and other-centered when we feel most
loved and accepted
Deepening the trust level opens the door to every kind of intimacy shared prayer, spiritual as well as emotional lives
The overall impact is transfiguring
 Make it a weekly or even daily vitamin.
The Mentor Couple shares their experience of writing and dialoguing on the
question, “What is the most difficult feeling for me to share with you today?”
Once we have shared that which is extremely difficult and experience being
accepted even when we have difficulty accepting ourselves, we feel truly
 We cannot hide from the fact that we are loved
 We cannot make excuses or put ourselves down as being unworthy
 We are simply and undeniably loved just the way we are
We can use feelings to bridge areas of tension or misunderstanding, if we
have established a practice of sharing them and learned to trust each other
with our emotional nakedness.
 Never share feelings to manipulate the other’s behavior
 Don’t blame the other for your feelings
 This is not a problem solving technique. It is only used to know the
other better
 The end result, however, is that we will be better able to
address issues or decide on an appropriate course of action if
we have shared our feelings first. This concept will be covered
in more detail in Sessions 6 and 7
Share a personal example of how sharing feelings helped you to a deeper level
of understanding, compassion, or acceptance in an area where there was
tension or misunderstanding
Love Letter Exercise
Select an area for dialogue
The Mentor Couple explains that they would like to provide an opportunity for the
engaged couple to experience sharing on a feeling level. To do this, the
engaged couple needs to agree on an area or situation about which they will
share their feelings. The Mentor Couple may already be aware of an area that
would be good for them to share on but give them a chance to identify something
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Have the engaged couple think of an area (e.g. wedding plans, relatives, money,
sex, children, health) where they do not understand each others feelings or
where there is some tension, misunderstanding, or distance. They need to agree
on one area. There may be several, but they need to select one for the purposes
of this exercise
 One of them may suggest an area in which the other was not aware of any
tension or misunderstanding
That one will be urgent to be finally understood. The other will be
bewildered and perhaps defensive but generally willing to go along to find
out something they didn’t know
 More likely, they will both be very much aware that there is a touchy subject or
there has been disagreement in the area suggested
There will be some trepidation at opening up an area that they have had
trouble with and are probably avoiding, but you have already convinced
them from your witness that this is important and the outcome will be worth
the effort and risk
If they have trouble identifying an area, the Mentor Couple will need to help by
probing for an area, or perhaps a subject that they avoid or don’t feel comfortable
talking about.
If there is no obvious area, just have the Engaged Couple select a question from
those listed on page 8 of the Couple Pack.
Formulate a question
Formulating the question is very important, the more specific, the better. Craft
the question together so that it is unambiguous and clearly understood.
Use the formula, “How do I feel (when, about…)?”
The couple may phrase their individual questions slightly differently, e.g. Bob
may write on “How do I feel when I am not pleased with the way our wedding
plans are going? And Susan may write on “How do I feel when Bob is not
pleased with the way our wedding plans are going?”
When the questions can be clearly stated, have the engaged couple each write
their question in their Couple Pack on page 8 toward the bottom of the left-hand
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Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
Page 3 - 13
Tell the engaged couple that you will give them time to write and then call them
back for some additional instructions before they share what they have written
with each other.
Write a Love Letter expressing feelings in response to the question you have
agreed on
 We’re not talking about a Valentine
 It’s a love letter because it starts with “Dear”, it ends with “Love”
and it contains a generous gift of self
 Begin with affirmation
 Identify a feeling
 Focus on the strongest feeling
 Write down all your feelings until one emerges as the
 Don’t dwell on why you feel the way you do
 Avoid judgments and thoughts
 Don’t blame the other for making you feel the way you do
 Describe the feeling in as much detail as possible using adjectives,
similes (at least 5), and/or word pictures
 Don’t be satisfied with one or two descriptive adjectives or
 Push yourself to add more detail or describe your feeling in
other ways
 You will be amazed at what you get in touch with if you
keep writing
Point out that the instructions for Writing and space to write begin on page 8 of
the Couple Pack. If helpful, they can refer back to the list of Feeling Words on
page 6 and the examples of how to describe feelings on page 5.
Make sure that they know that they can signal you if they need help with the
writing. Share any examples you may have of helping other engaged couples
with their writing.
Encourage them to be open with what they are feeling and to describe their
feelings in as much detail as possible
Have one member of the couple move to a different room to write so that neither
is distracted watching the other
Give the couple 10-15 minutes to write and then bring them back together.
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Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
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Instructions for Exchange and Dialogue
When the Engaged Couple has finished writing, invite them to share their letters
with each other following the steps outlined on page 10 of the Couple Pack.
Encourage them to get in touch with one another (literally) and create a strong
sexual atmosphere. If there is any tension, this could mean just sitting close,
holding hands, and looking into each other’s eyes without saying anything.
Then, exchange letters or read what you have written to each other. Listen
actively. Finally, select the strongest feeling and focus first on that.
When you have finished the first person’s feeling, go on to the other’s strongest
Sharing the feelings goes beyond just reading or listening to what the other
has written
 More than intellectual understanding
The goal is to take on the other’s feeling, empathizing so completely that you
get a taste of what it is like to be them
 Invite God into your sharing
 To help you listen well
 To give you the trust or courage to read what you’ve written
 Each of you, read your letter to your fiancé(e)
 Read it twice
 Select the strongest feeling from the two letters
 Describe the feeling in that letter in greater detail until both experience
it fully
 Listen actively
 Think of times when you have felt similarly in some other
context or situation
 Bring those times to mind and the feelings associated
with them
 Ask clarifying questions – “Is it ____ like _____”
 Describe your similar feelings to see if they are like those you
are listening to
 Focus on the dissimilarities and ask for more descriptive detail
using different words and similes
 Do not discuss the situation
 Simply feel the feeling with your fiancé(e)
Repeat the process focusing on the other fiancé(e)’s strongest feeling
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7 March 2011
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Discuss the Dialogue Experience
After the couple finishes their dialogue, spend some time with them to discuss
how the process worked for them and suggest how it might have been even
more effective. Here, the Mentor must be very hands on. Do not be afraid to ask
what the feeling was, and then, actually help him or her describe it better and
help the other to relate to it. They trust you and you can make all the difference
in the world for them.
You are interested in whether or not they felt listened to and accepted. If not, try
to help them see what would have made it better for them. If the feelings they
shared were on the surface, help them to get in touch with what may be below
the surface.
If they actually hurt each other by rejecting each others feelings, it will be
important to debrief what happened and help them see what went wrong and
Do not let them go home without a taste of what it is like to be the other in this
circumstance. Don’t let them settle for head knowledge of the other. They
should know exactly where they got to and where they have to work further to
accomplish a higher degree of empathy. It is so important to send them home
with marching orders, because if we settle for less than a fabulous experience,
they will not be enthused enough to practice on their own, allow it to impact the
way they communicate, and make it an important part of their lives.
Whose feeling did you try to share first?
What label did you put on the feeling?
(To the other fiancée) Were you able to think of a time in your own life when
you felt similarly? When?
In what ways were your feelings similar? How were they different?
Did you each feel listened to? Accepted?
You can do this at home, anytime
 Selecting a question is easy
 Just start with the phrase, “How do I feel about…”
Assign Homework
Be sure to read through the entire Couple Pack
 It will review and reinforce all that we discussed tonight
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Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
Page 3 - 16
Point out the Homework for Session 3 on page 10 of the Couple Pack.
Write and Dialogue several more times before we meet again
Pick at least one question from each of the three suggested categories
 Playful Discovery
 Building Intimacy
 Building Trust
Point out Skill # 4, Writing and Sharing of Feelings also on page 10 of the Couple
The more we share on a feeling level, the easier it is to do so
 Ask each other how you are feeling as a normal part of your every-day
 Emotionally not just physically
 Make it a habit to tell each other about the strongest feeling you have
each day
Set a Date for Next Time
Confirm when you will meet again
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Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
Page 3 - 17
Session 4
Sex, Sacred Body language
Session 4 builds off the foundations of communicating for intimacy and offers the
engaged couple the tools that will facilitate the most powerful means to preserve
their excitement, enthusiasm, and joy for the rest of their lives. This really is the
key to Living “In” Love.
Warm welcome and Recap of Homework
What has been your experience of identifying and sharing feelings since the
last session?
Did you write on any other subject(s)? Was the writing helpful?
Did you include intentional affirmation?
How has additional affirmation impacted your relationship?
Are your active listening skills improving?
Prayer: Mentor couple prays for the engaged couple
If you have not yet prayed with the engaged couple at the start of a session, do
so for Session 4. Simply invite them to pray and extend your hand to them.
Explain that they may pray if they like but it is not expected.
In thanksgiving for the closeness and understanding already achieved
In affirmation of their openness to each other
To invite the Holy Spirit to bless our words tonight
For enlightenment, insight, and enthusiasm
Last week we talked about Communication
 Communicating for intimacy primarily using verbal skills
This week we will talk about Sexuality and the role of sexual communication
in building intimacy
Review of Sexuality
Ask the Engaged Couple:
“What do you remember about our discussion of “sexuality” during the first
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Mentor Outline
Page 4 - 1
What specifically did they take away? They may need a little prompting. We
talked about gender differences, but more importantly, we defined sexuality in
relational terms. Let them talk; then fill in as necessary to reinforce the points
covered below.
 Most interesting differences are in brain function and hormonal drives
- Lateral left-brain vs. more connectors and right brain dominant
- Testosterone drive to accomplish and conquer vs estrogen-laden
responsiveness and moods
 We defined Sexuality in terms of our ability to be attracted out of
ourselves into relationship with the opposite sex and our attractiveness
to the opposite sex
 We talked about how Masculinity and Femininity are characteristic
behaviors developed in relationship
They are unique to us and our personal relationships
 We observed a universal appreciation for power (Men) and beauty (Women)
Sexual Atmosphere
Sexual Atmosphere is a term we use to describe the climate between us
when we allow our masculinity and femininity to manifest itself and effect the
way we interrelate
We are always better with one another when the sexual atmosphere between
us is strong
Most playful, tender, open, responsive, generous, and other-centered
All marital interactions are intended to be highly sexual
Sexuality is what makes them marital
Our best communication occurs in a sexual atmosphere
Sexuality naturally draws us into unity
Mentor Couple shares an illustration of how their communication is improved
when the sexual atmosphere is strong
In Session 1, we talked about sexuality. This evening, in the context of
building intimacy, we will talk about sex
Before we influence you any further, it will be helpful for you to get in touch
with your own basic attitude about sex
Just complete the sentence, “Sex is…” off the top of your head
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Mentor Outline
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Hand out the Couple Pack and point the Engaged Couple to page 2. Ask them
to write their individual responses to question, “How would you complete this
sentence, ‘Sex is…’”
Ask them how they responded and validate their responses but if they do not
come up with it on their own, posit that above all, in a strong healthy relationship,
Sex is Communication
There are three kinds of communication
Verbal – what we say
Non-verbal – facial expressions and body language in general
Sexual communication is nonverbal and verbal communication which
takes place in a strong sexual atmosphere and specifically expresses
our love for the other or our desire to be close
Sex as Activity
The culture would have us believe that sex is only an activity, something we
It’s not our fault that we have been desensitized, but the attitude that
sex is an activity can severely handicap a marriage
 This attitude leads to self-conscious behavior, selfcenteredness, concerns about performance, impersonal
interactions, feelings of being used, guilt, control, and
 When we treat sex as an activity, we tend to think of it as a form
of recreation
 It will get a lower priority than other activities that
seem more serious or responsible
 Cooking, cleaning, chores, work
 We will limit sexual communication to those times
when we allow ourselves to have fun
 When we’re on vacation, feeling celebrative, or “in
the mood”
Mentor Couple shares what happens to their relationship and possibly how they
feel when they approach or experience sex as an activity rather than
communication. Things like:
 Shallow
 Sex losing its meaning
 Dishonest
 Feeling used
 Alienated
 Mind wandering while making love
 Ashamed
 Lying in bed feeling lonely
 Impersonal
 Wondering, “Is that all there is?”
Ultimately, these lead to the modern phenomenon of “Sex starved” marriages.
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Mentor Outline
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If sex is approached as an activity, it will inevitably lose its original
meaning and its profound message
Without that meaning, the less priority it will have in the marriage and
the more frequently the wife will discourage, avoid, or simply say,
“No”, to intercourse
 She is not experiencing sex as “love making”
 She thinks she is saying “No” to an activity
Experiencing “No” is devastating to the husband
 He hears her saying “No” to him
 It cuts him off from his preferred means to achieving intimacy
 He will feel isolated and withdraw from relationship
Male / Female preferences for achieving Intimacy
Activity does not produce intimacy, only communication does
Men are most comfortable pursuing intimacy through touch, bonding, eye
contact and non-verbal sexual communication in general
Sexual communication is a man’s preferred way of getting close
Once he feels close he can open up verbally, share feelings, dreams
and fears
A man needs to feel safe sexually in order to be vulnerable
 Men tend to open up and talk after lovemaking
Women are most comfortable with pursuing intimacy through deep intimate
personal conversation
Women need to talk before lovemaking
Saying, “Yes” when there has been no experience of verbal intimacy
is like asking her to make love to a stranger
“No” feels to him exactly like his refusing to talk feels to her
 Shut out rejected, isolated, controlled, abandoned
Sex as Communication
Sacred Body Language
In marriage, sex is a way of communicating our desire to be one
God’s plan for us is Unity in all things
 “The two shall become one”
 “One in mind, heart, and affection”
 “Two in one flesh”
John Paul II calls intercourse, “Sacred Body Language”
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Mentor Outline
Page 4 - 4
Sexual communication is a sacred trust
The messages are inherently sacred
 Expressions of love using God’s gift of sexuality
We trust what the body is saying
Give an example of how we believe what the body is saying more than the words
Then, verbalize the specific messages being communicated by non-verbal
actions typical of a relationship as it develops naturally from attraction to deep
and permanent commitment.
 Holding Hands – I’m willing to be seen with you, I like you
 Arm around the waist or shoulder, Embracing, Snuggling – I enjoy being close
to you, I like feeling you near me, I want to spend time with you
 First Kiss on the lips (this is so significant because it clearly says something
and takes the relationship to a different level)– we are now romantically
involved, you are special, I don’t say this to just anyone
 Necking – I’m strongly attracted to you, I want to say things to you that I
don’t know how to express with words
 Caressing, Fondling – You excite me, I want to discover who you are
The Message of intercourse
When a couple honestly and sincerely are ready to say:
I accept you in full knowledge of who you are
I want to be family with you
I offer you all my genetic history and desire to mix our blood lines
I love you and your children and your children’s children for all eternity
I want to be one with you
I am permanently committed to you
I love you totally
I want to give you my whole self
They will naturally desire to express themselves through the use of their
 The genitals link us with generations past and future and so
communicate permanence
For married couples, it is helpful to ask ourselves, “What do I want to say to
you tonight?”
Reminds us that we really are communicating
Helps us to concentrate on the message
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Mentor Outline
Page 4 - 5
The Mentor Couple shares their experience of sex as communication:
Eye contact
Verbalization of messages
Experience of love-making as always new in the present moment
The most intimate kind of communication
Potentially the most affirming because we believe it
Not about positions or physical sensations but complete surrender and
 Prayer before during or after intercourse
These are incredibly affirming messages, when they are true
They can only be really true in the context of Marriage
They are absolutely devastating when they are false
Being lied to hurts
 People feel used when lied to
 People feel guilty and ashamed when they are insincere
Accepting half-truths desensitize us to the full potential of the most sacred of
If you use language to mean something else, it is hard to change
it’s meaning
 Example: the word “Gay” used to mean lively and fun
 It is hard to hear it that way now that it has been used differently
Having said it to others does not make it more special
 It makes it less believable
In a non-judgmental fashion, explain matter-of-factly that the engaged couple’s
sexual history will affect their sexual communication, but whatever their history,
individually or together, it can be dealt with and overcome.
If the engaged couple has told you or if you have reason to believe that both of
them are virgin, the Mentor Couple should seize this opportunity to affirm their
chastity. Convince them that they have made a great choice, and because of
that choice, they will be the best possible gift to each other. They will appreciate
their gift of chastity as long as they live.
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Mentor Outline
Page 4 - 6
We can’t change the past, but we can work to overcome attitudes of
superiority, memories of others, and comparisons
Because Pre-Marital Sex was most likely approached as an activity,
there are likely to be many incentives to approach it differently
Obviously, the ideal is that you have never said this to any one else
before and will wait until it is completely true to say it to your future
If you have had other partners:
Memories of other people can hinder the sense of your spouse being
Attitudes of inferiority or superiority may be present
It will likely be more difficult to trust in general
 Based on the residual pain or disillusionment from the prior
If you have had sex with each other:
It will be more difficult to trust the message of permanence
 If it did not mean “permanent” before, why does it now?
 What will be different after the wedding?
It will be more difficult to assign a new sacramental meaning
 Because it is not true yet, pre-marital sex can desensitize you to
the future meaning within the sacrament
If possible, give an example of how it is not true yet and how pre-marital sex will
desensitize them and make it more difficult to appreciate the full meaning of
sexual communication within the Sacrament of Matrimony
Tell them that we are not going to ask them if they have slept together, but if they
have or are, we will ask them to stop, for the sake of their marriage, until after
their wedding
If you are bringing baggage into your marriage, the antidote is to work even
harder at communicating the messages you want your spouse to hear
If you are not bringing baggage into your marriage, approaching sex as
communication is the key to a life-long romantic relationship
love-making will continue to be the most incredible, exciting, joyful
means of expressing your love for one another
 God made it that way
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Mentor Outline
Page 4 - 7
Intercourse is clearly the body language that speaks the vows you will take at
the altar on your wedding day
 Approaching sex as communication makes all the difference between
just “having sex” and truly “making love”
Most people have heard the alarming statistics that indicate that couples who
cohabitate are twice as likely to divorce as those who do not
 One reason is that we behave differently when there is a position to
retreat to and that becomes our “normal” way of being with each other
 We hold onto our independence
 We tend to exercise less self-control both verbally and
 We compromise the message of “permanence” that intercourse
is intended to communicate
 It’s almost as if cohabitation inoculates us against the full potential of
 Like with a vaccine, we take a little bit of a disease in order to
prevent us from experiencing the real thing
Refer the Engaged Couple to page 8 of the Participant Pack and have them do
the Couple Exercise. After they have shared their responses with each other,
ask them questions like:
 Did they learn anything new about themselves or the other?
 Are they in agreement about the number of children and how soon to have
Eventually, the Mentor Couple needs to lead the conversation back to the issue
of Birth Control
Woman will also say “No” to sex if there is a fear of pregnancy
Birth control is primarily a trust issue.
Women find it difficult to trust that their husbands will be as involved
and invested in the children, as they must be if he is uninvolved with
them emotionally.
The Mentor couple shares their personal experience of learning to trust each
other, inviting God into their decisions about having children, and embracing
Natural Family Planning.
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 4 - 8
Introduce the idea of Praying for the grace to want what God wants.
 Ask God to give you His desire for any child He wishes you to have – to desire
the child as much as He does, and
 If it is not His desire for you to conceive a child at this time, that you will
experience the grace of contentment and be filled with enthusiasm for other
ways to allow your love to give life
Couples who have experienced both contraception and openness to life tell us
that there is a dramatic difference in the actual experience of love-making.
Mentors have the option of sharing the following content or personalizing their
own experience if they believe it would be helpful for the engaged couple.
Openness to Life says:
Contraception says:
 I trust you and God
 I trust chemicals
 I give my whole self to you
 I hold back my fertility
 I want more of you in the world
 I do not want your child
 I invite God into our sexual love
 I am not open to God’s influence or
presence in our sexual love
 I respect my fertility and rejoice
In being healthy
 I am hostile toward my fertility and
accept the risk of destroying it
chemically or surgically
Effectiveness and Benefits of Natural Family Planning (NFP)
The Church supports you in your prayerful discernment about when to have
children and how many to have
It is your responsibility and your choice, just don’t leave God out
The Church asks us not to be selfish nor careless
The most effective and healthiest way to cooperate with each other and with
God is to use Natural Family Planning
More effective than the pill, no side effects.
Draws you closer in shared responsibility and intimacy
Empowers you to maximize your opportunity for conception if you
desire to have a baby
Encourages you to pay attention to the sexual atmosphere between
you if you are abstaining to avoid conception
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Mentor Outline
Page 4 - 9
Creates an exciting awareness of paternity and maternity
Requires only 2 evenings of training with a month in between to
practice and ask questions.
Contact Archdiocese Family Life or Couple to Couple League
 Give them the appropriate phone numbers and the date and
location of the next available class
Give the Engaged Couple the Diocesan Brochure and phone numbers and the
Pamphlet, “A Total Gift of Self”
Assign and Explain Homework
Point out “Speaking the Message” on page 10 of the Couple Pack and the Take
Home Exercise on pages 11-13.
It is helpful to motivate the engaged couple to do the “Speaking the Message”
homework by sharing personally your own experience of dong this or the
experiences that other engaged couples have shared with you.
To train you to make love most powerfully start by putting verbal language on
each and every physical act of affection, all your present body language
What do I want to say to you when I put my arm around you, or hold
your hand, or kiss your lips
You may find this awkward or contrived at first, but in the end, you will
appreciate the messages more than ever
You will also begin to make the connection between actions that we often
take for granted and the fact that that those actions are communication
Do this until we meet again
Answer all six questions on pages 11-13 of the Couple Pack and share your
responses with each other
As always, read through the entire Couple Pack
 Pay special attention to the section on cohabitation on page 13 and the
quotes from the Theology of the Body on pages 14-16
Set a Date for Session 5
Confirm when you will meet again
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Mentor Outline
Page 4 - 10
Session 5
Sacrament in the Church
This is a night designed to fill the couple with a sense of awe at the significance
of their love for each other and a sense of mission to manifest the real presence
of Jesus in the midst of the community. We hope that they come away realizing
that their other-centered total mutual self-donation is a sign to all of us of Christ’s
own love for the church. In order to live this sacramental lifestyle they need to
embrace the reality that sexuality and holiness are inherently linked and mutually
Warm welcome and Recap of Homework
What was your experience of verbalizing the messages of your non-verbal
sexual communication?
 Did it make the messages more meaningful for you?
 Did you become more aware of using actions to communicate?
The ability to understand the messages behind our actions will be even more
important in marriage and particularly during love making.
The Mentor Couple prays for the engaged couple
In thanksgiving for the closeness and understanding already achieved
In affirmation of their openness to each other
To invite the Holy Spirit to bless our words tonight
For enlightenment, insight, and enthusiasm
For a sense of awe and respect for the importance the church places in their
love for each other
Introduction to Sacrament
Begin with an ice breaker to get a feel for where the Engaged Couple is in their
relationship with God and the Church. The following questions are included in
the Couple Pack on page 2. If you wish to have the engaged couple write their
responses, you may pass out the Session 5 Couple Pack at this time; otherwise,
wait for the Couple Exercise which comes later.
Ask, “What do you think of when you hear the word ‘Church’?” The word
‘Sacrament’? The word ‘Marriage’? Ask these questions one at a time and
have both fiancé(e)s respond before going to the next question.
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 12
We are not looking for just a Catechism response, but rather for an everyday
personal experience of what these terms mean to them. There is no right or
wrong answer and the Mentor Couple should affirm whatever element of truth is
contained in each response and build on it. For example, if the engaged couple
thought of the building when they heard the word “church”, affirm that sacred
space is important and powerful. Our buildings are an expression of our devotion
and understanding of the glory of God. Much love and sacrifice went into
creating them. They connect us with our history and with memories of past
events like baptisms, weddings, and funerals. Then offer them other possible
answers. For example, many people hear the word “church” and think of the
community, the people of God, others think of the clergy, the bishops and Pope,
or the church’s doctrine.
Explain that when we refer to “church”, we are primarily referring to our faith
family, the community of believers who pray, support, and witness to us. They
may be friends, neighbors, or relatives, but if they are baptized, they are the
living Body of Christ in our lives.
Sacrament certainly implies something sacred or holy. Many of us memorized
the definition of a sacrament as “an outward sign instituted by God to give grace.”
The New Catechism of the Catholic Church says that, “The sacraments are
efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by
which divine life is dispensed to us.” A simple way to think about sacraments is
to recognize them as signs of the real presence of Christ and actions of the Holy
Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. Their purpose is to sanctify us, build up
the Body of Christ, and give worship to God. They presuppose faith and, by
words and objects, nourish, strengthen, and express our faith.
Marriage means many different things to different people, and during this
session, we will clarify what it means to our Catholic faith family.
There is no critique of the engaged couple’s response, just an appreciation of
where they are beginning this session and a clarification of the terms we will use
during the session.
Tonight we’re going to talk about the Sacrament of Matrimony
 We need a new word because we’re delving into something that goes
far beyond Marriage
Tonight is about transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary
Our very first evening together, we mentioned being called to a sense of
mission or vocation
 Matrimony is a life’s work not just a living situation
There is more to the “job description” than just “convince him or her that they
are loved and lovable”
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 13
The Church calls us to more, to raise the bar
 This is in our best interest
 The best defense against divorce is to live “in” love
 Maintain the sexual atmosphere
 Communicate to build intimacy, i.e. share feelings
 Choose to be “other-centered”
The Church also knows that Faith matters
 Same faith couples are more likely to remain married than Interfaith
couples 1
 Couples who share spiritual activities have the lowest divorce rate
 1980 Census – the first and only time the government collected
this data 2
 In 1980, one out of 3 marriages in the United States
ended in divorce
 If a couple married in church, the incidence of divorce
dropped to one out of 50
 If a couple married in church and prayed together as a
couple the rate of divorce dropped to one in 1105
 Faith experiences are bonding
 Faith communities hold out norms that turn out to be very positive for
marriage (e.g. no premarital sex or cohabitation)
 The sense of belonging and accountability to the community
make the values and accepted behaviors important
If necessary, refer back to the section on Cohabitation on page 13 of the Session
4 Couple Pack.
 Those who cohabit are 50% more likely to divorce than those who don’t. 3
(National Marriage Project)
In addition to the 1980 census, similar information was developed and reported in
a 2002 Wisconsin Study 4
Catholics married outside the church have a 50% divorce rate
Catholics married in the church have a 33% divorce rate
Catholics married in the church and using NFP have a 3.5% divorce rate
Catholics married in church who use NFP, go to mass together, and pray
together at home have a 0.09% divorce rate
 Spiritual intimacy, trust, the power of prayer, and a different operative
vision for marriage are probably all factors that contribute to these
dramatic statistics
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 14
The Difference Between Marriage and the Sacrament of Matrimony
Marriage Continuum
 Many things are called “marriage”
 One end – heterosexual cohabitation
 Sex but no commitment
 Secular Marriage
 Emphasis on mutual self-fulfillment
 Possible openness to children
 Christian Marriage
 Awareness of God and a desire to live marriage and family life
according to Christian principles
 Christ centered orientation
 Catholic marriage
 Includes all that Christian Marriage embraces but is more
specific in terms of the call from the church
 The Catholic Church asks a man and a woman to love each
other the way Christ loves the church as a sign to us of that
 Not just a sign, but a Sacrament
 A Sacrament is not just a symbol, it actually effects what
it symbolizes
 It develops in us the capacity to love the way
Christ loves
A Living Sign
On your wedding day, you will stand before the Community of the Faithful and
be asked to accept a mission to intentionally love each other the way Christ
loves the church
The Body of Christ will pray that grace into you
 We believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Sacrament of the
 The prayer of the church turns bread and wine into Jesus’ Body
and Blood
 We also believe that in your will to love each other, to literally give your
selves to each other, you will become a sacrament, and Jesus will be
literally present to us and to you in and through that love
 You will experience the real presence of Jesus in loving and
being loved
 The community will experience the real presence of Jesus
through you
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 15
The “sacrament” is not the wedding mass, the “sign“ is not the rings
You are the sign and you administer the sacrament to each other
 The priest only bears witness to your intentions and vows as the
representative or in the name of the community
You live the Sacrament every day in how other-centered and generous you
are in loving
Characteristics of Christ’s Love
For this Exercise, separate the fiancée’s. After you have separated them, give
them each a copy of the Session 5 Participant Pack, but have one turn to Page 3
and the other to Page 4. The Mentor Couple should arrange how they want to
handle this in advance. Give the instructions separately so that the one does not
know what the other is doing.
Have one (generally the less religious of the two) list the characteristics that they
have observed in the sexual love of the most “in-love” married couples they
know, or can even imagine.
Have the other name as many characteristics of the way Christ loves His people,
“us”, that they can articulate.
If they are not sure how to get started, suggest words like, constant, forgiving,
selfless, passionate, sacrificing, always there, permanent, etc.
Give them about five minutes to write down as many characteristics as they can,
then bring them together and have them read what they came up with.
The two sets of characteristics will inevitably be very similar although they may
not have used exactly the same words and you can translate or amplify their
words to bring home the point that we see the characteristics of Christ’s love in
the love between husbands and wives. You can also point out how the
characteristics of Christ’s love also apply to “in love” couples and how the
characteristics of “in love” couples also apply to Christ’s love.
We easily recognize these qualities because they are visible
It is no coincidence that Christ’s love can be expressed in sexual terms
 His desire to be “one” with us
 How passionately He pursues us
 How He gives His body and allows us to take Him inside us
St Augustine said that Matrimony was the sacrament most like the Eucharist
because of the self donation involved
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 16
 In “Familiaris Consortio”, an Apostolic Exhortation on the Role of the
Christian Family in the Modern World, our Holy Father, John Paul II
 “Couples are a permanent reminder to the church of what
happened on the cross”
The Love of Intimacy
The Apostle John wrote, “God is Love” and he who lives in love lives in God
and God in Him” (1 John 4: 16)
God is truly present in your love for one another
 You may have tasted it already but it will deepen when you marry
 The graces of the Sacrament will help you to love more
consistently and to heal when you hurt each other
 Your experience of sexual intimacy will increase trust and othercentered generosity
 It will become the closest image we have on earth to the intimacy of
the Holy Trinity
 Three persons in one God, two persons in one couple
 Through the Unity accomplished through a life of total mutual
self-donation a couple has the potential to experience the
essence of God’s inner nature
 It is a Love of Intimacy
 It is who God really is
 Look for Him to be present
 There is so much more in store for you when you invite God into your
 A great way to invite Him in is to make a good confession before
your wedding day
Marriage bed crucifix
A Catholic tradition is to have a “Marriage Bed” crucifix in the bedroom
 The reason is to remind a couple that their gift of self in making love is
very much like Christ’s gift of self on the cross
 It is our primary way of loving, and so, it is also “redeeming”
 The more loving we are, the more we become like Christ
 We recommend placing a crucifix on a wall where it can be seen while
making love so that we never lose sight of the fact that making love is
meant to be other-centered and holy
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 17
Mentor Couple shares their experience of love making as a sacramental couple.
This should emphasize their awareness of the sacredness of making love, how
they feel sent to one another by the Lord and how pleased they believe Him to be
when they love generously
Ephesians 5
The scriptural basis for Matrimony as Sacrament is found in St Paul’s Letter
to the Ephesians. It continues to inspire and direct us.
Read Ephesians 5: 21-33 directly from the Bible.
The Jerusalem or New American translations are preferred. This is the “Magna
Carta” for married couples but it is easy to get distracted with the phrase “Wives
should be submissive to their husbands as if to the Lord. This is a unique
opportunity for the mentor wife to dispel the misunderstanding that is almost
universal about this phrase. In no way does the Catholic Church teach anything
but reciprocal and mutual self-donation for husbands and wives. If it is
meaningful for the mentor wife, she may want to share her own understanding of
the root of the word “missio” as a sense of being sent to her husband to affect
God’s purposes in him. At some point, make sure to read aloud the second and
third quotations from the Theology of the Body found on page 16 of the Couple
Pack. Pay special attention to the final summation of Ephesians 5 asking wives
to “respect their husbands.” This is the antidote for control. No one tries to
control someone they respect. In a larger sense, wives are being affirmed for
their feminine charism of responsiveness. It plays to her strength and is what the
husband needs to enable him to answer his call to other-centered generosity.
Husbands are asked to follow Christ’s example in taking the lead in self-less
sacrifice which recognizes his charism of initiating absolute good. In addition,
men are called to love their wives “as they love their own bodies.” This is a call
to personal involvement that is the antidote for masculine irresponsibility.
It is amazing how St Paul knows us so well, both our strengths and our
weaknesses, but if we take Ephesians to heart, it provides a blueprint for
sacramental living.
The Mentor Couple shares how they live out Ephesians 5. Be as specific as
possible. This sharing could include any or all of the following or other behaviors
that are meaningful for you:
Awareness of the other as much as your own body
Respect, no criticism, sexual affirmation
Other-centeredness, putting the other before yourself
Yes power
Prayer for passion
Skin to Skin
100/100 relationship (vice 50/50), total mutual self-donation
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 18
The Difference the Rest of the Church Makes:
Matrimony is personal but not private
 Not really just between the two of you
 The Church depends on you to reveal Christ’s love to the world in your
 We are all connected
 Every married couple depends on other married couples to set
the standard of love in the Church
 We look to others to inspire and encourage us
 Youth desperately want to believe that love is possible
How will they believe if not for you
The Church provides the vision and the example
 Scripture inspires us and takes on new meaning for the married
 The call to greatness from the church sets a high standard for us to
ambition for
 The lives of the saints among us set an example for us to emulate and
convince us that it is possible to live in love
The Mentor couple shares the positive influences on them from the Church,
particularly the men and women, young or old, who have inspired them to raise
the bar for their own relationship. This sharing can include their awareness of
Matrimony being something bigger than just the two of them. If possible, share
the influence of priests who have lived the Sacrament of Orders so generously
that it has had a significant impact on you and made it obvious to you that there
are no part time sacraments
The Church is Praying for You
The Church everywhere prays for its living Sacraments
 The Liturgy of the Hours is prayed constantly
 Prayer for Vocations include Priesthood, Religious Life, and Matrimony
The Priests of our parish pray for the couples of the parish, especially those
they are preparing for marriage or for whom they will preside
The People of our parish pray specifically for the couples of the parish who
are married or preparing to marry
 Part of the Movement of Continuous Prayer for Marriage and
 They have the names of all the engaged couples in the parish
 The parish is praying for them throughout their engagement and
mentoring sessions
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 19
Give each Fiancée a Prayer Brochure and a copy of Ask, Search, Knock. Explain
the Movement of Prayer for Marriage and Family.
One hour each month for the couples of the parish
In the privacy of their own home
Any way they feel comfortable praying
Personally for the couples in their life whom they know and love
The Mentor Couples shares their own experience of praying for marriage and
family life. If you do not pray as a couple, be sure to explain that many couples
do. If you are not currently praying a full hour, once a month, it is not necessary
to explain or justify why you are not, simply share positively about the
experiences of those who do.
The Power of Prayer
Prayer opens us to the grace we need to live our Sacrament fully and
 We pray for the specific graces we need when we need them
 If we are thinking critical thoughts, we might pray for the
grace of affirmation to first of all hold our tongue, and
secondly, to look for and point out what we do love,
appreciate, or admire
 We pray specifically for “Passion”
 Not urgency for intercourse, but the grace to be fully present,
attentive, aware of and open to the other
 The grace to allow our sexual chemistry to predispose us to
each other and soften our hearts when we are hurt or angry
 We often pray for “Compassion” and “Forgiveness”
We benefit from the prayers of others, but the most efficacious prayer is
when we pray individually or as a couple for our own marriage
Prayer is a valuable resource
Invite the Engaged Couple to consider focusing an hour of their personal prayer
each month for their own marriage and for the other marriages in the parish.
They may wish to pray individually or together. One’s commitment does not
depend on a similar commitment from the other.
Next, refer the engaged couple to Page 7 of the Couple Pack.
Ask them to take a few minutes to write their response to Question 1, “Do I pray?
When, how, and why do I pray?”
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 20
When they have written, ask them to share their responses with each other.
Encourage them to create an especially tender atmosphere through touch and
eye contact and listen well so that the other will feel accepted and respected
what ever they share.
After the engaged couple has had time to share what they wrote, the Mentor
Couple shares their own experience of couple prayer and the effect that it has
had on their relationship. Include how it makes you feel when your spouse
allows you to overhear their prayer.
Share your journey of praying together, how you started and how you have
grown in openness and in the practice of couple prayer
A Prayer for Their Marriage
Whatever your experience or practice of prayer has been to date, it will be a
great benefit to begin to build on that foundation
To personalize the idea of praying for your marriage, we would like to provide
an opportunity to reflect on how you would ask God to help you prepare for
your marriage between now and your wedding day.
Refer the engaged couple to Page 8 of the Couple Pack.
Ask them to take a few minutes to write a brief prayer for their marriage. It is not
necessary to use fancy, religious words. The only requirement is to be honest
and sincere.
When they have written, ask them to share their responses with each other and
reflect on what is most important to each of them individually
Now that you know how your fiancée would like to pray, you can also make
that part of your own prayer
You might choose to pray your individual prayer every day or merge your
individual prayers into a couple prayer that you pray either individually or
 Some couples choose to include “their” prayer in their wedding
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 21
Spiritual Nakedness
Sharing our personal relationship with God is usually difficult but offers the
potential to be incredibly bonding
 To pray sincerely, openly, and honestly requires vulnerability, and
 It’s an experience of “Spiritual Nakedness”
 It invites God into the relationship and eliminates the usual last
bastion of privacy between husband and wife
Spiritual nakedness is a journey
 It often begins with baby steps
 There are often feelings of inferiority about our ability to pray and
our spiritual lives
 Each sees the other as superior in some way – intellectual,
knowledgeable, pious, fervent, innocent, close to God
 Each sees themselves as inferior in some way – sinful,
unworthy, simple, shallow, doubting, distant from God
 Wherever we are is Okay
 We can grow closer to each other and closer to God if we are
willing to try
The easiest way to begin is to write a brief prayer at the start of every love
letter, note, or dialog letter
It is really worth the effort
Mentor couple briefly shares their own journey and experience of praying
together and sharing faith, most especially, what it means to you to share your
faith with one another and pray together.
Refer the engaged couple to the questions on Pages 9 of the Couple Pack.
Ask them to take a few minutes to answer questions 1 thru 4. They are free to
answer all 7 or If one particular question is especially significant for them, that’s
where they should focus their time.
When they seem to have had enough time to write, ask them to share their
responses with each other.
Catholic Identity
The experience of being Catholic can be like belonging to a “faith” family”
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 22
Just as in a biological family, there are some relatives we like better than
others, but we will dance at their weddings and cry at their funerals
Catholics are not “better” than others; they are just “ours”
 It is a special, permanent, belonging relationship
Every family has shared values, traditions, and history, but above all, it is the
experience of permanent belonging that makes it a family
For those who experience “Catholic” as their family name, sharing faith is
integral to sharing who they are
Should you sense any angst against the church or if one or both of the fiancées
share with you an injury or hurt caused by the church, please ask forgiveness in
the name of the church. You have an opportunity to be a special instrument of
healing that will bless them for generations. You can speak in the name of the
church because it was “your” family that messed up.
Inter Faith Couples
Do this section only if working with an Inter Faith Couple. Otherwise jump down
to the Homework section.
The following content, down to the instruction to turn to page 12, may be
presented by the Mentor Couple or alternatively, refer the engaged couple to
page 11 of the Couple Pack and ask them to read the two paragraphs in the
right-hand column.
Catholics are often afraid to be seen as trying to convert their fiancée
Those marrying a Catholic may feel defensive or protective of their separate
faith identity
Even if we are not particularly religious, our concept of God is central to our
Holding back such a central part of ourselves can limit the openness and
experience of unity in a relationship
 We don’t talk about religion or our sharing is shallow
 We feel alone or estranged in this area
 We experience diminished trust in what we are willing to share
 We find ourselves in conflict over lifestyle priorities or child rearing
Sharing faith can overcome misconceptions and prejudices about each
other’s faith and draw a couple closer
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 23
This results in a profound and freeing experience of being loved and
Turn to page 12 of the Couple Pack and take a moment to read the
paragraph in the left hand column under the heading, A Journey to Unity
When you have finished reading, consider the seven questions on page 11
under the heading “Questions to aid Interfaith Couples in Sharing Faith” and
the two questions in the middle of page 12
Select the question that must jumps out at you and answer it briefly in the
space provided
If you finish writing, go on and answer a second question
Share your responses with each other
Mentors should not miss the opportunity to ask about openness to conversion,
something like, “Now that you are making this permanent commitment to your
fiancé(e), have you considered also making a commitment to belong to his or her
faith family, to us.”
Follow up any inquiry or expression of interest.
Often, the catholic fiancé(e) is protective of the non-catholic and does not even
invite them to consider converting even though they might be very open to it
There are two pieces of assigned homework for Session 5
 First are the dialogue questions for sharing faith
 (Same Faith Couples) on page 10 of the Couple Pack
 (Inter Faith Couples) on page 11 of the Couple Pack
 The other is a Wedding Vows Worksheet on page 13 of the Couple
Dialogue Questions
Same Faith Couples
Pick one or more questions from the five on Page 10 of the Couple Pack
Identify, describe, and share your feelings using the Communicating for
Intimacy technique taught in Session 3
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 24
Inter Faith Couples
Read over page 12 of the Couple Pack and answer the question that
pertains to you in the center of the left hand column if you did not answer
these questions during Session 5
 Even if you answered them briefly, you may want to take more time
at home and answer them again
Answer one or both of the questions under the heading, Additional
dialogue questions for Interfaith Couples, on page 11
 Start with Question Number 2
Identify, describe, and share your feelings using the Communicating for
Intimacy technique taught in Session 3
Wedding Vows
Ask the couple about their wedding vows. They probably have a choice of two
traditional ones. It is powerful to take the time to reflect on what those words
mean to you and how you intend to live them out.
What are some of the things you want to promise each other on your wedding
Traditional vows are beautiful and most couples use them, but think about
how you would express them in concrete everyday behavior
 What does it mean to “Honor”
 Perhaps you will want to say, “You are the one person in the
world that I will never criticize, take for granted, disrespect,
control, or presume I know perfectly”
 What does it mean to be “Faithful”
 Is it only a promise not to commit adultery?
 Does it mean staying close and passionately involved?
 What does it mean to “Love” you?
 What will be different “from this day forward”
Write out any other specific behaviors you want to promise each other
Point out the Reflection Point and Skill # 7 on page 6 of the Couple Pack.
Encourage the engaged couple to take prayer seriously even if they have no
recent experience or practice of prayer in their lives. Start small if necessary, but
make it a practice to invite God into their life on a personal and regular basis.
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 25
Set a date for the next session
Confirm when you will meet again
If you are confident that the engaged couple will complete Preparing to Live in
Love, submit a request for a Completion Certificate after Session 5. A Form for
this purpose is included in the Mentor Guidebook or can be obtained from the
PMRC. Email or call 610-640-4105.
End Notes:
“Ministry to Interchurch Marriages, A National Study” Center for Marriage
and Family, Creighton University, July 1999
a. Overall percentage of divorce: Interchurch (20.3%), Same Church
(14.1%), Interchurch to Same Church (6.0%)
Lynn Brothers
David Popenoe and Barbra Dafoe Whitehead, “Should We Live
Together?” National Marriage Project, Rutgers, The State University of New
Jersey, 2001
LaCrosse Wisconsin Times Review, February 15, 2002
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 5 - 26
Session 6
Forgiveness and Healing
Session 6 is designed to empower the engaged couple to deal with injury and
hurt that will inevitably occur between them. It will also open their eyes to the
impact of outside injuries on their ability to live in love with each other. The
realization that old wounds still affect their behavior and the ability to seek
healing will give them an even greater measure of confidence that they can be
free to love on their own terms. The evening uses and hence reinforces skills
developed in earlier sessions to equip the couple with powerful tools to reconcile
well with each other and to be free of hurts from outside their relationship that
hinder them from loving to their full capacity.
Warm welcome and Recap of Homework
What was their experience of sharing their feelings in the area of faith?
 Have they grown closer through their sharing or has it surfaced issues
that need to be addressed?
 How many of the questions did they write on?
 Which ones were most meaningful to them?
What did they discover about themselves and about each other by putting
their wedding vows into their own words?
The Mentor Couple prays for the engaged couple
In thanksgiving for the closeness and understanding already achieved
In affirmation of their openness to each other
To invite the Holy Spirit to bless our words tonight
For enlightenment, insight, and enthusiasm
For a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the graces of forgiveness
and healing
Within the Couple Relationship
What patterns of reconciliation has the engaged couple already established?
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 1
Ask them:
 Which of you is the first to say that you are sorry?
 Does either of you need to be right all the time?
 Do you actually say, “I’m sorry”?
 Do you also say, “Please, forgive me”?
These questions appear on Page 2 of the Participant Pack. You may choose to
hand out the Participant Pack at this time and have the engaged couple answer
the questions briefly in writing. Otherwise, wait until the Couple Exercise to hand
it out.
There’s a difference between the “I” centered statement “I am sorry”, and the
other centered statement, “Will you please forgive me?”
 The “I” centered statement simply acknowledges a fact
 You might recognize that you behaved poorly, inconsiderately,
insensitively, thoughtlessly, carelessly…
 You might also just want to move on or be done with it without a
change of heart
 You can say you’re sorry and remain “self-centered”
 “Will you forgive me” seeks to restore the relationship
 Asking for forgiveness requires vulnerability, you’re asking
something of the other
 Humility advances unity, pride always hinders it
 Vulnerability opens the door for trust and intimacy
The Mentor Couple shares the effect on them when the other humbly asks
If you are open to each other, you will hurt each other
 Because you love, you make yourself vulnerable
Relationship is inevitably dynamic
 If you are not growing closer; you are growing apart
 Coolness, insensitivity, impatience, and anger become more present if
we’re drifting apart
Reconciliation and healing can be a great source of growth and grace
 Reconciliation is basically an act of re-committing
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 2
 You can grow closer than you were before
 You’re stronger for having re-chosen to love
 You have learned how to love the other better
 The experience of such vulnerability is bonding.
 You remember making up but not the hurt
Whenever one person is hurt, both are hurt
 The relationship is damaged
 The offending person usually sees themselves as misjudged or sees
the offense as blown out of proportion to all the times of considerate
and tender loving
There should be an urgency to heal
 The relationship is sacred
 The longer you avoid reconciliation, the harder it is
 Don’t go to sleep angry
 For the sake of the church, and especially those closest
to you
If possible, the Mentor Couple should share an occasion when they made
reconciling more important than other pressing demands.
The “issue” is not the issue – you are
 Relationship is about growing in love, not about who’s right or wrong
on an issue
When we reconcile, we learn how to love each other better
 We grow more sensitive
 More responsive and aware of the other’s feelings
 It is especially graced when there are tears because vulnerability
deepens trust
Refer the engaged couple to page 4 of the Couple Pack. Ask them to answer the
question, “Do you confront or withdraw when you are hurt?” in the middle of
the right hand column and then read the content in the right hand column.
Alternatively, the Mentor Couple may present the content as follows and ask the
engaged couple to answer the question after the content has been presented.
If you have not yet given the engaged couple the Session 6 Couple Pack, do so
just before you ask them to write their answer to the question.
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 3
We each instinctively withdraw or confront when distance or hurt surfaces
between us
 This is sometimes because of what we observed growing up
 It is also influenced by our past relationships
 It may also be influenced by typical patterns of male and female
reactions to guilt
 Good men see it as their job to make the women in their life
happy and they can feel a gutting sense of failure when they are
 Women can be overwhelmed by a sense of shame which they
seek to mask with anger
 Men typically flee from female anger
There is a profound difference between guilt and sorrow
 Guilt is self-centered
 It focuses on how bad “I” am
 It leads us away from each other and from God
 Sorrow or repentance is other-centered
 It focuses on how good “you” are
 It can motivate humility and a desire to reach out, reconcile, and
make amends
The Reconciliation process
Adopt a structured process
 Every couple has their own way of making up
 The important thing is to decide the ground rules in advance
 We are not at our best when we are hurting
We recommend a process that uses some of the writing and sharing feelings
skills that you have already learned and adds prayer and the asking and
granting of forgiveness
 It is structured
 It is designed to promote deeper healing, and avoid additional
 The writing helps you to cool off and restores perspective
 You can learn more about each other through the process
The Process includes more prayer because you are often dealing with very
strong feelings, more likely to be self-centered, self-pitying, or defensive, and
in greater need of God’s perspective
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 4
Recommended Process Step by step
Pray for compassion and healing
 This begins the process of getting us out of self-pity
Separate to write
 Start with what you love most about the other
 Focus on one specific injury or hurt that has come between you
 You may have hurt your fiancée or they may have hurt you, or
you both may have been hurt
 Describe your feelings in as much detail as possible
 Paint a vivid word picture of what was going on inside you
 Describe what it felt like to be you in that circumstance
 Examine how you may have hurt the other
 What did you say or do, or fail to say or do that hurt your fiancée
 Even if you consider yourself more grievously offended did you
also lash out, criticize, assign motive, blame, or inflict guilt?
 Ask for forgiveness, in writing
Come together
 Be as physically close as possible
 Look into each other’s eyes
 Hold hands
Pray together for compassion
Read your letters to each other
 Start with the letter of the one most grievously offended
Dialogue on the strongest feeling
Ask and grant forgiveness lavishly
 Convince the other that they are completely forgiven
Pray for healing
 Ask God to simply take away the pain, repair the brokenness, and help
you to experience being loved again
Read the second letter and repeat dialogue, forgiveness, and prayer
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 5
The Sexual Atmosphere Test
If the sexual atmosphere between you is fully restored, reconciliation is fully
 Before marriage, this is usually expressed in delight, playfulness, and
passionate embrace
 After marriage, this translates into a desire and urgency to make love
The Mentor couple shares a personal example of their own use of the writing
technique to help them forgive and heal.
It is a great gift if the mentor is willing to actually read their own letters and let the
engaged couple take a peek into their relationship. Otherwise, please share with
a special emphasis on how much easier it was to listen and yield to compassion
for the other when they focused on sharing just their feelings instead of
judgments and opinions.
Share also the desire to seal in the reconciliation sexually. We never feel
completely whole until we have been able to make love again.
Couple Exercise
If Session 6 is being used out of the normal sequence because at some point
in the program the engaged couple suffered a specific hurt between them that
needed immediate attention, this section is the primary focus of the evening and
it is already obvious what issue needs to be addressed.
Ask the Engaged Couple to describe the incident or situation that is causing them
Help them to formulate a specific question to write on and ask them to follow the
process we just discussed.
Pass out the Participant Pack at this time if you have not done so already and
refer the engaged couple to the Optional Couple Exercise on page 6.
Ask them to write a love letter to each other describing the pain they are
feeling (or the pain they felt the last time they were hurt).
Point out that the Reconciliation Process is documented on page 5 if they want
to refer to it.
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 6
After they have written, ask them to share their letters and grant forgiveness to
each other as convincingly as they possibly can.
When they have finished, ask them if they feel reconciled. Is the pain gone?
Offer any suggestions that might make their process more effective for them.
If Session 6 is being used in the normal sequence, the first step is to help the
engaged couple to identify an area or issue that they have not yet dealt with
effectively or where there is an opportunity for deeper reconciliation.
Ask them if there is any injury, hurt, friction, or disappointment in their
relationship right now that has not been fully reconciled? If so, gently ask them
to describe the incident or situation that is causing them pain.
If there is no obvious current hurt, ask them to recall the last time they hurt one
another? Are feelings of hurt still there when they bring it to mind?
If the engaged couple does not identify a current hurt between them or if no
residual hurt feelings are readily surfaced, do not push them to come up with
something. Simply continue with the content below and move quickly to the
brief Couple Exercise on page 8 of the Couple Pack.
On the other hand, If either of these approaches does surface an area suitable
for reconciliation, help them to formulate a specific question to write on and ask
them to follow the process we just discussed. Proceed as follows:
Pass out the Participant Pack at this time if you have not done so already and
refer the engaged couple to the Optional Couple Exercise on page 6.
Ask them to write a love letter to each other describing the pain they are
feeling (or the pain they felt the last time they were hurt).
Point out that the Reconciliation Process is documented on page 5 if they want
to refer to it.
After they have written, ask them to share their letters and grant forgiveness to
each other as convincingly as they possibly can.
When they have finished, ask them if they feel reconciled. Is the pain gone?
Offer any suggestions that might make their process more effective for them.
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 7
The Couple Pact
Whenever we are hurt, we are simply not at our best
It is helpful to make a little private pact with each other that identifies a
specific process that you agree ahead of time to use anytime you hurt each
other’s feelings
 What to do should not left to chance
You may be willing to use the process we just described, or you may have a
better idea
It is also helpful to have a phrase or code word to signal that you need to use
the process you have agreed on
 You both agree to enter the process without further discussion
Refer the engaged couple to page 8 of the Couple Pack and ask them to take a
few minutes to answer the two questions and share their answers with each
Freedom from Outside Injuries
Your finance (and later your spouse) is not the only one who can hurt you
Injuries that occur outside your relationship can and will impact your ability to
love one another
 If either one of you is broken, damaged, or debilitated emotionally you
cannot be fully, wholly present in relationship
 Anything that causes stress, discouragement, worry, hurt, or loss of
self-esteem will have a negative impact on the sexual atmosphere
between you
Unresolved Hurts, whether recent or ancient, impact your ability to love
 They can cause us to over-react
 We call these “Hot buttons” or “Emotional Allergies”
 There is a normal human pattern of reaction to hurt
 Distancing: We pull away and mull it over in our minds in self
 Assigning motive: We make judgments and tell ourselves
things like ”He doesn’t care about me, or she thinks I’m stupid”.
 Growing the wound: The more we stew on it the bigger it gets
 Burying the hurt: When it becomes too painful, we stuff it
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 8
We bury it alive, where it grows bigger
Every time anyone does anything to spark the memory
we bring it up and add to it
 Anger, Loss of perspective: We find ourselves over-reacting,
easily irritated.
 Taking it out on others or ourselves: We can become
critical, cynical, apathetic or bitter in general
 There is usually one trusted family member that we
routinely take it out on, by being overly harsh, critical or
venting anger at them.
 Some hurts have been there since childhood
 We all have to forgive our parents for not being perfect
 Maybe Dad didn’t say he loved you, didn’t play ball with you, or
didn’t make your activities important to him
 Pain of Divorce
 Kids blame themselves for their parent’s breaking up
 Criticism or Ridicule
Forgiveness is the key to Freedom
Forgiveness is not excusing or condoning
 It does not mean you did not have a right to be hurt
 It does mean you have a right to be healed and free of the damaging
Forgiveness is a grace that conquers the sin and breaks its hold on you
 We forgive because we are all sinners
 We forgive others for our spouse’s sake
 If we do not forgive, we will sin out of the hurt, most likely
against our spouse
 God does not want us to hurt each other
We pray for the grace to forgive
 Pray individually or preferably together
 Pray specifically for “compassion” and “compunction”
 We can help the other to build up compassion for the person
who has hurt them
 Compassion is the grace to see the other person’s own
 How they have been hurt by others
 How they are sinning out of their own hurt
 Compunction is the grace to see your own sinfulness
 Admitting that we are not perfect makes it easier to
forgive others
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 9
In the light of how good God is to us, and His willingness
to forgive, how can we hold anything against someone
 Ask for the grace to forgive the person who hurt you
 Speak the forgiveness
 Say, “________ I forgive you”
 Let go of the hurt
 Sometimes it has become a cause or an identity
 We let go for the sake of those we want to be able to love more
 Simply pray for the Lord to take the pain away
The experience of forgiving and letting go is complete freedom.
Mentor Couple briefly shares their personal experience of helping the other to
forgive an outside injury. Refer to your experience on Living in Love or to a more
recent experience if it is more meaningful.
Love of “Benevolence” versus Love of “Intimacy”
Love of “Intimacy” is the unique personal experience of love that comes
from knowing and being known at an incredibly deep level.
 Intimacy is a characteristic of a committed love relationship
 Intimacy grows in a healthy marriage
 If intimacy is present, both partners have a right to expect
Love of “Benevolence” is the love for others that motivates us to be kind
and charitable, to do good things for one another and treat each other well
 Benevolence flows out of Intimacy but is a free gift
 Every good couple serves and provides for each other
 It is typically the kind of unconditional love we pour out on
 It is an overflow kind of love
 The life of Mother Theresa of Calcutta is a good example
 She expected nothing back from the people she helped
 She gave freely, joyfully, because her needs were met in
intimacy elsewhere
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 10
Our needs for intimacy should primarily be met in our marriage
 The potential for intimacy is far greater in marriage than in any other
 The intimate love of husband and wife is an image of the intimacy of
the Trinity
 Three and Two are One
 God in three persons, one love relationship
 Husband and wife, two persons, one love relationship
 God is Love and Husbands and wives have the opportunity to literally
experience the inner nature of God, who God is
Engagement is the time to begin the transition from having your need for
intimacy met by your family of origin to having your need for intimacy met in
your marriage relationship.
Parental Strings
If you focus on each other and build intimacy, you will then discover that you
can generously choose to love both sets of parents with a love of
 You are free to choose to be as generous as you like
 The trick is to give freely what you are willing and able to give
 No one can pull your strings if you resolve to expect nothing in return
and you choose together
 Giving because you want to, not because someone else
expects it
 Great joy comes from giving
 There is no joy when you act out of obligation
This simple insight has been invaluable to many young couples as they
proceed through wedding plans and forming the foundations of their earlymarried life
Loving is not always the same as pleasing
We recommend that you learn to love your families with a love of
 It will be generous, sincere, and life giving because it will flow out of a
deep well of intimacy
 It expects nothing in return and therefore does not leave you
vulnerable to hurt or disappointment
 Ultimately it will become the same kind of love that they will pour onto
their children
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 11
This insight can also be helpful when our parents become older and
unreasonable because of sickness or senility
Healing Outside Injuries
Refer the engaged couple to the Reflection Point on page 11 of the Couple Pack
and ask them to answer the three question found there privately as individuals.
Give them a minute or two to write but do not have them share their responses
with each other.
Next, refer the engaged couple to page 12 of the Couple Pack and ask them to
answer the three questions under the heading, Reflect, in writing and this time
share their answers with each other
Mentor Couple shares an example of someone from outside their relationship
that one of them had to forgive for the good of their relationship
(This rest of this Section may be done as part of Session 6 or as Homework)
Depending on time and the needs of the engaged couple, an experience of
healing an outside injury may be provided during Session 6 or encouraged to be
done as homework.
If the Mentor Couple decides to offer to facilitate the healing process,
continue as follows:
Suggest to the engaged couple that this evening may be the perfect opportunity
to clear the old or outside injury out of the way so that it does not interfere with
their marriage. Tell them that the process will take about 10 minutes and that
you would be happy to facilitate it if they are willing.
It is important to respect the fact that some injuries may be very private or
delicate and may require professional help or referral to a priest. It is sufficient to
have identified the need to forgive and to suggest that they encourage each other
to do so.
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 12
On the other hand, if you have established an exceptional bond with the engaged
couple, it may well be that God can use their affection for you to help accomplish
His healing. Just remain open to the Spirit.
Help them to identify an area or a specific relationship and formulate a question
to write on.
Whom do they most need to forgive this evening? It could be anyone, even
themselves or God, but focus on a specific person, living or dead. Whom do they
need to forgive so that they can be more for their fiancé(e)? As long as they
forgive someone, the message of this session will be internalized.
Refer the Engaged Couple to Page 12 of the Couple Pack.
Ask them to write a letter to each other describing how they feel about
whatever that person did or did not do.
After they have written, ask them to share their letters and encourage each other
to forgive the third party who has injured them. Help each other to let go of the
hurt. If necessary, ask them to let go of it for you. If they are having trouble
letting go, suggest that they ask God to show them the brokenness of the outside
party and to give you His compassion for them.
When they have finished, ask them if they feel free of their hurt? Is the pain
gone? Offer any suggestions that might make their process more effective for
Sacramental Reconciliation
The following content may be presented directly or by referring the engaged
couple to page 14 of the Couple Pack.
Our relationship with our most significant other often parallels our relationship
with God
 If we take each other for granted, we are likely to take God for granted
 Growing in love in one relationship can trigger the same growth in the
Reconciling well with each other can encourage us to grow closer to God
through the Sacrament of Reconciliation
 Asking for forgiveness requires vulnerability and builds trust
 Asking for and granting forgiveness is a bonding act of recommitment
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 13
Review your “Couple Pact” and iron out the details of what you agree to do
the next time you hurt each other’s feelings
 Discuss what would happen if you had something come between you
at an inopportune time like just as you were heading off to work or
while you were at a family gathering or out with friends
 Would you agree to write while at work and reconcile first thing
that evening?
 How would you prioritize your relationship when others are
Practice asking for forgiveness immediately even for small offenses or minor
slights or insensitivities
Address any outside injuries not dealt with during Session 6
Set a Date for next time
Confirm when you will meet again
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
Page 6 - 14
Session 7
Becoming a Couple
Developing Couple Values and Consensus Decision-making
This is the final session of the core program. Equipped with the insights and
experiences of the first six sessions, the engaged couple can now learn conflict
resolution and decision making skills that can be used to live out the call to be
one in mind, heart, and affection. More than any of the other sessions, Session 7
encourages a mindset of intentionally choosing to live in love by adopting
practices that will make the marriage a priority built on other-centered generosity.
Previous sessions surfaced the fact that they bring different values and
expectations to the marriage. Session 7 will teach them how to develop shared
couple values. As the final mentoring session, it includes the program wrap up
and promise of continuing involvement and support.
Review Homework:
Have you asked forgiveness of each other this week?
Were you able to identify any outside injuries?
Did you help each other to forgive and let go?
What remains to be done in those troublesome relationships?
Review benevolent versus intimate love as necessary
The Mentor Couple prays for the engaged couple
In thanksgiving for the closeness and understanding already achieved
In affirmation of their openness to each other
To invite the Holy Spirit to bless our words tonight
For enlightenment, insight, and enthusiasm
For an enthusiastic sense of confidence that their destiny is in their own hands
and that they will be able to live their life together beyond their wildest
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
Page 7 - 1
Becoming a Couple:
The process of two singles becoming a couple is a journey
 Scripture tells us that “the two shall become one”
 The call of Matrimony is unity, a unity that reflects the inner nature of
Unity is not “sameness” but rather a heightened sense of closeness unique to
an intimate, committed, belonging relationship
 The Trinity is the best example of unity
 Each person is unique, yet they are one
 Matrimony is the joining of two whole autonomous adults who choose
to become one couple
 They are not two halves of a whole
 We are not talking about co-dependency
 Unity is an attitude of responsiveness and personal presence that
allows one to fully accept their beloved without losing their own
 It is also a predisposition to see things through a couple perspective, to
take the other into account in all things, and to embrace that which
effects either one as effecting both
 The end result is that both are richer and wiser, and the couple grows
in love
 The couple relationship itself becomes an entity to be cherished,
cared for, and honored
 The more a couple experiences the love of intimacy and belonging the
more they will desire unity and the more their love will overflow and
give life around them
 They will seek an identity that expresses their coupleness
through a shared vision for life characterized by the values that
they choose to live by day in and day out
Developing couple values:
Developing couple values involves three processes
1. Sharing individual values with each other
2. Making what’s important to you, important to me
3. Discerning and embracing together what is best for the relationship
As you may recall from Session 2, “values” are behaviors that we are willing
to sacrifice time, energy, or money to have operative in our lives right now
 They are more than just ideals which are good things that we believe in
and aspire to but don’t sacrifice for to have now
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
Page 7 - 2
We all come into marriage as very different individuals with different concepts
of what is normal, and different ideas of what is the “right” way to do things
 The “Expectations” worksheet from Session Two opened the door to
realizing how differently we think about ordinary things
 Tonight, we will help you address those differences
Anytime you feel unsupported in an activity or judgment, conflicting values
may be present
Successfully forming couple values from individual values will reduce conflict
and misunderstanding while promoting a sense of identity and solidarity
Once we realize that we simply have an emotional attachment to the way
we, or our family, has always done something, we can look closely to
find out what the real value is in doing it that way
 The “good” at the root of the practice
We can then either embrace it more fully, or see it in perspective against
other conflicting values and perhaps decide to change
The key is to go beyond the behavior and discuss the underlying values
 Most likely, a couple will find that they are not so far apart
Mentor Couple shares a brief personal example to illustrate finding the core value
inherent in one of their characteristic behaviors.
Alternatively, refer the engaged couple to page 3 of the Couple Pack and ask
them to read the “Story of the Heart”.
If we focus on how different our perspectives are, we may never come
together, but if we focus on the positive values behind each approach, we
give ourselves the opportunity to embrace the other’s value
For every area where there is disagreement or conflicting values, or
whenever you want to seek to establish a couple value, ask yourself:
 What is the “value” behind doing it my way? (i.e. What good will it
 How important is it to me? Why?
 What is the value in doing it your way?
 Can I embrace your value?
 What practice will bring us closer as a couple?
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
Page 7 - 3
We are not talking about compromise where you give up something you want
in order to get something that is also important to you
We are talking about adopting a process that is inherently “other-centered”
 In this case, the “other” is the best interest of the marriage
Ultimately, being a couple is more important than holding onto any particular
habitual behavior, no matter how dear
Couple values are behaviors that we are both willing to sacrifice time, energy,
or money to have operative in our lives right now
 In general, we are not talking about thoughts or opinions. We don’t
have to think the same about everything
 We are talking about behaviors that we both buy into and support
Typical areas in which to strive to develop “Couple Values” might include:
 Starting a family – how soon, how large
 Money – saving versus spending
 Entertaining – how often, how formal, how costly
 Sharing household chores
 Preparing and eating meals together
 Health – including sports and exercise
 Tolerance for overtime or travel associated with work
 Having fun – leisure time activities
 Standards for gift giving
 Religious Practices and Church involvement
Remind the engaged couple of the Expectations Worksheet from Session 2. if
they have already surfaced an area where their individual values are very
different, you may choose to walk them through the process described on Page 3
using their specific issue.
Making Decisions:
As you go from being a single to becoming a couple, the decisions you make
and how you make them are one of the first things to mark the change. You
no longer have only the consequences to yourself to consider but the effect
on the relationship of not only the decision but also the decision making
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
Page 7 - 4
Hand out the Participant Pack if you have not done so already and refer the
engaged couple to Page 4.
Ask them to jot down their answers to each of the questions in the section
labeled “Icebreaker”.
How do each of you make your decisions as an individual?
 How fast or slow, decisive or deliberate are you?
 Do you make lists of pros and cons, benefits and disadvantages?
 Do you think of all possible risks and consequences?
 What role do feelings, prayer or intuition play?
Invite them to share their answers with each other and then briefly with you.
The Mentor Couple shares how they have learned to honor and accommodate
the other’s style and the benefits of doing so. For example, if one spouse is
quick and decisive and the other slow and analytical, the first spouse might pose
the question 2-3 days before they plan to discuss it in order to give the analytical
spouse time to process and think about it. Some couples establish ground rules ,
such as, “The more opinionated or influential spouse never speaks first.”
Next, go through typical patterns of couple decision making as outlined below.
Personalize any of these that apply to you and share from your experience the
negative consequences that they have had.
Refer the engaged couple to the Reflection Point on page 5 of the Couple Pack
and ask them to check off any of the typical patterns of decision making that
apply to them.
How do you currently make decisions that affect you both?
Most couples can identify with one or more of these common patterns, each
of which has a drawback in marriage
 Whoever feels stronger leads?
 The more emotional person will unwittingly dominate the
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
Page 7 - 5
Feelings rather than reason will direct your
lives resulting in choices that may not be in your best
 Feelings are not chosen
 We have a responsibility to use our free will to choose
what is best
 The less emotional person may go along but will eventually feel
powerless to influence and resent being controlled by the
other’s emotions
 Sometimes, the value is for expediency. One just wants to
make a decision and be done with it
 The decision may not be well thought out
Divide and conquer?
 This sounds reasonable and is tempting because it seems
logical and efficient
 Just divide things up into areas of responsibility
and each of you knows who handles what
 It is too easy to slip into patterns of control and
 Control and irresponsibility undermine trust and always lead to
loneliness, self pity, or self righteousness none of which helps
you to grow closer
Discussion or debate?
 Open and honest discussion is generally good as long as the
atmosphere is tender and respectful
 It is not particularly good if discussion becomes debate where
the goal is to influence the other to get your way
 Discussion and debate usually lead to compromise which can
result in a decision that no one really wants nor owns
 This can lead to resentment when the
consequences are unwelcome
 It can also lead to keeping score, “I let you
have your way last time. Now, it’s your turn to let me
have my way.”
 Win/Lose is obviously the worst case scenario, especially if one
or both “has to be right” all the time.
 Fighting to win is inherently self-centered and typically
 There is even an old adage that says, “Never fight to win,
because then you have to live with a loser.”
 Even Win/Win focuses on someone winning, rather than what is
in the best interest of the marriage.
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
Page 7 - 6
The real goal of decision making ought to be progress on the journey to
becoming one in mind, heart, and affection, to learn how to make decisions
that are best for the relationship
Couple Decisions:
A “couple” decision occurs when both spouses have equal ownership and
equal responsibility for the outcome.
 Both must be involved in making the decision or assent to it as soon as
 Otherwise, it is not a “couple” decision
The goal of couple decision making is shared responsibility
 Shared responsibility means that both will back the decision
 Shared responsibility means that neither one will blame the other if
something goes wrong or there are unexpected negative
 Shared responsibility doesn’t happen unless both buy in
 If one is less influential or dislikes conflict more than the other, it
is easy to go along without really buying in
 You may think you are agreed, but one will
back out if it goes against their underlying feelings
 Feelings almost always drive behavior until we
identify them, listen to them, and then choose to act in
the most responsible/loving way in spite of them if
Strategies for couple decisions:
Strategies for making couple decisions involve both good process and good
 Good practices
 Develop verbal communication skills, especially facility
communicating on a feeling level
Practice the dialogue technique taught in
Communicating for Intimacy
Dialogue in areas where decisions will have to be
 Make decisions in a strong sexual atmosphere
Consciously choose to be aware of, attentive to, and
delighting in each other
 Different from the way we make decisions as
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
Page 7 - 7
 “Marital” decisions are inherently sexual
 Reinforces the reality that the decision is not as
important as we are
 If the sexual atmosphere is not strong, work to
enhance the sexual atmosphere or put off making the
 Flirt aggressively
 Pray for passion
 Establish a Governing Rule
 In every decision, a third voice exists, “the best
interest of the marriage”
 Every couple should have a governing rule that
helps to clarify and confirm the best course of action.
 We suggest, “Whatever will absolutely advance
our coupleness is always God’s plan for us”
 This avoids choosing courses of action out of a
sense of obligation or consideration for someone
else on the basis that it might not hurt us
 Instead, we ask, “Will it positively advance us?”
 Willard Harley suggests the principle of
enthusiastic agreement to avoid resentments. “Never do
anything that you are both not enthusiastically in favor
of.” Simply do not do it
Good processes
 General rules
 Not all decisions require a lengthy, structured
 Those that benefit from a formal process are
often the most significant decisions like:
 Changing careers
 Moving
 Choosing schools for children
 All processes benefit from a strong sexual
 When you are focused on the person you love, the
decision will not loom so large. You are more
important than any decision you need to make
Share any process that works well for you as a couple. Mention Harley’s “Rules
for Negotiation” if time permits. Then introduce “Consensus Decision Making”
 Willard Harley’s “Rules for Negotiation”
Preparing to Live in Love
Keep the atmosphere pleasant
Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
Page 7 - 8
Identify the problem from both
Brainstorm with abandon
Choose the solution that meets joint
 Consensus decision making
 A structured process for developing
alternatives and choosing a course of action that actively
involves both parties and results in shared responsibility
 We are going to describe this process in detail
The Consensus /Discernement Process
The goal of Consensus Decision making is to arrive at a course of action that
both can own and accept responsibility for
 Useful for significant decisions where co-responsibility is important
The process is as follows:
 Dialogue on all pertinent feelings (before attempting to solve the
problem or make a decision)
 Separate the dialogue from the decision by days
 Anticipate areas where decisions will need to be made
 Give yourselves time between the dialogue and the decision
 Pressure kills passion
 Get in touch with and share why the decision is important to you
 Get in touch with and share your feelings associated the
 Pray for wisdom and discernment
 Invite God into the process
 It is not just about you, others will be effected
 You don’t have to make the decision alone
 Use your normal methods of research and analysis to form your
opinion but pepper them with prayer
 Write out your proposal
 Specifically, what do you think you should do
 Include the values and judgments that govern your
 Identify the costs and benefits as you see them –
reasons for and reasons against
 Ask yourself, “Is what I’m proposing in the best interest of
our marriage?”
 Exchange letters
 Create a tender and affirming sexual atmosphere
Preparing to Live in Love
Mentor Outline
7 March 2011
Page 7 - 9
 Decide to “honor” the other and learn from them
 Read your fiancé(e)’s letter at least twice, silently
 Listen with your heart to the whole person
If necessary, clarify what you heard
 Ask clarifying questions only
 Do not debate or argue your point of view
Pray again
 Consider what course of action is in the best interest of the
 Ask yourself, “Can I make what is important to you important to
Offer a second proposal
 You may retain or modify your original proposal adding detail
that responds to your spouses concerns
 You may decide to wholeheartedly embrace your fiancé(e)’s
 You may suggest a third creative solution
Continue the process until you agree on a course of action that both
of you can own
 This constitutes consensus
 It may not be all that you wanted, but you can embrace it
 You will see it as a “good” decision
 Ideally, the decision will meet with both of your complete
approval and whole hearted support
The Mentor Couple may share a quick example of a good decision they made
using this process. Be motivational but brief.
Couple Exercise (Optional)
Normally, the engaged couple will work through the Couple Consensus process
as part of their open ended homework. In the rare case of a pressing issue that
is dominating the thoughts of the engaged couple, on which they have already
shared feelings (perhaps in Session 3), the Mentor can offer to extend the
session in order to lead them through the decision making process.
Refer the engaged couple to the Couple Exercise on page 6 of the Participant
Coach the engaged couple through each step in the process. Refer back to the
discussion of Couple Consensus on page 5 if necessary.
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Make sure that they both agree that the final decision is a good decision that they
can wholeheartedly embrace, and they believe it is in the best interest of their
The most emotionally charged areas for decisions are finances, child
rearing, disciplining children, and religion.
 It is a great idea to prepare for future decisions by dialoguing on the
feelings surrounding these areas
The Marriage Plan
This Exercise should always be done during Session 7 and never assigned for
Homework so that there is an element of accountability for and encouragement
to follow through with their Marriage Plan.
Planning the Marriage
Remember the dream that you wrote in the beginning of the course? Now,
you will have an opportunity to form a realistic plan for your marriage.
 Marriage is too important not to be intentional
In reviewing some of the skills and practices that you have learned
during this course, which ones do you think you will put in your life on a
daily basis.
 Daily Affirmation
 Smart Loving (using the other’s preferred Love Languages and Love
 Writing and Sharing Feelings
 Nurturing the sexual atmosphere
If the Mentor Couple has not yet shared their own experience of Skin to Skin, do
so here.
Date Nights and Making Romantic Memories
Verbalizing Sexual Communication
Natural Family Planning
Couple Prayer
Sharing Personal Faith Experiences
Adopting A Specific Strategy for Couple Reconciliation
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Forgiving Outside Injuries
Regular Confession and frequent reception of the Eucharist
Consensus decision making
Periodic Marriage Planning
Any other practice that prioritizes relationship
Other Strategies that keep us in relationship and growing closer for the
journey ahead
 Regular Examination of Conscience
 Writing out a regular examination of conscience can avoid major hurts
 Some of what damages marriage the most are sins of
“omission” rather than “commission”
Taking for granted
Failing to affirm
Not prioritizing or trusting to share feelings or faith
 Consider how well you are loving the other, not how well they
are loving you
Focus is Other-centered versus Self-centered
Regular Confession
 The graces of the sacrament help us live out the commitment of our
wedding vows
 Leads to a more examined life and awareness of sins of relationship
Prayer for Passion
 Primarily a prayer for other-centered involvement and awareness
 Not just urgency for intercourse
 Certainly includes appreciation and enthusiasm for the other’s
 Many couples make it a daily practice
Prayer for Compassion and Humility
 Humility blunts attitudes of superiority
 Compassion is inherently other-centered
Taking responsibility to confront areas of conflict or misunderstanding
in a life-giving way
 Keep the atmosphere sexual, tender and respectful. No criticism!
 Criticism kills passion
Preparing to Live in Love
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 After you are married, you will have even better ways to keep
the atmosphere sexual
 Never choose to inflict pain
 Fight for the marriage
Set regular dates to re-evaluate
 How you are doing with each other
 How you can improve at making the other feel loved
Refer the engaged couple to the Couple Exercise on Page 6 of the Couple Pack.
Ask them to tick off all those that they want to be sure to incorporate into their life
Next, invite them to share what they have ticked off with each other and discuss
amongst themselves what they will specifically do to make each item a reality.
This is a plan; so, the more specific the better.
Finally, ask them to write a love letter to each other sharing their feelings about
how they are planning to be married and pledging their commitment to
implementing their plan. Give the Engaged Couple time to write and share what
they have written with each other.
After they have had time to share with each other, ask them to share with you
which behaviors they think will most fuel their marriage and help them to prioritize
the relationship they have decided to commit to.
The homework for this session is “open ended”
 That means that you continue at your own pace
 There is enough here to keep you busy for a long time
Use the On-going Consensus Worksheet on page 10
 Identify all decisions where you need to come to consensus
 Make a plan to address each and every one
Experience Consensus Decision Making using the Couple Homework
Exercise on page 9
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Work through the Couple Values Worksheet on page 8
 Take each of the 16 areas, not necessarily in order, and work toward
developing a couple value
 Do one a day, or every other day, or one a week, until you get through
them all
Course Evaluation
To help us continue to develop and spread “Preparing to Live in Love”, we
ask you to complete and return a course evaluation form
 Your comments will be kept confidential and will only be reviewed by
the Authors of the program or an outside researcher in order to
improve course content or analyze the program’s impact
Give each member of the engaged couple a Course Evaluation Form with
stamped return envelope. It would be ideal to have them complete it before
leaving. Otherwise, ask them to please complete the form and return it within a
As soon as possible, we will have such surveys available on-line and we would
like to ask them to contribute feedback six months or a year hence.
Completion Certificate
Present the engaged couple with their Certificate of Completion.
If the Certificate is not available at the time of this final session, tell them that a
Certificate of Completion will be mailed to them.
Goodbye for now
We have come to the end of our Parish Pre-Marriage Mentoring Program
 It is always hard to say, “Goodbye”, so we won’t
You are just beginning your wonderful journey together and we want to
assure you that we will always be with you
 We will continue to pray for you
 We will see you at mass and rejoice with you as you celebrate your
anniversaries, begin your family, and bring your children to the Church
for Baptism, Eucharist, and all the Sacraments
 We will always welcome you back to share the joys and struggles of
living a Sacramental way of life
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 Please feel free to:
 Call us
 Come over
 Just don’t stay away
 We are even more excited about your love for each other than when
we first met
Affirm the engaged couple in any way that is positive, truthful, and sincere. If you
are genuinely enthused, go ahead and be effusive.
In the rare circumstance that you have serious reservations, you owe it to the
couple to point out areas that they need to continue to address. They have not
“failed the course” but their preparation for marriage needs additional work. That
should be clear. You are free to continue to meet with them or refer them to the
Pastor, a more experienced Mentor, or professional counseling.
Reassure the Engaged Couple that they do not have to thank you with a
material gift or an invitation to their wedding. This is likely to be a relief to
them since most are feeling the burden already of the numbers and expense of
the Wedding Some couples may really want you to attend at least the Wedding
Mass, still others might insist on inviting you to the reception as well. Since it is
their thank you to you, you are not obliged to buy them an expensive gift.
You may wish to give them a framed copy of our “Reflections on a Marriage Bed
Crucifix”. A marriage bed crucifix and the framed reflection can be a nice
thought, or a parting gift. For those couples whom you are personally close to or
related to, whose weddings you do attend, it is a great idea to buy a simple
chalice or oversized crystal goblet to be used as a chalice at their wedding mass
and then at the baptism of their babies and wedding anniversary masses.
Of course, all of that is up to you and you are free to continue your friendship with
them any way that you like. In due time, we hope that you will invite them to
make the Living in Love Weekend or other retreats and programs to continue
their growth.
If they would like to support this work and future publishing of this
material, they can make a donation to the PMRC who has developed the
Make sure to record their wedding date in your planner so that you can call or
drop a note on the occasion of their wedding. Check that you have their
correct future address, and email.
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Finally, verify that you have all the information that is called for on the
Registration Form that is in the Mentor Guidebook. If not, obtain it before the
engaged couple leaves.
Provide copies of the completed Registration Form to both your Parish
Coordinator and the PMRC. A softcopy version of the Form is available from the
PMRC and is the preferred method of providing the information. Email the form
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