In the last quarter of this year, the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF) will launch the Couple Mentor Journey (CMJ) in which couples who have been married for at least five years are paired with young couples to support them with the former’s own experiences.
This will take place after the engaged couples’ initial formation in Engaged Encounter or Marriage Preparation Course.
“CMJ is meant to augment these two programmes and not replace them,” explained Ms Caroline Theseira, the co-project coordinator. “Young couples see a need for such a model because of the gap between marriage preparation and the next appropriate course, Marriage Encounter, meant for couples who are married after about two years.”
According to ACF, there are two dimensions to the programme. The accompaniment part focuses on the journey together, and provides the support when various issues arise. The second dimension seeks to form couples using short video lessons on the sacramentality of marriage, integrated with contemporary relationship psychology.
The entire process will be driven by SmartLoving Engaged, a home-based marriage formation programme that originated from Australia. The Catholic doctrines on marriage, including the sacramentality of sexual intercourse and the Theology of the Body will be taught.
The programme comprises practical, psychology-based advice, designed to help young couples understand one another and learn how to better communicate.
From July this year, couples going for the Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend and the Marriage Preparation Course will first hear about the CMJ programme.
According to ACF, couples who are married for at least five years and believe in the sacramental bond of marriage, qualify to be couple mentors.
At the World Forum on Marriage organised by Marriage Encounter held in Singapore in January, participants expressed that couple mentoring would go a long way to help young couples pick up and adopt marriage and family values.
ACF had also been planning to introduce such a programme later this year.
“ACF envisions a Church where experienced couples share the joys and struggles of the married life with the recently engaged and newlyweds, inspiring them with their life experience and the Gospel while accompanying them in friendship,” said Dr John Hui, chairman of ACF.
By Pearlyn Neo and Jeremy Chan