What is The Marriage Preparation Course?

The Marriage Preparation Course was developed in 1985 by Nicky and Sila Lee (authors of The Marriage Book) to help couples invest in their relationship for a lasting marriage.  

Over five sessions, the course will help you to:

  • Recognise the importance of commitment
  • Understand and appreciate your differences
  • Learn the art of communication
  • Resolve conflict
  • Spend time together
  • Recognise the influence of your family background
  • Develop a good sexual relationship
  • Talk about your goals, values and dreams

Who is it for?

The Marriage Preparation Course is for any engaged couple planning to give their marriage the best possible start. The course is also for couples who would like to explore the idea of getting married, or for couples where one or both partners have been married previously.

The course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background. You do not need to be getting married in a church to come on the course.

What can I expect?

On The Marriage Preparation Course, you and your partner are hosted by a married couple and seated near a few other engaged couples. Each couple’s privacy is respected as there is no group discussion and no requirement to disclose anything about your relationship to anyone else. 

Each session consists of food and/or drink, a practical talk and a time for discussion between you and your partner. Background music ensures that you can chat in complete privacy. You will never be asked to share anything about your relationship with anyone other than your partner.

Prior to the start of the course or during the first few sessions, you may be sent a Couples Survey via email. This is a questionnaire and not a test of compatibility; it is designed to help you and your partner highlight issues that are important to discuss before getting married. It also affirms areas of strength in your relationship.  

Watch Matt and Joey's story as they share their experience of the course:

Uploaded by Marriage Courses on 2016-08-25.

How do we continue investing in our marriage?

On completion of the course, couples will have discovered practical ways to invest in their relationship and create a good foundation for marriage.    

Here are some ways we suggest you can continue investing in your relationship:

1. Further reading

Learn more about marriage and relationships with Nicky and Sila’s recommended reading:

  • The Marriage Book, Nicky and Sila Lee
  • The Sixty Minute Marriage , Rob Parsons
  • The Highway Code for Marriage, Michael and Hilary Perrott
  • The Mystery of Marriage, Mike Mason
  • The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman
  • Boundaries in Marriage, Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend

For more titles and information:

 > Download Reading List [PDF]

2. Professional Counselling

In our experience, about 10 per cent of couples on The Marriage Preparation Course require additional help. Usually, a couple of sessions talking to your support couple (a mature married couple who have done The Marriage Course) alongside the course itself can provide sufficient support to resolve any issues that may have arisen during the course.

Sometimes couples require additional help. As a first step, we recommend you ask your course leader for a referral. They can often recommend someone suited to your needs and based near you.

If you prefer more specific support, the organisations listed below can put you in touch with accredited counsellors. (Try to speak with the counsellor(s) in advance to make sure they hold similar values to you regarding marriage before booking a session.)

Its Good To Talk

Association of Christian Counsellors

UK Council for Psychotherapy


‘There’s no counselling, no airing of dirty linen in public, no group therapy – and it seems to work.’
 View original article


‘It feels like the start of a journey not the end of a course.’
 View original article

'The course has exceeded my expectations, I wasn’t expecting as much as we got. We’ve learnt to listen and to explain where we’re coming from.'  

-A Marriage Preparation Course guest


'The course has exceeded my expectations, I wasn’t expecting as much as we got. We’ve learnt to listen, how to explain where we’re coming from.'

-A Marriage Preparation Course guest

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