Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New DVD to save couples' blushes

A pre-marriage agency is issuing a DVD for intending couples to assist those reluctant to talk about sexual issues in a group setting.

In an attempt to deal with those couples who are embarrassed at the notion of sharing intimate details while taking a pre-marriage course, the Avalon agency has formulated its DVD to offer the full content of a course for couples to study in their own home.

This way, Avalon director David Kavanagh told The Irish Catholic this week, ''people don't have to face invasive questions in front of a group of strangers''.

''I have heard horror stories about what people have been asked to reveal about their relationship,'' Kavanagh explained, ''such as how often they would have sex once married or if they intended to have kids.''

It was having witnessed for himself the awkwardness of some participants during courses that he came up with his DVD idea. 

The new DVD offers a range of topics of relevance to soon-to-be married couples, such as chores, in-laws, finances and diet. It includes input from professional therapists.

Kavanagh stresses that the DVD is not designed to replace a pre-marriage course, and only by engaging with a follow-on questionnaire linked with the DVD content can a couple gain their course certificate.

He also acknowledged that a group dynamic is what some people want in signing up for a pre-marriage course.

''But others look at the floor and wish it would open up and swallow them'' when asked certain questions.

Of Avalon's approach to certain issues on a course with the agency, Kavanagh said: ''We don't ask people individually to speak. We invite people to talk, and that way they only answer if they wish.''

Avalon also offers a free downloadable booklet on sex and marriage from its website www.avalonrc.com


Anonymous said...

Would the certificate issued by Avalon to couples who have done their course by DVD plus questionnaire, be acceptable in catholic parishes, as fulfilling the new, tougher criteria set in 2010 by the irish bishops, for courses preparing for the sacrament of matrimony? Are those criteria simply being ignored? Is anyone responsible to see if they are followed?

Perplexed said...

On the Avalon website it says: "Our online course certificates are always accepted." Compare this claim with the Dublin Diocesan statement on Avalon's pre-marriage DVD course: "This DVD course . . . is not an acceptable course of marriage preparation in the Archdiocese of Dublin."
Surely both cannot be right!

Perplexed said...

You quote Mr. Kavanagh as saying that it was "having witnessed the awkwardness of some participants" during courses that he came up with his DVD idea. No mention that he charges over a hundred euro for the DVD and whatever else goes with it, as an online package? Or that a couple qualifies for his course certificate just by answering four very simple questions online?

What authority has Mr. Kavanagh for saying that his online course fulfils church requirements for pre-marriage courses? Is there any official website, diocesan or parochial, that names his Avalon course as being acceptable?