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This section contains book reviews and some core information for CNME members and those involved in Marriage Education.

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Catholic teaching on sex and marriage

The Catholic Church teaches that making love should mean making love.

By giving yourselves to each other sexually, as a couple you are increasing your love for each other and encourage it to grow.

It is only within a secure, stable and permanent relationship that this has a chance to happen.

Jack Dominion, Psychiatrist and Theologian, describes lovemaking as a body language that makes the following 5 points:
  • A focus on “You’ rather than “me.”
  • An expression of being most feminine/masculine in the act of making love.
  • An expression of the healing power of God’s love as you welcome, accept, love, and forgive each other.
  • An expression of total commitment and free gift of self, gives ongoing hope and optimism for loving.
  • An expression of thanksgiving for the gift of God’s love through each other.
We would now like to look a little more closely at the life-giving aspect. In other words, what does the Catholic Church have to say about Children and Family Planning?
  • The Catholic Church has always supported a consistent ethic of life, and children have always been regarded as a gift and blessing for married couples, and a natural extension of the marriage relationship.
  • Since the Second Vatican Council the Church has acknowledged that parents have the right and responsibility to make decisions about the size and spacing of their family.
  • The Church has also acknowledged that there may be valid reasons for not having children, either in the short or the long term.
  • However because the Church always supports what is life-giving, it teaches that every act of sexual intercourse should be open to the transmission of life. For this reason the only forms of family planning that are acceptable are those that are in tune with the biological laws of the human person.
For this reason the only form of Family Planning accepted by the Catholic Church is Natural Fertility Management.

Natural Fertility Management uses the naturally occurring fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle to allow couples to choose the spacing and timing of their family.

Natural Fertility Management also has some other advantages:
  • Couples become very aware of their combined fertility and learn a great deal about the woman’s cycle.
  • It is very effective in identifying fertile periods. Research shows that infertility is increasing in industrialized countries and many couples have to face the possibility that they may never be able to have children.
  • You visit the clinic as a couple and you are supported by a Natural Fertility Management advisor until you are confident in using the method.
  • Natural Fertility Management advisors are also able to give advice on other forms of family planning if necessary. Your GP can also give you this advice.
For more info please visit:

Marriage and the Law in New Zealand

Minimum Age: In New Zealand, the minimum age is sixteen. Parental consent is required if you are under eighteen.

Notice of intended Marriage and Issue of Marriage Licence

Civil law requires that you give written notice of your intended marriage not later than three days and not earlier than three months before your marriage. In special circumstances, the Registrar may issue a license before the three day period has elapsed.

Contact the Department of Internal Affairs; Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages,

Free phone 0800 225252 or

Documents required prior to Marriage

For purposes of New Zealand civil law, you may be asked to produce your birth certificate.

For church purposes you will be asked to produce your baptismal certificate

(if you have been baptised) and your confirmation certificate (if you have been confirmed)

The Marriage Ceremony

The basic ceremony required by New Zealand civil law is that those being married express their consent in the presence of an authorised celebrant and two witnesses. The marriage ceremony must be conducted at the place specified in the Marriage License. The ceremony may be in whatever form the couple chooses but at some point in the ceremony, the parties must acknowledge that each takes the other as his/her legal wife/husband. In the Catholic ceremony, the priest would usually be the authorised celebrant for the purposes of civil law as well as being an official witness.

Marriage Certificates

New Zealand civil law requires that both parties, the two witnesses and the celebrant, all sign the registration forms recording the marriage. The celebrant will give one copy (the brides’ copy) to you and send another copy to the Registrar of Marriages.

Church Records

Church law requires that the marriage be recorded in the marriage register of the parish where the marriage takes place and also in the baptismal registers in which the baptism of the spouses was entered.

Change of Name

A woman may choose to take on her husband’s surname on marriage, but there is no obligation on her to do so. If she does wish to use her husband’s surname, she may do so without taking any special steps. The marriage certificate substantiates her use of the name. A wife may also choose to combine her own surname with that of her husband and use both names after marriage or she may continue to use her own name.


Welfare Benefits

If you are receiving national superannuation or other benefits, you should consult the appropriate government department about the effect your marriage may have on these benefits.

Supporting your Spouse and Children

A major obligation imposed on a person by marriage is to maintain his or her spouse, should circumstances arise where the spouse becomes in need of support. Originally this obligation was limited to the husband alone. However under the present law, the obligation to provide maintenance is not limited to husbands. The Matrimonial Property Act provides that either party who is in need is entitled to maintenance from the other, to the extent that the other can afford to provide it. Both husband and wife have an obligation to their respective means, to maintain the children of the marriage.

Making a Will

If you die without making a Will, your spouse will inherit some or all of your property. If you have already made a Will, your marriage operates to revoke that Will unless it is clear that you made it in contemplation of the marriage.

You should consult a solicitor about the need to make a Will or change your existing Will, or as to any provisions it should contain to provide for your spouse or children.

Effective Budget Planning. see

A lot of arguments in marriage are about money. An effective way of dealing with financial issues is to draw up a budget.

  1. Decide on your values and goals together – this comes first and is vital.
  2. Work on one year.
  3. Work out what your income will be for the year.
  4. Find out how you are spending your money at present. This gives you some starting figures.
  5. Estimate your fixed expenses for the year and put aside the appropriate amount each month. Eg. Rates, insurance, car registration etc.
  6. Estimate what irregular lump sum expenses you will have for the year, divide the total by 12, and save that amount each month. Eg. Holiday, new baby, doctor, hospital, paint the house etc.
  7. Estimate your weekly operating expenses. Each family member should receive what he/she needs for the necessities and extras. Eg. Food, rent, clothes, transport, entertainment etc.
  8. If the first estimate does not work, adjust until you find a satisfactory plan. This often requires several attempts.
  9. When things happen which affect your budget – redo it! Eg pregnancy, redundancy etc.
  10. It is an excellent idea to make a will when you get married. It is a commonsense way of showing concern for those you love.

For budgeting advice contact the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services (NZFFBS). Look under “Budget Advice Service” in the White Pages of the telephone book, or contact Citizens Advice Bureau and they will put you in touch with your nearest NZFFBS office.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau offers free, independent information and advice on general financial matters, including your rights as a consumer. Call 0800 FOR CAB (0800 367 222) or contact your local CAB