Change is all around us. Change can be scary. Change can be fun. Change can be not so fun. The one constant in life is change.
The institution of marriage has changed dramatically over the decades, never mind marriage preparation. And here, in Edmonton specifically, the whole marriage prep landscape is going through its own adjustments, to put it mildly. So what does that mean for marriage prep communities? What is the goal of marriage prep as a whole?
The answer I’ll give is more specific for the Edmonton community, but it can and should still be applied to all marriage prep communities wherever they may be. Here is our goal as a Catholic Engaged Encounter community: be there when the couples need us. That’s it. That’s all.
Our job as an Engaged Encounter community is not to scratch and claw to have weekends every month of the year for couples. Our “success” is not measured on the number of weekends we hold or the amount of couples that attend those weekends, it’s judged by how the couples respond to the message of EE and use our valuable information within their marriage. If we’ve done the best job we can, then those couples will do all the marketing and word-of-mouth advertising that we need.
It’s not up to us to try and corral as many couples as we can to a weekend—if we’re doing our job, couples will spread the word for us. Our job is to be there for them 100%, no matter how small or how large a particular group might be on a given weekend. That’s it. That’s all. We can’t control the decisions couples make regarding their marriage prep journeys. What we do have control over is how great our weekends can be in the hopes of having those couples pass on what they’ve learned to other engaged couples.
Yes, Catholic Engaged Encounter is one of the best marriage prep courses around, and yes, couples should choose us over others, but we can’t control what dictates their decision making processes. We can only control how we present a weekend to our couples, no matter how few of them there may be.
So let’s keep doing what we’re doing, focus on what we have control over, and not worry about what changes can and, most assuredly, will occur. As long as The Catholic Church still exists, there will always be a place in the world for a solid Catholic marriage prep course. We just need to be willing to adapt and accept whatever hand is dealt us to the best of our abilities without taking it too personally.
God bless all the married couples and volunteers that help make Engaged Encounter what it is today!
Jason & Christina Kurzitza
CEE Edmonton Coordinators