Changing family life will change the world, so believes the priest in his article in the Kyeongyang magazine. He is speaking about a program for engaged couples. They begin on Friday evening and conclude on Sunday afternoon. One of the participants expressed it this way: "We have talked with each other a great deal, I thought, but never have we been so focused, or talked at such depth as we did, a good preparation for the future."
The priest has been involved with the program for the last 5 years. The program is supervised by Marriage Encounter couples and one priest. The numbers who want to make the program are many so one has to register at least two or three months in advance. You have priests who make the program a condition for their witnessing the marriage, you have those who give the engaged couple the registration for the program as a gift. In most of the programs about one third of the couples are not both Catholic, and you have one couple in each program without any religious affiliation.
Older married couples talk of their experience of married life, the difficulties they experienced and the way they solved them. These are the topics the engaged couples will discuss in their time together. Preparation for the one day of marriage with their presents, meals, invitations and the like, is not as important, they realize, as the groundwork for a long married life, and the problems they will face.
Couples preparing for marriage are celebrating their new life together but also are concerned about the future. They see many who shortly after marriage divorce because of incompatibility. Instead of sacrificing and understanding the other, each considers their own needs. Working to overcome the difficulties of married life together is more difficult for some, than to call it quits.
During the program with the interviews, and confessions the priest meets couples who are at peace, mature, and those who are uncomfortable, and young. You have women who cry, couples who decide to leave during the program; couples who fight severely during the program and those who postpone their marriage or decide to cancel their marriage.
A dynamic sign that the program is serving a good purpose and having good results. Surprisingly, to get priests and couples to partake as leaders in the weekend is not always easy, but those who take the program and after marriage want to be of help during the weekends are more than they need. He hopes to see the number of programs increased and the weekends spread to all of the dioceses in the country. We blogged this Weekend back in Dec. 14th of 2010, and was glad to see the growth in the numbers of those interested has increased.