There is a lot of structure in place for people who are discerning a vocation to celibacy, but there isn’t a similar support network for people discerning marriage. Since the majority of the population is called to marriage, there is a glaring need for resources that can be used to help guide this discernment.
Dating couples in particular could benefit from resources like this. In the course of a dating relationship that has maintained healthy boundaries, the couple will naturally come to a point where they want to dive deeper into each other’s hearts and seek out a clearer understanding of whether or not they want to marry each other. In order to meet that need, we have created an intentional discernment program called Next Step (because pursuing further knowledge for the sake of a deeper discernment of marriage is simply the next step in a dating relationship). Next Step is an 8 week program that walks participants through the elements of proximate preparation as designated by Pope St. John Paul II. Participants will be paired with a mentor couple who will accompany them through the program and who will become a trusted resource for knowledge about marriage and family life.
Next Step is written for seriously dating couples who want to discern more intentionally with each other.
We plan to have a complimentary version of the course specifically designed for people who are single. Since it’s not yet available, singles who want a formal way to start discerning marriage are welcome to attend the existing Next Step course.
We have run this program seven times in the the diocese of Dallas with great success, and we are planning on running it again in the spring of 2021. If you are interested in being notified when signups open, shoot us an email and let us know!
what participants say
Next Step} exceeded my expectations in the variety of topics covered. If I'm honest, I wanted this program to help me know how to tell for sure if my significant other is "the one", but Next Step made me realize that I need to cultivate my relationship with Jesus and develop original solitude first and foremost, and that discerning marriage is also about discerning God's overall call for my life.
Would you recommend Next Step to a friend?
Absolutely. I think it's such a beautiful gift to be able to dive into all of these topics in a structured way like this BEFORE reaching the engagement stage. This has been an invaluable experience for me, personally and otherwise.
Elizabeth's presentations were the highlight of my Next Step experience. I loved her enthusiasm, warmth, experience, expertise, and joy. I can really only say, please keep doing what you're doing! You model the beautiful truths you teach! I had the reflection several times over the course of Next Step, listening to you, it is really beautiful to see a person doing the (or, one of the) thing[s] she was made to be doing excellently.