Post # 1
My FH and I are not religious in the least. However, I really think the premartial counseling that most (all?) churches offer/require is a really great idea.
For myself, I really want to find a great, open minded, group class, discussion, support group… whatever you want to call it without religious involvement. something with already married leaders hopefully. Some place where questions that we maybe, haven’t thought about (like how important is having children to each of us v. having money?) can be discussed in a comfortable situation. Mostly I want a space where my hubby-to-be and I can prepare mentally, get away from all the planning, get away from our careers, and really focus on what this big day is all about. Get in the right frame of mind to say our vows to one another thinking about one another, not just the (awesome) party we are planning.
Dear hive, does anyone know where a nice agnostic girl can go to get more spiritually connected to her nice agnostic boy?
Post # 3
I would check out marriage counselors. I’ve heard of couples going to them for pre-maritcal counseling.
Post # 4
Sorry I have no help, but it’s a really good question I’d like to look into as well.
Since my FI and I are having a civil ceremony, I thought about asking our officiant if he/she (we don’t have on yet) offers any such counseling or if he/she requires it before they would conduct the ceremony.
I have no leads as of yet– we haven’t begun searching for an officiant. But I’ll check back here to see what others have to say!
Post # 5
Check around with marriage therapists in your area. Some of them probably offer this service. My FI and I are in the same boat and as a psych student, that’s where I’m going to look. As far as officiants go, we’re either getting a JP or having a friend ordained online to do it (much to our parents’ dismay).
Post # 6
As rosychicklet and amysue stated, your best bet is to see a professional counselor. My FI and I have chosen to go that route for a couple reasons: he has been married before and didn’t feel his previous pastor felt comfortable enough (including having enough training/education) in that role to identify true issues and potential problems and I am not as devout as he is and feel more comfortable speaking with someone outside of a religious setting about our future together. Any professional marriage counselor will either be able to do premarital counseling or should be able to refer you to someone that does specialize in premarital counseling.
Post # 7
Firstly, look into the PAIRS program. They offer both religious and non-religious programs, so make sure you sign up for the one you want. I’ve heard very good things about them.
And second, I wouldn’t discount the religious programs altogether. What you describe is almost exactly what our Catholic Engaged Encounter was, except of course for the religious element. But that’s all it was, an element – I am not catholic (but I’m marrying one) and I never felt pressured to become catholic, to do things the catholic way, etc. Th questions are framed from a catholic perspective but your answers are private and you can talk about them from any perspective you want. It was a really great experience for us, and I would highly recommend it. PM me if you want more information, if be happy to talk about it. Good luck!
Post # 8
We did one through stayhitched.com. It was pretty good. but how much you get out of it really depends on how much you guys will actually put into it. You actually have to try to put some effort into it outside of the class itself, so if you don’t think you guys will do that then maybe something with more classroom time would be better.
Post # 9
I am not sure how "not religeous" you are… My FI and I like to say that we consider ourselves people of faith, although we don’t currently follow any organized religeon. He was raised Lutheran and still attends that church when he does go – I was raised Catholic, and have attended many churches, and find organized religeon generally distasteful. Our wedding service, and our premarital counseling, are being conducted by a retired Protestant minister. So far I am really, really happy with him. The ONLY talk of religeon we have had is concerning the potential difficulties with our families (most of whom are much more religeous than we are) and how to handle the potential situation that one of us someday decides religeon or spirituality is something we want to pursue in a more dedicated fashion. In that sense, the discussion of religeon looks a lot like the discussion of money or sex or family issues – how to deal with potential differences, with respect and caring.
Of course, there will be some discussion of faith in our service, but he is allowing us to tailor it to our sensitivities (for instance, the word God is not going to be used except as it appears in a single scripture reading my FI wants used).
I think that this is working so well for us partly because our retired pastor is not currently affiliated with any church, partly because Protestantism is one of the more civilian religeons, and partly because our pastor is a primarily a humanist, and so considers counseling to be much more about the workings of our relationship than about religeon in any form. Anyway, something like this might work for you, if you can find a sort of laid-back and retired minister.
Also interesting to me is that he is married, with both children and step-children. His wife is often there during our sessions, and occasionally interjects her opinion into the discussion, which is always interesting and sometimes pretty funny.
Post # 10
I wanted to second blushingaudrey – my fiance and I attended a Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend, and it was pretty general. Like she said, they talked about things in a Catholic framing, but there was absolutely no pressure, and they didn’t ever ask anyone if they were religious or anything. All of your answers were private to the questions posed, and I think it focused a lot more on talking about issues that are important to newlyweds than anything. We discussed money, family, children, sex…most of the major topics. My fiance isn’t Catholic and he really liked the weekend as well.
But, as with almost anything, it depends on what you are looking for. If you are really opposed to a religious-operated counselling session, then I would go through a regular marriage counselor or whatever. It is true that you get out of it what you put into it, though. I think some of the people at our session were only there because it was required and for no other reason, and they didn’t get much out of it. But my fiance and I really enjoyed it.
Post # 11
My fiance is not religous by any means. So when I began to look for the elements you are talking about I found the perfect program for us. I am not sure where you live or what your time frame is- but I went through http://www.marriageprep101.com Since my fiamce’s parents in live in Northern Cali and we both love San Fran this enabled us to do a personal two day weekend in San Fran while nurturing our relationship. You might want to look into that. See if this works for you. Well wishes!
Post # 12
I would also check with your health insurance provider. Mine (Kaiser) provides free classes on communication, marriage, etc. We took a communication class and loved it!