What Couples Say

“We came as individuals, Marriage Enrichment made us a team again.”

“It was a new beginning for us.”

“We came because we thought we needed a new spark, but found we needed a complete overhaul.”

“I was relieved to find out that other couples face the same challenges.”

“We found the love we had misplaced."

”Marriage Enrichment brought us closer to Christ and to each other.”






This ministry is based on a set of parish-based marriage programs that strengthen and enrich the relationship between a man, a woman and God during the couple's mariage journey.  The ministry originated within the Archdiocese of Santa Fr and is made available nationally to parishes and congregations.  There are six programs and other activities.
1   Marriage Enrichment Weekend
2   Marriage Enrichment Experience      
3   Marriage Enrichment Retreat      
4   Celebrations of Marriage
5   Engaged-Couple Enrichment                             
6   Youth Dating and Healthy Relationships
7   Other Activities


These  parish/congregation-based programs cover the life-cycle and are presented by the sponsoring church using their church facilities.  They cover the life cycle.  The teams presenting the programs are from the sponsoring church.  Information on how to present these programs is at the end of this section.  These programs are made available nationally through the Family Life Office of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.  They have an inter-church and inter-faith dimension.


1  Marriage Enrichment Weekend

This enrichment program is for married and engaged couples.  It begins on Friday evening, continues through Saturday, and ends on Sunday afternoon.  The couples return to their homes in the evening.  The Weekend touches on all aspects of marriage.  The talks, discussions, videos, question and answer sessions, and meditations are integrated together to provide an opportunity for growth through learning, sharing of experiences, and reflection.  The building of relationships starts with self.  It then progresses to include spouse, children, family, and community, with God as an integral part of all relationships.  The couple relationship and building of spirituality are the central focus.

There are usually no more than twenty-five to thirty participant couples plus the team attending a Weekend.  This helps build community.  To provide a good balance of experience in marriage, no more that about one-fourth of the participating couples are engaged couples.  Married couples from the team serve as sponsors for the engaged couples.  The participation of the clergy and religious is important in providing spiritual guidance and support.  The team is composed of about twenty married couples and a spiritual director.  The talks are given by thirteen speaker couples and the spiritual director.  There are seven to ten support couples.  The support functions include publicity, registration, kitchen, decorations, physical arrangements, music, and liturgy.  The team composition for each Weekend is different.  This provides for orderly growth in the program, adds vitality, and builds leadership.


2  Marriage Enrichment Experience

This is a two-day enrichment program is for married couples.  It begins on Friday evening and concludes on Saturday.  The Experience covers the three major aspects of marriage formation:  1)  the ideal in marriage, 2)  the reality of marriage, and 3)  spirituality in marriage.  This program is a shortened version of the Weekend.  It is formulated to provide a growth experience for couples who cannot commit to a full Weekend.  It also helps in providing child-care for participants with young families.  This program is most effective when coupled with a follow-up activities.  The presentation team is composed of about ten married couples and a spiritual director. 


3  Marriage Enrichment Retreat

The Retreat is a one-day or three-evening program.   This ministry is focused on married couples.  However, engaged couples also benefit from the experience.  The process of the Retreat addresses the ideal, the reality, and the  sacrament and covenant aspects of marriage.  It helps enrich the couple relationship through reflection, sharing, and support.  The Retreat is based on the same approach to ministry as the Weekend.   It addresses spirituality in marriage in a practical way using everyday marriage experiences.  This program is ideal for those couples who cannot attend a Weekend because of their busy lives and for those parishes and congregations that do not have the resources to support the entire Weekend program.  It is flexible and adaptable to any parish or congregation (small or large).  Many churches use the Retreat as a stepping stone toward eventually presenting the Weekend.

The number of participant couples attending is usually similar to that for the Weekend.  That number can be increased, however, if the church decides to present the program to the entire church community.  The presentation team usually consists of five married couples and a spiritual director.   Couples new to ministry often become involved and develop leadership skills for ministry within the church.


4   Celebrations of Marriage

The Celebrations of Marriage program is an ongoing series of parish-based monthly gatherings that are a combination of educational and social activities focused on the Sacrament of Marriage.  The sessions are for married and engaged couples and provide a learning experience and mutual support for marriage.  They last for about two hours and can be held in either the church or in homes.  The sessions usually include talks and videos followed by sharing and reflection.  This program can serve as the main marriage ministry in the church or as a start-up or follow-up to another marriage program.  Those who attend often become servant-leaders in marriage and other church ministries.  The team for the church-center optiond is about five married couples and a spiritual director.  For the home-centered optio the team ia about two married couples per group.    


5  Engaged-Couple Enrichment

This is a marriage preparation program for engaged couples.  It is presented in one evening and the following day (usually, a Saturday evening and Sunday).  As an option, it can be presented in three evenings.  In this program the engaged couple's preparation for marriage is enriched through a process of reflection, sharing and support.  The focus is on sharing all aspects of marriage with engaged couples.  Married couples volunteer their time and talent and share their personal experiences.  This helps engaged couples develop a fuller understanding of the relationship and commitment that they are undertaking.  They benefit from the real-life experiences shared by married couples in the talks and in the discussion sessions.  For more one-on-one interaction, married couples serve as sponsors for the engaged couples.

The number of engaged couples attending is usually twenty to twenty-five.  The team presenting the program is usually six to twelve married couples and a spiritual director.  The number of married couples on the team depends upon the need for sponsor couples.  The sponsor activity provides mutual support for both the engaged and married couples that often extends well beyond the program experience.


6  Youth Dating and Healthy Relationships

This is a one-day education program for youth at the time of dating (ages 14-18 years).  It helps them formulate a vision and guiding principles as well as develop an awareness of challenges and methods for handling them.  They also learn about the vocation of marriage through a process that places God at the center.  This provides a foundation based upon Christian principles for those who may be considering marriage as their life-long commitment.  This program is meant to support and complement the family in the values and guidance that it provides to their youth and young adults.  In addition, it helps provide an important early-in-life step toward recognizing that marriage is a covenant/sacrament.  The team presenting the program is two married couples, a youth director, a spiritual director, and three single-young adults.




7.1  Servant-Leadership Outreach

After the program experience many couples want to continue to grow and enrich their marriages.  They often volunteer to become team members for upcoming program presentations.  Parish/Congregation steering committees often host other activities such as dances, outings, etc.  The goal is to provide continued support and growth.


7.2  Program Leadership Meetings

These are regional meetings for discussion of issues relevant to the ministry.  They provide a means for networking, a forum for exchange of ideas, and an opportunity to provide update information on program activities.


7.3  Workshops

A number of workshops are available to support the ministry:

  • Ministry Marriage Formation Process  -  to educate team members on the program enrichment process.
  • Steering Committee  -  to organize parishes/congregations for starting and sustaining the ministry.
  • Leadership  -  to promote servant-leadership approach and program goals and guidelines.


Information on presenting these programs

More on Other Archdiocese Marriage Programs

For schedules of program presentations and activities see Events

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