Twenty years ago the Diocese developed a programme for engaged couples. That programme has served us well but, since the original programme was written, lots of research has been published to help us understand how couple relationships work and how to sustain them over many, many years.

  Last year the Bishops of England and Wales published guidelines for the preparation of couples for marriage.  It was opportune, therefore, to review and refresh our programme.  That process is nearing completion and the new outline will be launched in the Autumn by Hallam Caring Services Family Focus Project.

  The programme is built around two major themes.  One is focussed on communication which is the lifeblood of any relationship.  This theme deals with such topics as understanding feelings, how well we listen, and what gets in the way of listening, and how we deal with conflict.  We also help couples to identify issues where they don’t see eye to eye, particularly in areas such as roles in the relationship; attitude to each other’s family and friends; leisure activities; attitudes to their sexual relationship; attitudes to children and parenting; financial management; communication; conflict resolution and marital expectations.

  The second theme is built around what it means to live out the promises that the couple make on their wedding day, where we explain the significance of the sacrament and vocation of marriage.

  The course is run over five evenings of about 1½ to 2 hours, with one, two or three engaged couples.

  Currently, nineteen trained married couples present the course but we have an urgent need for more presenters in all areas of the Diocese, especially in Sheffield North, Rotherham, Barnsley and Chesterfield Deaneries where provision is sparse.

Are you interested?

  Is this a ministry that you think that you might like to offer?  Don’t think for one moment that you have to be some sort of perfect married couple to be suitable – they don’t exist!  What you do need is to be able to share a little of your experience in your marriage.

  Full training, materials and ongoing support will be given.  For an informal conversation please contact Charles and Jane Perryman, telephone: 0114 2373301, email: mailto:janeandcharles@googlemail.com.