Next Step is an exciting new initiative of the Theology of the Body Institute. It is an 8-part formation program for people who are discerning marriage. Based heavily on Pope St. John Paul II’s ideas for proximate preparation for marriage, Next Step walks seriously dating couples through topics that John Paul II highlights as important for people who think they want to get married but aren’t yet engaged. Through 8 hours of dynamic & enthusiastic presentations, accompanied with a detailed workbook, couples will get to deep dive into their own hearts and the heart of Christ as they take the next step in their discernment journey.
Registrants for this online Next Step course will receive access to the course and a digital course workbook for 90 days. Registrants should plan to set aside approximately two hours per week to complete the course in the given timeframe. This gives you time to watch the video content but also to have the necessary conversations with your significant other.
Course Set Up
The videos are broken into manageable portions that allow you and your significant other to watch together and follow up with a discussion. Each of the 8 session includes approximately 1-2 hours of video content.
Resources and Direction
Each video session is complete with the resources used in the course, as well as directions for helping to make this online course both intellectually stimulating and spiritually fruitful.
This course is intended for couples who are seriously dating but not yet engaged to be married. If you are single or already engaged, you are certainly welcome to take this course too! There will be times in the course where the language used will need to be adapted to your individual circumstances.
We're in a relationship. Do we both need to purchase Next Step?
No! One purchase of the Next Step program is intended for one couple.
Is This for Parishes?
This version of Next Step is intended for individual couples to work through on their own. The parish version of the program encourages weekly live meetings and a small group format with mentor couples. This will be launching soon, so be sure to check back for updates! The parish license will include everything you need to train mentors, printed copies of necessary materials, and videos to support a live presentation of the program.
Does Next Step meet my diocese’s marriage prep requirements?
In Pope St. John Paul II‘s vision, he uses the phrases “proximate preparation” and “immediate preparation” to distinguish between seasons of a person’s discernment and the formation appropriate to each. Traditional diocesan marriage prep falls under John Paul II's vision for "immediate preparation." Next Step hones in on his "proximate preparation" topics. Since Next Step focuses on those people who aren’t engaged yet and targets the topics toward that audience, it won’t meet the marriage prep requirements for most dioceses.
Why should I take this if it’s not required?
Your dating relationship and your future marriage are worth all of the time, energy, and effort that you can give it. Next Step will give you an incredible foundation for entering into an intentional time of formation and discernment together, allowing you to talk through critical elements of what makes a healthy marriage. You were made for greatness, and you don’t need to settle for just fulfilling the bare minimum requirements!