The Marriage Preparation Course is an easy-to-run, practical five-session course for couples who are engaged or exploring the idea of marriage. No expertise is needed to run the course.
You may have experience of working on your own marriage or you are passionate to see marriages and family life strengthened in your community.
An individual can host a course using the DVDs, though we recommend having a married couple on hand to offer support.
Key features of The Marriage Preparation Course:
- Easy-to-use DVD, with designated breaks for discussion.
- Leader's guide with clear instructions on how to host your course.
- The format & material works well in a home or larger venue.
- Each session is presented in an engaging and accessible way.
- Inclusive and relevant content for any couple.
- Couple Survey - this is an online survey that helps couples highlight issues that are important to discuss before getting married; it also affirms areas of strength in their relationship. It is not a test of compatibility.
How to run...
The Marriage Preparation Course has been developed so that it is easy to run anywhere and by anyone. Here is a step by step 'to do' list if you want to get started.
Plan your course
Plan the dates and find a venue to run your course.
Purchase course materials: you’ll need The Marriage Preparation Course DVD with Leader's Guide and two guest manuals per couple.
Decide what/if to charge guests attending your course and create a budget.
Register your course
- Create an Alpha account with us and add your course details. Once you have done this, you can download extra resources and promotional materials.
You can choose whether or not to promote your course on our website. If you do promote it, when couples are looking for a course running near them, your course will appear on the searchable map.
- Watch the training videos below.
You can buy personalised promotional materials here.
- Think of ways to make your course feel like a fun 'date night' for your couples.
If you are using the Couple Survey, click on the training button below.
Think of who you can invite and ways to publicise your course in your community. See below for some ideas of who to invite and how to invite them.
Sometimes couples need more help. Do a little information gathering ahead of time to find a counsellor in your area to whom you will you feel comfortable referring couples to if they need more specific professional help. We have some organisations that we recommend here.
Learn how: Five essentials
Watch these training videos to find out the 5 essential ingredients for running a good course.
Learn How: Support couple training
Watch this Support Couple Training video to find out all you need to know about being a support couple and how to use the couple survey.
Who should I invite?
The Marriage Preparation Course is for any couple wanting to strengthen their relationship. It doesn’t matter if they have a strong relationship or are struggling or if they are married or cohabiting.
Think about inviting:
- Friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues.
- Current and previous wedding and baptism candidates.
- Community groups such as gym classes or mother & toddler groups.
- If your church is running Alpha and/or The Parenting Courses, consider inviting current and past guests.
Watch the video to hear one couple's experience of running a course in their home.
How do I invite guests?
The most effective way to encourage guests to come on your course is to personally invite them.
Promotional materials such as postcard invitations and banners can help and are easy to use - they can help generate interest and spread the word about your course to those outside your personal network.
How to reach couples in your community:
- Promote your course from the front of church with a fun video or by sharing feedback from previous guests.
- Give out invites and encourage everyone to invite one couple.
- Place posters and postcards in strategic locations such as coffee shops, gyms, crèches and libraries, etc.
- Advertise the event on your church website and social media.
- Make sure the date, time, venue and contact information are clear on your communication.
- Give the course a final push the week before it starts, as many couples decide to book on at the last minute.
‘There’s no counselling, no airing of dirty linen in public, no group therapy – and it seems to work.’
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'What is amazing is the loving, caring space that's created; we didn’t feel judged for not being married. That is the contemporary nature of what you are doing there, allowing people to access the church.'
– Jessie (Guest on The Marriage Course)
'The Marriage Course helped me tremendously, moving me away from trying to fix my wife, to listening to her.'
– Dan (Guest on The Marriage Course)