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Talking about Money in Catholic Marriage Preparation Classes


Valerie Conzett, director of the Family Life Office in the Archdiocese of Omaha, and Sr. Virginia West, a marriage and family therapist at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park, FL.


Catholic churches and dioceses use Money Habitudes in marriage preparation programs to help people better understand themselves and their partners when it comes to money and finances.


Couples preparing for marriage within the Catholic Church.

Why use the cards:

  • The Money Habitude Cards help individuals better understand themselves and their partners and how they relate to money.
  • The cards are useful in smaller groups and individualized sessions for couples.
  • The cards are in a fun format.
  • The cards offer a positive approach to a sometimes difficult subject.
  • The cards offer a non-judgmental approach to money.
  • The cards help people understand a little bit about themselves.

How cards are used:

  • The premarital classes may be a single day, a whole weekend, or a series of seminars spread over a few weeks. The Archdiocese of Omaha offers a variety of marriage preparation options including evening sessions, one- and two-day, and weekend (Catholic Engaged Encounter) programs. At St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park, FL, Sr. Virginia West and a colleague, Sr. Patricia O’Malley, both marriage and family therapists, offer a full-day premarital course. The course is taught to up to 35 Catholic couples at a time.
  • After an introduction to the role of money in marriage, everyone in the class sorts his or her deck of Money Habitudes cards at the same time. West’s church has a large number of Spanish-speaking participants and she realized that having some Spanish versions of the cards would make the process faster and easier in cases where both people in the couple don’t read English well.
  • In the premarital class, West encourages Catholic couples to focus on themselves, facilitating discussions among the couples rather than trying to foster a financial discussion in a large group.
  • She also gives the couples worksheets from the Professional Guide so they have something to refer to when they go home and can thus continue the conversation.


  • Conzett appreciates Money Habitudes for helping couples understand each other and themselves without passing judgment.
  • West notes that people have enjoyed and gained a lot from using the cards.


  • “I think they liked the idea of looking at their differences more from habits and attitudes. I think it helped them to be less judgmental of each other by just getting a sense of where this is coming from with them – from their family when they were growing up – and their attitudes towards money. I think what it did for them is it took it off the actual money piece, per se, and got the communication going better around ‘how we’re going to use money or not use money.’ The feedback we got on that was good,” says West.
  • Similarly, Conzett sees how the same conversation has deeper, more far-reaching applications.
  • “The cards offer the opportunity for individuals to better understand themselves and, in marriage education, how that understanding will impact their lives as a married couple. The cards find application in various settings. The Archdiocese of Omaha prepares well over 1,000 couples annually for marriage, taking this role seriously. Recognizing the educational value for people served in other ministry areas, the organization extends its reach to newly married, long-married, single, separated, widowed, or divorced individuals. Organizations can utilize Money Habitudes in all these ministry settings. The primary value of Money Habitudes is in promoting self-awareness. Determining how organizations leverage this value is best done by considering the program’s goals and the organization’s focus on specific audiences.