Friday, June 12, 2009

Dispatches from Pre-Cana; Part I

Pre-Cana is mandatory Catholic marriage counseling all couples must go through to be married in the Catholic Church. Not going to lie, I viewed this as a big fat pain in my.....neck. Didn't help that FH resented having to go. Now, I love therapy and my therapist, but marriage counseling led by a people who are going to try to tell me that rhythm method is really the only acceptable birth control and who actively advocate against gay marriage and pro-choice political candidates? meh.

I am Roman Catholic, survived 16 years of Catholic education, struggled with the faith and the church and the church's stances on a variety of issues (don't even get me started on women priests and the 2nd class status of nuns) and still struggle with it. However, my uncles, who will be celebrating the mass as they are both priests, are awesome and have made Catholicism a large part of our family. Mass is celebrated at reunions, we used to sing Christmas Carols as a family in front of St. Pat's. It is an amazing unifying force for my sometimes contentious family.

Back to Pre-Cana. We went to our first of 3 sessions. It was...not painful...dare I say...semi-delightful?!?!

You could tell from the 30+ couples in the room that no one wanted to be there. It felt like a weird school assembly where we were going to find out we had to do extra sessions because we are all NY sinners. You know, how you used to feel in grade school.

There was one speaker, a reporter whose name I forget, who talked about his marriage, his experience and advice on communication in marriage. He went over the Catholic view of marriage as a sacrament, the gravity of the vocation that is marriage and what we as people entering marriage should be mindful of not only as we enter marriage but as we face challenges together as a married couple, as one. A team, if you will.

He covered how love will change and it isn't romantic love that keeps things going but a deeper more intimate love that strengthens the marriage, helping through bad times. How men and women communicate differently and how plans to make your partner change after you're married won't work. How you have to give fully of yourself to the other person. It was a good pep talk on marriage.

He had some mandatory propaganda along the lines of, "it has been shown that couples who live together before marriage have higher rates of divorce." Which, I'm sorry, when your rent is a mortgage payment in someone else's life and you are paying for a wedding, you are living together and I don't think your risk of divorce is any better or worse than the next person.

But I appreciate the attempt at a guilt trip. There's something comforting in that. And yes, I find guilt comforting sometimes, a direct result of 16 yrs of Catholic education and just one reason I enjoy therapy.

3 comments:

One Barefoot Bride said...

Don't you love it when something you dread turns out to be... cool. It's awesome that you have the opportunity to do some structured pre-marriage thinking. That has got to be beneficial. Almost makes me wish we were religious...

sommer said...

"....... I'm sorry, when your rent is a mortgage payment in someone else's life and you are paying for a wedding, you are living together and I don't think your risk of divorce is any better or worse than the next person."

AMEN!!

BeerBudgetBride said...

Glad to hear positive feedback about it. I am DREADING pre-cana. A friend told horror stories of and older couple talking about sex, or questionnaires that say things like "I will feel comfortable initiating our lovemaking". Ugh...