Monday, June 16, 2014

Pre-Cana Part One

I wanted to write a little bit regarding the first Pre-Cana class AJ and I took last week. In order to be married in a Catholic Church, it's a required course that the couple must complete before the wedding. Our class was held at the Catholic Center in Bridgeport and was led by a lovely volunteer couple who had actually met for the first time at that very place for a church function!

There were about 25 couples there and most of them were young and around the same age as AJ and me. We were each given a work book that contains chapter summaries and questions. We went through the first four chapters which covered: matrimony; family of origin; romance, disillusionment, and joy; and sex and sexuality. At the beginning of the each chapter, the leaders would introduce what the chapter would discuss, then we would watch a video clip that featured other couples as well as priests or deacons who spoke on the subject, and then our leaders would share their own story. Then we would have about 20 minutes to do the workbook pages on our own and then share our answers with our fiancé.

It was a really interesting exercise and, if you took it seriously, you could get a lot out of it. I loved sharing my answers with AJ and seeing his. Since taking the class, people have asked us if we learned knew things about the other but we didn't really because it wasn't about getting to know your partner better, it was more about seeing how connected you were on certain topics. The exercises showed me that AJ and I are on a good track, that we're on the same page, and that we have good communication. We were very comfortable sharing our responses with each other and we were honest with everything. It led to some very interesting and helpful discussions on our long car ride to the Cape that followed!

The chapters that was the most interesting to me were the second and third. The second one discussed how we bring baggage from our childhood and family life into marriage and into our new family. The chapter shared how to make this transition smoothly and how to recognize what things from the your family of origin could affect your marriage. AJ and I had different upbringings but were raised with the same family values.

The third chapter spoke about the fact that after you go through the romantic phase of your marriage—the honeymoon phase—you can fall into something called disillusionment in which romance might be swept aside and your relationship is different than it was when you were first married. This happens to everyone, I imagine, and this is the stage in which a lot of people think it means that there marriage has gone bad and they decided to divorce. However, it's a stage that everyone will be faced with and it can be worked through. Once you get past the stage of disillusionment—and this stage could reappear or take years to muddle through—you come out with a stronger marriage that is even better than it was the day you were married!

I really enjoyed going to the class and I look forward to the final class next weekend. It brought out a lot of really great discussions for AJ and I, we even discussed the possibility of joining a marriage group within our church when we get married. It would be a great foundation and good way to make sure we always take time out to focus on our relationship.

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