Thrive! Marriage Preparation

Mentored Learning Management System

What is it?
This is a unique option for engaged couples who are preparing for marriage in the Catholic Church. The focus on both human and spiritual development coupled with the online mentoring makes Thrive different from other programs.

Couples learn about . . .
  • scientifically proven, research-based relationship development
  • cutting-edge brain science
  • positive psychology
  • women’s health
  • the theological vision of marriage
  • insights from Theology of the Body

and practical guidance for...

  • how to discern well and make good decisions together
  • preparing to have a family
  • building a Catholic budget
  • developing a life of prayer and virtue
  • making intentional decisions about how they can form their new home as a domestic church where everyone THRIVES!
What do you mean when you say that this course is both "on-demand" and "personalized"?

It is on-demand in that the entire course is accessed through an online learning management system, or LMS. Each chapter will contain video presentations, reading, and responses to submit.  It is self-paced, allowing couples the flexibility to choose when and how often to work towards completing the coursework within the allowable timeframe of up to four months.

It is personalized in that our mentor couples will provide personalized feedback to answers throughout the course via email and learners are encouraged to ask questions and communicate with their mentors.

Thrive! is designed to guide couples through course material in an easy-to-use format that offers personal interaction between couples and mentors, and is available on-demand, which means couples may begin their preparation right away and work at their own pace.

Thrive! is divided into two parts: Part One contains 8 chapters and has a deadline of 10 weeks, and Part Two contains 6 chapters with a deadline of 8 weeks. Couples can complete the courses in as little as one chapter per week (with a couple of extra weeks to spare), or complete the entire program in a few days if necessary. We ask couples to complete all coursework no later than one month prior to their wedding date.

Where can couples go to register for Thrive? Right here!

How much does it cost and what does that include?
The course fee is $250 which includes access to the online learning system and personalized mentor feedback to the couple’s responses throughout the course.  It also includes mailed hardcopy materials: 300-page full-color workbook, activity card sets (character strengths & core values), confession how-to brochure, and couple prayer card.  

As a clergy member or marriage coordinator, how can I preview the course content?
We would love to give you access to the entire course for a two-week preview period! Please contact [email protected] to request clergy & coordinator access.

If I have questions or would like more information about bringing Thrive to my diocese, who should I talk to?

Dino Durando, Director, Marriage & Family Life Office
[email protected]  816-714-2371

Kristen Marquis, Associate Director, Marriage & Family Life Office
[email protected]  816-714-2373

Please contact us; we would love to chat with you!

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Does it work? 

What are engaged couples saying about Thrive?

We survey each individual that completes the Thrive program. Thrive! was launched in 2015, originally as an in-person weekend seminar. During that time, we logged over 1130 individual survey responses measuring the efficacy of our program. We made changes along the way to better communicate the message and teachings base don this learner feedback.

Since the launch of the online program in 2020, we have received feedback from over 630 additional participants.  We wanted to know and to measure whether an online program could have any hope of competing with an in-person seminar and could affect conversion and positive outcomes in our couples in a meaningful way.  What we discovered surpassed all of our expectations! We found that the online format was not only competitive, but it was superior to the in-person format at providing our couples with the proper environment to engage in the course content, allow for meaningful discussions, and establish an ongoing habit between the couple of setting aside time on a regular basis to talk about big, important life issues together.  The mentoring model means that every couple gets the personalized attention and feedback that best facilitates their application of the principles and practices of the course. It is our sincere hope that they will continue to form this habit of intentional discussions and decision-making learned from the method of this course into their married life!  

We have compiled all of these findings into the following illustrations for you:

We asked each participant several questions, among them we capture the following three in this chart:

  1. Do you now have a better understanding of the Church's teaching on marriage?
  2. Do you plan to be more active in your faith as a result of this seminar?
  3. Have you made a deeper commitment to Christ as a result of this seminar?
Thrive Spirituality Metrics


We really enjoyed this course! We especially enjoyed the spiritual growth we both experienced during "Part 2: Continuing Up the Spiral Staircase." It has helped us to dive deeper into what it means to be married and develop skills that we will use to create a happy, fulfilling life together rooted in our faith in God.  -S & A

This course was extremely fruitful and helpful in preparation for our marriage. The course contained timely, relevant and important information that was presented in a relatable and non-judgmental way. We will take away things from this course that will be very important to our marriage that we haven't heard of before! We don't know how any couple gets married without going through marriage prep first!  -N & K

This is a question we began asking in our surveys after the online course was created: "Would you recommend Thrive to a friend?"

Would you recommend Thrive to a friend?


I would recommend this marriage preparation to an engaged friend because it is thorough and informational with the flexibility to be done online at your own pace, and to learn the most relevant and faith-based way possible.  –T & M

Yes, I think this prep has opened many conversations with my fiancé and I. Also the information is really good, and it is extremely well put together. –R & A

YES! My fiancée and I were long-distance for a while and therefore it was more difficult to complete it in a timely manner. But the information seems spot-on....I suppose its effectiveness will have to be further evaluated as my and C's marriage begins and continues. –B & C 

We asked participants whether they had initially planned to use contraception in their marriage prior to this course, whether they were still planning to use contraception after taking this course, and if they now planned to use NFP for fertility management.  The results on this graph illustrate a positive shift from the in-person weekend to the online course, with an overall "YES OR MAYBE TO NFP" rate of 94%.  

Do you plan to use NFP?


We were extremely skeptical before our NFP class and slightly less skeptical before this chapter. We will continue discussing the risks and rewards of NFP but now feel like we have the tools to make an informed decision. With the benefits of hormonal balance in mind, S. is leaning more toward practicing NFP.  –S & R

We were hesitant going in, even though we knew a little bit about it before this chapter, and it still feels risky, but we feel like we understand it a lot better now, with the science making it feel less scary. -A & N

I knew it was the main option as Catholics, but I didn't know just how effective it was or how exactly it worked. I've learned more about how effective it is, how to execute it, but I'm most excited about how it will teach us self-regulation and communication and improve our relationship in that way.  –J & B