Proximate Preparation is a phrase used by Pope St. John Paul II in a document called Familiaris Consortio. It describes the season of marriage preparation that occurs once a person is ready to start seriously contemplating their vocation.
Pope St. John Paul II lists a number of topics that he thinks should be covered during the proximate prep season. Each of these uniquely equips the individual to better understand the requisites of the vocation of marriage and thus to be better prepared to discern it.
It is a fairly common sentiment in our culture nowadays that marriage is impossible. Many people think that marriage -- a faithful covenant between two people until death do us part -- is a dead institution.
This is simply not true.
Marriage is difficult, to be sure, but it is possible. The best way to stack the odds in favor of you having a happy, successful marriage is to prepare for it in advance.
Studying the proximate preparation content that John Paul II delineated is a great way to start forming yourself into the sort of person who would be a good spouse. It can also be used to help discern if marriage it the vocation for you.
Proximate preparation can take place when you are single, when you are in a committed relationship, and when you are in that ambiguous middle ground between dating and engaged.
For your ease, we have grouped St. John Paul II’s suggested topics into these three categories (click on each one for more information):