“What is urgently needed today is a ministry to care for those whose marital relationship has broken down.”
–Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia, 238
It is called Parish MARRIAGE CARE™. We, Lorrie, and Don Gramer, and MarriageBuilding/ConstruyendoMatrimonios USA created MARRIAGE CARE™ along with Lucia & Ricardo Luzondo who have done the cultural translation into Spanish. An early contributor also includes Dr. Doug Meske, a clinical psychologist, who lent his insights and unconditional support to this effort.
MARRIAGE CARE™ is a ministry of care for marriages in crisis; for couples going through difficulties or loss, and even those who are just wanting help to know what to do to strengthen their marriages.
MARRIAGE CARE™ is designed to change the parish’s response to a marriage in need by giving them every chance to survive, and even better, to thrive.
When a couple or spouse contacts the parish for help, the parish, as “first responders,” has a plan that offers HOPE, HELP, and the chance to HEAL.
Our Goal is to have MARRIAGE CARE™ available in Catholic Parishes across the United States. We think the stakes are high and that there must be a renewed effort to help couples succeed.
MARRIAGE CARE™ OFFERS
informal, relational, faith-based help giving marriages a way to find HOPE, HELP, and the ability to HEAL through a
Most of us that are married, readily admit, marriage is hard work. It is especially hard when communication breaks down. When a spouse loses his or her job and money is tight. Or when a spouse is unfaithful. When… When… When… becomes a litany of problems or difficulties that marriages can collapse under without help.
Parish MARRIAGE CARE™ gives couples a way to regain trust by learning better skills of communicating or solving problems. They will find support in turning to God in prayer and reconciliation. And the help to figure out if they need counseling, problem-solving skills, healing, or growing efforts and where to receive such services and help.
MARRIAGE CARE™ is NOT Marriage Counseling but begins the process that may lead to counseling, if needed. The role of MARRIAGE ANGELS!™ is not to fix the relationship, but to teach the couple ways to repair and maintain their relationship. We want to create an environment where couples can begin to strengthen their bonds, and to set their sights on creating a healthy and holy marriage. This happens in the full scope of what we call MARRIAGE CARE™.
MARRIAGE CARE™ is a parish-based “marriage coaching” ministry offering timely and proximate assistance focused on solutions rather than problems. It gives marriages an opportunity for growth and/or rebuilding. In every sense, it is a ministry by trained “first responders” – who we call MARRIAGE ANGELS!™ – to assist couples with coached skills, guidance and support that can lead to the Hope, Help and Healing in their marriage. We seek to do this “Sharing God’s Love & Care One Marriage at a Time.”
MARRIAGE CARE™ is designed to be a dynamic, innovative, and effective way for a parish to offer relational and spiritual support to couples in most any situation that is safe, supportive, encouraging, directing, and God-centered.
A MARRIAGE CARE™ Ministry is how the Parish best responds to a married couple experiencing any kind of crisis, marriage conflict or a significant loss. It is promoted as an effective means of help to a couple having difficulties that would benefit from some “extra” care. Through an “extended conversation,” MARRIAGE CARE™ can provide prayer support, guidance, witness, referral, and on-going care. It is “solution-focused” rather than problem-focused. It is about helping marriages get “unstuck” and “back on track” in their lives, marriages, and families.
A few years back, we were having a discussion with a group of pastors about pastoral care for the marriages in their parishes in need of help, when one pastor from a medium-sized mid-western parish said: “When a couple finally comes to me for help, the whole house is on fire! Is there some way we can get them to come in while it is still a pan-fire on the stove?”
We want couples to realize that the best couples seek help when it is needed, and the earlier, the better. It is meant to give those options early to get their marriage back on track before the “whole house is on fire!” or when they may think it is too late. We believe it is NEVER too late!