Run a course

Run The Pre-Marriage Course 

Are you passionate about seeing marriages and family life strengthened in your community? In running the Pre-Marriage Course for couples in your area, you can facilitate a space where couples can build a solid foundation for their future together. 

3 simple steps

How to run The Pre-Marriage Course

Step 1

Plan it

This is as easy as speaking to your church or organisation about where and when your course could be hosted, then simply sign up online using Course Builder to run The Pre-Marriage Course in person or remotely. 

Step 2

Prepare for it

Enjoy the user-friendly training resources that will be provided to you and familiarise yourself with The Pre-Marriage Course videos and materials to help you feel completely confident running the course.

Step 3

Invite guests

Invite couples to attend and prepare each session as a special “date night”. This doesn’t have to cost the world... it just needs a little thought. Think about using candles and romantic lighting! 

The Couple Survey & support couples

The Couple Survey is an online questionnaire to help couples understand one another better and can highlight issues they should discuss before getting married. If you decide to use The Couple Survey, you’ll also need to invite couples from your community to serve as support couples. To find out more about the Couple Survey and the role of a support couple, please visit the link below.

Learn more about support couples

What is Course Builder?

In order to run a course, you will simply create an account on Course Builder. You will then have access to all materials, training and resources related to running your course, including the option to download the latest series. 

Learn more about Course Builder

Preview the course

To experience the impact of The Pre-Marriage Course, you can view Session 1 below. To access all episodes, please register 



Meet the couples
The Pre-Marriage Course - Session 1 : Communication

In our decades of working with couples around the world, we have seen over and over again the lasting impact of taking the time to invest in your marriage and your family. Our passion is to help couples work on their relationship and deepen their connection, because strong marriages enable families and communities to thrive.

Nicky and Sila Lee
Authors of The Marriage Book

Pippa and I cannot recommend The Marriage Course too highly. Whether you are a couple considering marriage or have been married for many years, this is the course for you. Nicky and Sila Lee, who founded the course, are wonderful role models whose marriage we have admired for our many decades of friendship. The course provides a wonderful foundation for any couple wishing to build a strong and long-lasting relationship.

Nicky Gumbel
Pioneer of Alpha and Chairman of the Alpha International Board 
Who’s it for?

Running The Pre-Marriage Course is perfect for you if: 

You believe in the importance and beauty of marriage
You have one free evening a week for five weeks
You would like to invest in the future of couples and families in your area
You are part of a church or organisation that will host the course
You would like to help engaged couples build stronger relationships
You are able to create a romantic, date-like setting for each session 


Do you have a list of suitable songs to use as background music?

Thank youfor your email about background music for the Marriage course or ThePre-Marriage Course.  We do not have arecommended list, we leave it to the course leaders to decide what they thinkwould be relevant and relaxing to suit the needs of their audience. This couldbe easy listening, classical, instrumental, etc. The main thing is that it notbe too soft to enable couples to hear other couples’ conversations, or too loudto force them to shout! More information is available here​.

Are The Marriage and Pre-Marriage Courses available in languages other than English?

To find out if The Marriage Course and The Pre-Marriage Course have been translated into your language please visit the Course Builder or contact your local Alpha office (The Marriage Course is a part of Alpha International).

If a couple miss a session, how can I share the missed episode?

On Course Builder you will find a document with links to every episode. We recommend emailing the episode link with the password to the couple.

We would like to run parts of your course, can we do this?

Running sections of the course means guests don’t get the full experience or the full benefit. The course is written in a way that the different sections build upon each other and don’t work as effectively when done independently. We would recommend you run the courses in full rather than just use sections.

How does a guest doing The Pre-Marriage Course use the Couple Survey?

If The Pre-Marriage Course is using the Couple Survey, the course organiser or coordinator will email the Couple Survey to guests to complete before the course begins. Each partner should fill the Couple Survey out separately without consulting each other and then, after the course, they will have a scheduled appointment with a Support Couple who will go through the Couple Survey report with them both.

I’m a Pre-Marriage Course Leader and/or Support Couple - how come I can’t seem to access the Couple Survey link for my guest couple anymore?

Due to General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), we are only able to make Couple Surveys available for 60 days following the last session of the Pre-Marriage Course. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to extend this, so Pre-Marriage Course leaders and admins need to take this into consideration when organising the Support Couple meetings. Support Couples should also be reminded of this expiration. See the FAQ 'What is a Support Couple?'

I’m a Pre-Marriage Course Leader - how do I use the Couple Survey?

You will be able to access the Couple Survey once you have created your account and registered your course on Course Builder accessed through the running a course page (see top menu). On the Course Builder, you will find training videos, guides and sample Couple Survey reports that equip Support Couples to interpret the Couple Survey report. The training videos and other guidance material can also be found on Course Builder. There is no Couple Survey for The Marriage Course; it is only to accompany The Pre-Marriage Course.

What is the Couple Survey?

The Couple Survey is an optional series of questions to be completed by guests on The Pre-Marriage Course before the course begins. The purpose of the Couple Survey is to:

·     Affirm areas of strength

·     Highlight those issues the couple needs todiscuss

·     Help them make sure they are ready for marriage

·     Give a realistic view of what makes a marriage work

Couples do not receive the results of their Couple Survey and the link to the Couple Surveys expire 60 days after the last Pre-Marriage Course session. Instead following the course they have a discussion with a designated Support Couple. The Couple Survey report guides the conversation, affirming areas of strength in the couple’s relationship and highlighting issues for discussion.

What’s a Support Couple?

Each couple on The Pre-Marriage Course is allocated a Support Couple. The requirements for Support Couples are simply that they

·     are married

·     have completed The Marriage Course

·     are happy to host a couple from The Pre-Marriage Course (usually in their home, over an evening)

·     have been approved by someone with pastoral oversight (see the sample form that can be downloaded from the Course Builder for this signed approval).

During the evening the Support Couple guides the guests in conversation using the findings of the Couple Survey, which the guests would have completed before the start of the course. The role of the Support Couple is to affirm areas of strength and highlight issues the couple needs to discuss. The Couple Survey report is very easy to use, with suggested follow-up questions for the Support Couple to ask the guest couple to facilitate the discussion. Once you register your course, you’ll be able to access dedicated training videos for Support Couples which fully explain their role. Head to Course Builder - see top menu courses to get started. There is no Couple Survey or Support Couple role for The Marriage Course. It is designed only to accompany The Pre-Marriage Course.

Where can I access the training videos?

You can access all of our latest training videos on Course Builder. To access these videos you must first create your account. Find your relevant course through the top menu, choose a course and click Find out about running.

How much does it cost?

All the episodes are free to download. It is at the discretion of the church whether they provide the Guest Journals, meals and other related costs free of charge or pass these costs onto the guests by charging them for the course.

How do I get started with running a course?

To get started...

1. Go to the top menu, click on either The Marriage Course or The Pre-Marriage Course

2. In the drop down box click Find out about running, then click on Run a course

3. Choose your Region and your Country

4. You are now on your country's page where you will now need to click Register your course

5. Register your details on the Course Builder

6. Once you've registered your course you'll find all you need to run your course

·     The course episodes

·     The Leaders' Guide

·     The Couple Survey (optional for those running The Pre-Marriage Course only)

·     Support Couples’ training videos (if using the Couple Survey for those running The Pre-Marriage Course only)

·     Plus we recommend you watch the training videos on the Course Builder

Please remember that for both The Marriage Course and The Pre-Marriage Course each guest will require one copy of the relevant Guest Journal which can be purchased.

What’s the difference between The Marriage Course and The Pre-Marriage Course?

Both The Marriage Course and The Pre-Marriage Course have a similar structure, with the feel of a date night and an emphasis on private discussions for each couple. The key difference is that The Pre-Marriage Course is for engaged couples and those considering marriage, whereas we recommend The Marriage Course for couples who have been married for at least two years. The Pre-Marriage Course can also include a Couple Survey which each guest completes in advance of the course. Following the course they look at the results of their Couple Survey over a meal with a designated married "Support Couple".

Is The Pre-Marriage Course easy to run?

Yes, it is very easy! All of the talks are available online, along with a Leaders’ Guide which has instructions for when to pause for exercises and private conversations for each couple. Promotional materials and other resources are also available once you register your course on Course Builder. Choose a course in the top menu and click Find out about running.

Who can run The Pre-Marriage Course?

We believe that anyone who has a desire to see relationships strengthened, has experience of working at their own marriage and enjoys hosting couples can run a course. You don't need to have the perfect marriage (no one does!) or be an expert to run it. People who are single can also run the course for couples. We have a number of short training videos that will take you through how to run The Pre-Marriage Course when you register your course on Course Builder. Just choose your course from the top menu, click Find out about running and click Run a course to register.

Where can I buy resources?

Head to Resources in the top menu.  

If you’re having trouble finding resources in your area, please get in touch with your local Alpha office who will be happy to help you.

Can we promote our course continually on the website?

The website requires a start and finish date in order for a course to be registered on Course Builder. Please note that following registration on Course Builder your course dates will show on our Find a Course page on It will remain there until approximately two weeks after your course starts.

What’s a Guest Journal?

The Marriage Course and The Pre-Marriage Course each have their own version of the Guest Journal. Each guest on a course requires their own Guest Journal (that’s two per couple) and can be found through the country links on the Resources page (see top menu).

The Guest Journal is a small handbook that corresponds with the topics of each session, guiding couples’ conversations, prompting discussions, and allowing plenty of space for guests to make their own notes. The Guest Journal is created as an additional tool used to help the guest couples reflect on their relationship and the meaning of marriage, as well as to facilitate conversations between them. The Guest Journal is for each guest to keep once the course has finished.

What’s Course Builder?

Course Builder is the section of our website where you, as a host, can register your course and access training and promotional resources. You can get to Course Builder by going to top menu, choosing a course and clicking on Find out about running.

There is no way obtain theses resources without first registering your course on Course Builder. Once the course is registered you will have access to promotional materials, training resources and the option to download the latest series. We will be uploading new training resources and course materials to Course Builder over time so we encourage you to please keep revisiting the platform.

Trusted by over 1,500,000 couples worldwide

The Marriage Course and The Pre-Marriage Course have been successfully run in over 117 countries worldwide since they were created by Nicky and Sila Lee, authors of The Marriage Book.