Friday, February 10, 2012

7 Quick Takes- Marriage Prep Edition

I decided that, since I'd done a wedding edition of quick takes, I needed to do a marriage prep of quick takes too. After all, the marriage is way more important than the wedding! 

--- 1 ---

Has anyone ever been to Marriage Encounter? They do them once or twice a year in our diocese and I have always wanted to go so badly... even before I was dating or in a relationship lol. I'm not sure why, but it has always appealed to me. I was listening to Immaculate Heart Radio this week and there was a counseling couple on saying that there is continuing education for almost everything in life, so why do people feel like marriage should be any different? It totally cemented my desire to go to Marriage Encounter after we get married! I'm hoping we can make it an every other year getaway or something like that, at least for a while.

--- 2 ---

We met with our officiant, Father Sal, this week. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with the meeting. Though we've had a LOT of marriage prep through the retreat and FOCCUS, I was expecting some through him, too. We met with him individually to fill out some forms for the church, and he made sure we were both coming into the marriage with no reservations, without force, etc, and that was that. Maybe most people would be like "yay! that was easy! off the hook!", but I was wanting more! I wanted tough questions or something lol. This isn't a reflection on him, just on what they've set as the priests' role in our church.

--- 3 ---

I was also a bit disappointed that he didn't say anything about us living together. Don't get me wrong, I was dreading it, but I did want to explain our journey to him. I would rather be uncomfortable but have him know the path we are on together, than for him to think the worst. But I also didn't want to throw the information out there without him asking, which he didn't. But then I walked out sad that I hadn't been able to talk to him about it... and a bit disappointed that it was overlooked purposely (he asked us both our addresses within 5 minutes of each other so it was pretty obvious).

--- 4 ---

Now that my Negative Nelly takes are over, I can't say enough how much the engagement retreat impacted our lives. I mean, it really impacted our lives. We were making small changes beforehand, but the retreat pretty much changed the course we were on in life. How's that for marriage prep!? I may have wanted more from the meeting with the priest, but I guess they know what they're doing ;).

--- 5 ---

Uhoh, Negative Nelly wasn't quite done yet. One more, I promise. I'm bothered by all the people who think that all pre-marital conversions are "for the marriage" or "for the Catholic spouse". It's like if someone is converting right before marriage, there could be no other reason for it. I actually really appreciate the two priests who have made sure Steven is converting because he wants to, and not just because we are getting married, because to me those are the people who should be asking those questions. But I'm bothered that it seems to be general consensus for everyone else to think that way, too. I'm sure there are many people who do it that way, but I don't want Steven lumped in that category. He has spent so much time learning the faith and immersing himself in it and I want people to know he is converting because it feels right to him, not because he's marrying me. Am I over the moon? Yes! But it was never a condition for marrying me.

--- 6 ---

I really wanted to get our marriage license on Feb. 14th as our little Valentine's Day celebration, but I think it's exactly 60 days until our wedding. I don't know if it expires on the 60th day or at the end, but I'm not going to risk it! I thought it would be cute to have those dates on there, but maybe instead we'll celebrate one month left until the wedding and go on March 14th. Since I wrote "marriage license", this counts as marriage related and not wedding related. You see what I did there?

--- 7 ---
One of the things my future mother-in-law got me for Christmas was a book called Prayers for Married Couples. Sure, we could have started it, but I'm waiting until after we get back from the honeymoon. I can't wait to start reading it! It has prayers for all different life situations and a lot of general relationship/marriage ones as well. We are also going to continue to work through our pre-marital work books throughout the first year (or however long it takes us to finish) which I'm excited about because they have been really helpful so far. I'm the nerd who loves stuff like that, so we might be married for 60 years still doing workbooks!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. 1- They talked about it at our engaged encounter and it sounded really fascinating but in our diocese you have to be married for at least 5 years to go.

    5- Good job Steven. :)

    6- I see what you did there.

  2. 1. We've wanted to go to something like this, but with a baby, it's probably not an option for many years to come.

    3. I feel like most priests don't want to say anything about cohabitation for fear of hurting the couple's feeling and having them go somewhere else to get married. I think it's usually the same with contraception.

    7. We got that book for my brother-in-law and his fiancee! I'm glad you like it because it probably means they like it too!

    1. 3. that makes sense, Mandi. Like maybe a way of trying to show acceptance instead of judgment by just avoiding the topic altogether.

    2. I totally agree that that's why they don't bring it up, but to me that's a big part of the problem. I think something can be talked about with compassion and in a non-judgmental way but still be addressed.

      Technically, cohabitation isn't a sin or against church teaching, though it is highly frowned upon. But it's most likely that if a couple is cohabitating, they are having sex which IS against church teaching and is a mortal sin. I would think the priests job is more to lovingly try to guide a couple away from mortal sin rather than to just remain silent for the sake of feelings.

      What I didn't mention, I don't think, is that when we were debating not having sex until the wedding (before the retreat) the 'compromise' we came up with is that we would stop if the priest asked us to. We were basically crying out for someone to guide us in what we already knew was right, and I wonder how many other couples are like that. And had we not had the retreat effect us so deeply, we certainly wouldn't have gotten that through the meeting with the priest.

      I know it's a VERY hard place for them to be in, but again I think they need to be taught a way to go about it that doesn't come off as judgmental because our church is in deep water in a lot of other issues because of silence on issues that actually matter.

  3. 2 & 3: yeah... i think i'd be disappointed too. even though jon and i had done our pre-marital counseling and all, my episcopal priest still had stuff to talk about with us. i think it would unnerve me too if he hadn't said anything about where we were in life.

    my priest, btw, had one requirement for us: we had to have fun or he wouldn't perform the marriage. oh yes... also no shoving cake in each other's faces.

    1. Haha, the cake rule is a good one! I already told Steven (jokingly... of) that the easiest way to get me to ask for an annullment is to shove cake in my face lol.

  4. I've heard that about Marriage Encounter. My parents hadn't gone on it b/c my mom said you could only do it once and they were waiting for the "right time" but then my dad passed away so yeah...they never went. They did do engaged encounter and thought it was wonderful. (Maybe you guys will one day be able to help with it.)

    I agree with everyone else I think priests are in a weird place. Do you think the priest knew? I knew a lady that tried to go to a catholic church and the priest found out they were living together and the priest refused to marry them (supposedly)! Although that priest is CRAZY according to things I heard. Like he would tell ppl not to bring your children to mass b/c they are noisy and junk.

    Your probably better off not getting your marriage license on vday b/c I bet everyone and their mother will be at city hall that day.

    Ugh I know the feeling about Steven converting. My cousin wasn't raised anything. He married a catholic and the church gave him a hard time just to take RCIA classes b/c the church was all "well your just wanting to do this bc your getting married not for you" but the thing is he was NEVER exposed to any sort of religion so I think just letting him take the classes would have helped him. The church was really mean to them and wouldn't let them have a mass "b/c it would have looked weird" b/c he can't receive communion and we think they made a TON of assumptions like that his family wasn't catholic and my mom is all his family is probably more catholic than hers!

    Okay off my soap box and if you've heard that story already I apologize it just annoys me :(

    1. The priest definitely knew because we had to both tell him our address which is both the same lol. I totally didn't think about city hall being crazy on Vday but that's a good point! That sucks about your cousin. Our church has been very supportive. Like I said, both priests have talked with him to make sure HE is really wanting to convert, which I appreciate a lot. But it seems like everyone else assumes it's for the wedding. I would be extra upset if the church was giving him a hard time!

    2. Oh okay haha yeah I can see that. I really don't know the whole story around my cousins issue because of course they only told us what they wanted us to know. I'm really close to my cousins wife now but before the wedding I never really talked to her. I'm hoping that once they have children he will try and go back and convert but we'll see.