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“Who among you is addicted to porn?” If this is the question asked during marriage preparation to a room full of engaged couples, you can be sure of the answer. No one is addicted.

You see, not every marriage preparation instructor is a counselor specialized in pornography addiction. And even if they were, you don’t ask this question in public. After all, nobody is going to answer this kind of question among other engaged couples they just met either. You have to get to know the couple, and the couple has to get to know you as a person whom they can trust and confide in. If you are the instructor, you have to earn trust, and this takes time and effort; it can’t be done in one day or even one weekend.

In the Agape CatholicMarriagePrep.com program we never directly ask if an individual is addicted to porn. The instructing married couple who accompanies each engaged couple individually, one-on-one, is well-formed, and they know not to ask the question, especially not in this context.

For our online course, the engaged couple actively participates in six sessions where they are closely mentored. Along with being invited into the spiritual teachings of the Church with the guidance of their instructor couple, they also have deep heart-to-heart conversations that prepare them for the session: “Forgiveness and Your Body is a Temple”. By the time they reach this session, the mentoring married couple and the engaged couple have journeyed together for over one month.

During these two months, each engaged couple can take as much time as they need to reflect on the teachings of the Catholic Church. They also exchange their ideas and reflections that ultimately help them get to know each other better and so much deeper than any date they've probably ever had. A key part of this includes the engaged couple opening their hearts to the other which involves a great deal of vulnerability. 

In the session, “Forgiveness and Your Body is a Temple”  they are presented the quote: 

"The body is for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body... Our bodies are members of Christ. You are not your own."

To provide their reaction or response to this truth, the engaged couple is invited to answer the question: “How do you understand these statements?”  

After the couple individually shares, they're walked through the why behind the what regarding this important Church teaching. To go deeper, they are asked to read Battle for Purity in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2520-2533. Then they reflect on another question: “What is "immorality"? What do you suppose immorality can be in married life?” To their answers, they receive another teaching with a quote of Saint Paul VI from his encyclical Humanae Vitae that may surprise them, coming from a Pope: “Sex is noble and worthy.”

This session continues on with additional teachings and questions, with a roadmap for their reflections and conversations. It is only at this point in their marriage preparation journey that they answer this question, separately:
Do you think watching pornography can hurt marriage (or a relationship)? Why?"

He responds.

She responds. 

It's a trusting environment that has been created. So, there is no accusation, they can take the time to talk about the question, discuss, journal about their own answers, and ask each other: “What do you think? Why did you write this?” 

They know they can answer what they really think; they won’t be judged or receive a bad grade.

This is the point in the relationship that the instructing married couple has the opportunity to provide more information about the “silent killer of families,’’ as we commonly refer to pornography. This includes what the effects of porn are on individuals, marriages, and families. The engaged couple received guidance on what (and why) they have to do to protect themselves, his/her spouse, their children, and their family—and, what they have to do if they are addicted.

It bears great fruit when they know they feel safe and they can open up. Trust is the key.

Resource
Folleto de matrimonio

Folleto de preparación y enriquecimiento matrimonial

Description

Este folleto explica cómo el uso de la pornografía afecta a todos, con un enfoque particular en las parejas comprometidas y casadas, y qué se puede hacer para proteger las relaciones más íntimas: el matrimonio. Este es un buen recurso para la preparación matrimonial, enriquecimiento matrimonial, cursos de castidad y clases de RICA.

Público: parejas comprometidas y casadas
Idioma: inglés
Tipo de recurso: folleto
Costo: descarga gratuita o $ 6.99 (25 por paquete) para impreso

Christian Meert is the co-founder of Catholic Marriage Prep, an online marriage preparation course rooted in Saint Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body based out of the Diocese of Colorado Springs. Christian and his wife Christine have presented nationally and internationally on topics of marriage and family life with a particular focus and love for Saints Louis and Zélie Martin.