There's a month to go before the Anglican rules change on where you can be married:
The Marriage Measure changes will mean from October 1st an engaged couple are welcome to be married in church in a parish, not only if one of them lives or worships there, but also if just one of these applies:
• one of them was baptised or prepared for confirmation in the parish;
• one of them has ever lived in the parish for six months or more;
• one of them has at any time regularly attended public worship in the parish for six months or more;
• one of their parents has lived in the parish for six months or more in their child’s lifetime;
• one of their parents has regularly attended public worship there for six months or more in their child’s lifetime;
• their parents or grandparents were married in the parish.
(All of these refer to Church of England services)
Church of England guidance on the Marriage Measure can be found here.
The changes do not apply to Church of England cathedrals.
There's some new research and road testing on marriage preparation - story here - looking at how best to prepare couples for marriage, and what kind of marriage prep people want. I must admit that the idea that 1 session is enough doesn't sound right, and even if people have lived together for years, there is still plenty that people can do to build a stronger relationship.
There's a Church Times article this week (subscribers only, I'm afraid) which says a bit more about this, meanwhile, a few other marriage resources:
The Church of Englands marriage page, with a useful Q&A section, and a plug for 'growing together', a new book aimed at couples getting ready for marriage.
Care for the Family have a 'marriage matters' section, and it's worth browsing their articles for stuff on marriage and relationships.
The Marriage Preparation Course, out of the Alpha stable, is one we use, and it went down a treat earlier this year. It's 5 sessions, pretty comprehensive, and gently Christian without stuffing it down people's throats. We're taking it to a wedding fayre in October to offer the course to people who aren't having a church wedding.
Though the divorce rate has fallen again, it's still very high, and it's quite strange to think that after 12 and a bit years of marriage, our marriage is has now lasted longer than the average. In the stats there's no suggestion about why the divorce rate has fallen - any theories?
I wouldn't be surprised to see the number of marriages fall with the 'credit crunch', given the disgustingly high prices for photos, cars, venues and all the bells and whistles which now stick like leeches to the 'normal' wedding. An increasing chunk of my time with couples is spent helping them to save money on the wedding day so that they won't lurch into debt the moment they say 'I do' (not that they actually say 'I do' in the service....!).