Post # 1
- Wedding: June 2014 - San Francisco, CA
There’s been some tension with the FILs (ok, mostly the FMIL) since the engagement – they like me, they’re welcoming, we’ve spent holidays with them and it’s been fine, etc. But FI and I had to put our foot down re: their guest list (due to budget constraints, they’re only getting to invite about a quarter of the 140 people they WANT to invite), so things have been kind of touch-and-go. The good news is that FI and I remain a united front, and he’s been great about being the main communicator with them. FFIL told FI that FMIL is mostly just worried he’s going to lose sight of family heritage (they’re Mexican-American), so we’ve agreed to incorporate some elements into the ceremony and reception.
FILs’ family is Catholic, and FI was raised in the church. He’s a waffling agnostic these days and doesn’t believe in most Catholic policies, but still goes with his family on Christmas and Easter if he’s in town. I’m completely secular. We’re happy with this. But it would mean a lot to the FILs if we had a Catholic wedding. My family is mostly Lutheran or non-religious, so we said no communion/full mass, but we are open to the prospect of all the rest. There are enough readings and whatnot that we should be able to find something that suits us, and in our area, I’m sure there are more liberal parishes that would be amenable to our shared values. We told FILs we would be willing to discuss it. (FI and I are paying for the ceremony and all ceremony-related things [attire for selves and bridal party, officiant, etc] so giving them say is really a gesture more than a necessity.)<br /><br />However, FI’s older siblings (he’s the youngest of 5, all the rest are girls) said that before they had Catholic weddings, they were required to do pre-marital counseling. Hmmm. FI and I communicate well, we fight fair, we get along great, we already live together, we understand and accept each others’ quirks, we’re open about finances and easygoing with opposite-sex friendships … we think we have all the bases covered. So we don’t think we need it. Also, it’s a pretty major time (and financial) investment, that would be all on us.<br /><br />Has anyone done one of these? Is it really … like … super-religious? Or is it more about communication and honesty and other “coupley” stuff? NEITHER of us would be comfortable if we had to fill out worksheets about not using birth control and having our future children go to communion classes or anything like that. Anyone have an experience to share about?
Post # 2
rachel85: Where I liveits required to do a “Marriage Preparation Course” to get married in the Catholic Church. We did it a few weeks ago and there were a few couples with kids and most of them live together already. There was no getting out of the course. Honestly we weren’t looking forward to it (it was a Friday night from 7 to 10 and then 9:30 – 5 on Saturday). We communicate well as a couple and had talked about a lot of the big stuff. We did find it more helpful than we initally thought as did a lot of the couples there. It was run by a couple who have been married over 20 years and they were quite open about challenges in their own marriage and how they worked through them. I’m a practicing Catholic although I don’t agree with some of the teachings of the church. My FI would describe himself as agnostic.
Post # 3
My understanding is that if you want to get married in the church, you MUST attended the classes/counseling/course. We aren’t super hardcore catholics, but we just did our marriage prep weekend and had no issues. If anything, it just helped confirmed that we got this in the bag! Communication, everything, we’re good. They *informed* us about NFP, and mentioned how it is what the catholic church encourages, but they weren’t stigmatizing anyone who in their private life chooses otherwise… also, i think every couple in the room already lived together lol. My suggestion is to try not to think so negatively about the course/prep, be open-minded still or you’ll just really be bitter doing the whole thing and that helps no one.
Post # 4
rachel85: I am not Catholic, but my husband is. We were not even married in a Catholic Church or by a preist. My brother married us (Baptist pastor). But in order for the Catholic Church to recognize our marriage we had to go through my husbands church for the marriage prep as if we were having a catholic wedding.
We were both worried about the counseling, but it really was great. Our sponsor couple was very uderstanding, and helped us even with our different beliefs. These counseling sessions are not made to judge people or tell them how they should be living, but more like suggestions to help in the hard times (financial, emotional, family, etc)
The only thing that was annoying was the NFP classes. But they were not unbareable. I think it was really educational, especially once we want to start TTC, but not something we want to do now. They were annoying because there were 6 classes to go to, and they were 2 hours long, and I had to chart (which was impossible because I am on BC lol). The teachers in this class were a little more blunt with their ideas in BC but we just smiled and nodded our heads and finished the class. This really could have been from our particular teachers, and our diocese.
The Catholic Church does not require you to follow through with the suggestions, but they do require you to become at least knowledgable on the topics. So really they are not bad overall, and may help in the future. 🙂
Post # 5
Yes, it is required. There are a few options (I think a full day session, a retreat or a sponsor couple). We did the sponsor couple, and while there are some papers to fill out that ask questions, it’s mostly to identify any discussion points. FI and I lived together, and our sponsor couple just told us that it was ok, we just needed to understand why the church frowned upon it, and that was all they spoke of it. I think there may have been a chapter about sex, but our couple didn’t want to talk about it, so we skipped it.
We were dreading it, but it really was useful. It’s not “super religious”, the church just wants you to stay together, so the point of it is to identify any possible conflicts. There really isn’t a “right or wrong” answer to the exercises, you just compare with your partners answers. The “issues” were things like your opinions of different roles in the family… For example, do you think that cutting the grass is a man’s job, woman’s job, or will you both share it equally? Then, if you both answer differently, you have something to talk about. It just helps to make sure you get on the same page.
ETA: we did NOT have to do NFP classes in our particular diocese. We were just given some pamphlets.
Post # 6
If you get married in a Catholic Church, you do have to do the premartial counselling – there’s no way to get out of it. But don’t worry, it’s actually really helpful! H and I were a lot like you guys, we communicated wonderfully, and fought fair, and were on the same page with all the big issues and we still got a ton out of it and really loved it. We did a weekend retreat where we had a priest and serveral couples come in and give talks about different subjects (love languages, meeting your partners needs, how to fight, some general tips for financial issues, how your family and upbringing molded you into the person you are today, etc.).
I’m a firm believer that, no matter how solid you think you are, every couple should have to do some sort of premartial couselling. H and I had already talked a lot about the topics covered in the class, but it was a nice confirmation to know that we had indeed covered everything and not missed something. We also picked up a few tips here and there (love languages, tips on how to fight, what it means to meet your partners needs). But most importantly, it gave us a common language to use in the future. We now have a nice reference that both of us understand.
Post # 7
My FI and I are very liberal Catholics. Our church is spounsor couple unless there is some reason you can’t do the spounsor couple route, work schedules or similar. It was 100% the best part of the process of us getting married. We both agree. I actually cried after our final session, I liked our sponsor couple that much. I also think that some sort of counsiling is a good idea, even if you aren’t religious, and probably would have tried to find a private councilor or program if I wasn’t Catholic. Even if you think your communication is 100% awesome, there is room for improvement, and having someone impartial can point out areas where you may not see your problem. And there are always those issues that get burried in a relationship because you just don’t want to deal with them on a daily basis.
What we started off with is taking the FOCUS. 90% of it is non-religous (Does his family like you? Do you like his family? Do you agree on kids? On your family planning method?) Since we went the couple route, we went down, and everything we didn’t agree on, or answered as “undecided” we talked about. We 100% agreed on 2 secsions of it, which actually made both of us very happy. It confirmed what we already knew about our relationship. When we got to NFP, our sponsor couple handed us a pamphlet and basically said “We are required to give you this. What your family planning method is, is between the two of you. We don’t care.” We also had a discussion on how we disagreed with the church on some issues and how we have some skeptisim about the complete moral authority of the church. Our couple took them in stride, and didn’t really belittle us on any of our thoughts.
Post # 8
We did a one day class at a very liberal church. I’m atheist and was nervous about it being too preachy or that I would feel judged but it was really no big deal. 2 different couples led different sections of the day, and the priest (who is also the one who will be marryng us) also gave practical wedding day tips, which was nice. The NFP portion was pretty short, just general info and suggested readings if anyone wanted to know more, with the couple leading it also explaining that it really helped when they were trying to conceive because they knew what the wife’s cycles were like. Each place is different so try to find a course that will fit your lifestyle and values as best you can.
Post # 9
- Wedding: June 2014 - San Francisco, CA
Ok … starting to feel a little better about it. Thanks for your experiences, everyone!