The Sacrament of Marriage is a beautiful covenant and mystery, strengthened by God’s love. God intended the relationship between a man and woman in marriage to mirror the love between Christ and His Church. Because of the sacredness of this union between husband and wife, Christ provided the Church with many graces that flow from the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, as a means of assisting husbands and wives to love each other with a deep and holy love. Take time to learn more about the Church’s teachings on marriage and explore the resources we have provided to help you better understand and live out this beautiful sacrament, so you can experience the happiness and peace that flow from a marriage blessed by God.
“Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” 
​(Gen. 2:4)
​ “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matt. 19:6)

Marriage is a lifelong commitment. Every couple entering this important vocation needs formation and preparation. The Diocese of Little Rock wants to ensure that couples entering marriage receive thorough preparation and hence require the following:

1. An initial interview with your pastor is required at least six months prior to the tentative date of the wedding. If you are able to begin earlier, it is encouraged.

The completion of the Pre-nuptial Questionnaire, along with proof of your freedom to marry and any requested paperwork will be done at the first initial meeting.

3. You and your fiancé will take a premarital inventory designed to help you learn more about each other and your unique relationship. In the Diocese of Little Rock, couples take the Facilitating Open Couple Communication Understanding and Study (FOCCUS). Then you will spend time with Sandi Reiss reflecting on your responses and how they affect your relationship and might carry over into your married life.

4. All couples preparing for marriage, are required to attend the diocesan marriage preparation program (Pre-Cana) or a Sponsor Couple program. These classes are foundational both in terms of understanding what Christian marriage is and how to live it. You will want to enroll in the marriage preparation program at least 4-6 months before your wedding.

5. All couples of childbearing years will participate in a full Natural Family Planning course. Practicing Natural Family Planning will strengthen your love and commitment and safeguard your marriage from divorce. The divorce rate for couples that practice NFP is almost non-existent because they are able to communicate daily about the most important aspects of their marriage. Enroll in NFP classes at least 4-5 months before your wedding date.

6. Begin planning your wedding liturgy any time after you have met with your Pastor and have set a date with the Church for your wedding. You will both have additional meetings with your Pastor.

7. Pray together, now, the wedding day and forever. Couples should pray with each other and for their upcoming marital life together. After the wedding, couples should continue to enrich, pray and care for their marriage.

For information contact Sandi Reiss. You can also click on the link below, provided by the Diocese of Little Rock's Family Life Office.

Family Life Director    Sandi Reiss   479-783-7745

Marriage Preparation

Fort Smith, Arkansas 
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock