- 3 years ago
- Wedding: November 2013
Most Diocese have the requirement that you must attend some marriage prep weekend retreat/class or a weekly evening class held by other married couples. For us, our option was a commuter weekend where we arrived around 8:30-9:00 am and stayed until nearly 6 pm then commute back home.
I have to say I was really surprised at how much I really enjoyed our retreat (especially since it is a Diocesan requirement). We had three different couples counsel us, unfortunately one of the couples only had their husband attend but he was still really great.
Some of the topics we covered were:
- Family of Origin (how culture and how we’re raised impacts our communication and our default modes, and how we can rise of above that)
- Communication (how to communicate, understanding what’s desireable for one another, preventing couples from living married single lives)
- Money (open Q&A with one of our couple’s husband who has been in finance for 38 years)
- Sexuality (NFP, Procreative and Unitive, children)
- Sacrament of Matrimony (love is a decision, the difference between civil, natural, and sacremental marriages–the importance of being married in the Church and the permanence of it)
I’m really surprised at how well it went especially given our Diocese’s lack of organization. We found out that our couples were asked to host the weekend’s retreat only two days before it was held! And I’m incredibly thankful that they hosted it, we really couldn’t ask for better couples.
What really helped us was that our couples had been doing this for years. We had one couple that had been married for 35 years, another for 24 years, and another for 7 years. It was truly an amazing experience.
The eldest couple there who’d been married for 35 years have been counseling for 28 years, so they’d counseled the other two couples. The youngest couple had been counseled by both of the older couples. So they all knew each other, talked candidly about issues within their own marriage and things that helped them when they were engaged.
Everyone was funny and serious when they needed to be. There were enough breaks to use the bathroom and eat snacks so you’re not just sitting there the entire time.
We covered each topic with stories, Church teaching, discussion as a group, and quiet time to fill out workpages. Then we would get together one-on-one to discuss our answers. While my Fiance and I had discussed the big topics like money, children, and religion; it was the small topics like how we can communicate with one another better without frustration and how our family of origin impacts our relationship.
So altogether it was very, very useful. Our presenters were funny and were able to cover a lot of stuff in both days. I know we’ll be discussing topics from the retreat for awhile. At the end on Sunday, there was confession for those who wanted and then Mass.
My tip: Please go in with an open mind and willingness to learn. Everyone there knows what you’re going through, the other couples and certainly the presenters.