Notre Dame offers marriage preparation course for engaged couples
Lucy Lynch | Friday, February 15, 2019
As harsh weather continues to torment South Bend, the longing for warmer days reminds students of a second-semester Notre Dame tradition: ring by spring. For those students who do get engaged before or near graduation, their next step toward marriage is participating in Campus Ministry’s marriage preparation course.
Kelly Klee serves as the marriage preparation coordinator at Notre Dame. Klee is responsible for teaching the marriage preparation course taken both by current Notre Dame students and other couples planning to wed in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Lady Chapel or the Log Chapel. Klee said this course has been running for about six years.
“Campus Ministry decided to change course about six years ago to our current model because [of] the concern that we were offering marriage preparation to people out of town rather than encouraging them to get involved in their local parish,” Klee said.
At least one of the pair has to be a student or a member of the parish to take the course. Campus Ministry asks the couple to contact the organization to partake in marriage preparation at least six months before the wedding date. After an introductory meeting with Klee, the couple takes a 150-question online inventory where the pair is asked about all aspects of a shared life together.
“For the next three to four meetings, I go through these reports with the couple,” Klee said. “We discuss areas of remedy and areas where they are still kind of working things out and identify some areas of growth.”
The couple receives several homework assignments related to the sacramental and spiritual aspects of marriage. The assignments are important, Klee said, because not only do they want to help couples with communication, parenting and marriage roles, but they also want them to discuss the theological aspects of matrimony.
Next, the couple meets with a married sponsor couple.
“All the sponsors are connected to Notre Dame as alumni or as staff,” Klee said. “The married sponsors invite the engaged couple into their home. This gives the couple the opportunity to hear about the joys and challenges of marriage.”
The couples also participate in a one-day marriage preparation course with the Diocese and attend family planning instruction, either in person or online.
Klee believes this program is extremely important for couples to experience before they say their vows.
“Marriage is a vocation and a lifelong commitment, and people deserve as much preparation as possible,” Klee said. “There is such great opportunity for spiritual growth prior to giving yourself to someone, and we owe that help to couples who are making this commitment.”