(Closed) Catholic Pre-Cana blahs…

posted 6 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
Member
3697 posts
Sugar bee

It’s too bad you’re feeling so frustrated by the process. You’re right that the Church “doesn’t make it easy” – but that’s because they sincerely want you to have a successful, enduring marriage, and that’s not easy to do in this day and age. We tend to lavish a TON of time and energy (and money!) on wedding preparation, and to think of it as this huge culmination – but there’s a lot about that way of thinking that’s totally backward. The Church is focused on MARRIAGE preparation and on helping couples realize that the wedding, important as it is, is more of a beginning than a culmination.

Marriage prep can be as pleasant (or not) and as successful (or not) as you allow it to be. What are your reasons for wanting to get married in the Church? Is it because of family expectations? Because it will make for nice pictures? Do you want God’s blessing on your lives together? Do you feel like marrying in the Church will help strengthen your bond? It might be good to think about these questions a little bit. If you are just going through the motions/”along for the ride,” then it’s understandable that you would find the FOCCUS sessions, etc., irritating. But it doesn’t have to be that way. FOCCUS can be a great way to approach some of the difficult topics that you and your Fiance may not have discussed yet (e.g. finances, communication styles, your relationships with each other’s families, whether and when you would like to have children and how you will raise them, etc.). If you go into it with an open mind, it can really help you strengthen the foundation of your marriage. I hope you can find some value in it going forward.

Post # 5
Member
993 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@ZChick17:  I hear you… we had ours in a retreat weekend so it was pretty intense but glad its over.  We also thought it was everything we’d already talked about.  But you know what, it was reassuring – and I do go back to things we talked about that weekend because it was one long prolonged talk about life.  It’s a bit mushy-gushy – I laughed when Fiance walked in with a rose because they made him.  It was cheesy and funny and he never has and never will give me flowers again.  But I think they make it difficult for a reason – to place importance on the marriage.

Just go with it and make it work for you.  Not all of it is so superficial.  Even though we’d talked about the issues and plans, this gave us a chance to revisit it and get deeping/more detailed.  All the talking was as a couple though, in a group format we listened to speakers and then went away and had our own conversations.  I wouldn’t be comfortable talking about it with people I didn’t know.  NFP went as far as “if you want some brochures they’re at the back of the room.”

If its busy work, be busy, get it done in five minutes and don’t think about it again.  Maybe keep your mind on the intention behind it?  I remember it started pretty lame and then got into bigger stuff as the weekend went on.  Noone’s making you do it, right?

Post # 6
Member
3697 posts
Sugar bee

Well, it sounds like you’ve already made up your mind that marriage preparation has nothing useful to offer you. Do you really think, though, that this couple who is making time in their lives to meet with you, is doing it because they have nothing better to do? Or because they are somehow benefiting from spending this time with you? And that they have nothing to offer you, and you have nothing you could possibly learn from them about building a successful marriage, and they deserve your scorn?

It sounds like you and your Fiance are *not* in the habit of expressing much appreciation for one another, frankly, from the way you talk about it – and that’s not a particularly sustainable dynamic for a marriage. When people assume that they know how the other person feels, and the other person knows how *they* feel, and open communication gets taken for granted and falls by the wayside, that’s exactly what causes a lot of marriages to deteriorate. This couple has no interest in hearing the lurid details about your physical attraction for one another, I promise. (And if you’re uncomfortable with that topic, for heaven’s sake pick a different one instead of complaining about the fact that it’s there at all. It might not be the right choice for you, but it can be useful for other couples, so live and let live). The FOCCUS facilitator couple cares about helping you and your Fiance learn how to *not* take one another for granted – and one of the ways of doing that is by expressing, verbally, that appreciation for one another. It’s not for their benefit, it’s for *yours*, whether you think you need it or not.

Try giving them the benefit of the doubt: assume that they’re giving up their time for a good reason, and recognize that it’s for your sakes. Cultivate a little humility, and appreciation, and gratitude. (Those, by the way, are important skills for marriage, too.)

Post # 8
Member
499 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Yikes, it does sound painful. I was born & raised Catholic, spent 16 years in Catholic school and I opted for a secular wedding. I spoke to a lot of my friends who had to go through the pre-cana process and it didn’t seem like anything I wanted to willfully subject myself to. I just don’t feel connected to the church so for me, it was an easy decision. BUT yeah, I’ve heard the horror stories! I wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing those things with anyone!

Post # 9
Member
2905 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

My fiance and I went into our pre-cana weekend retreat thinking that it was going to be kind of a waste of time. We already knew everything about each other and had discussed our plans for the future and we thought it was just going to be so stupid. But we agreed that if we had to go through it, we might as well try to take it somewhat seriously and make the best of it. And honestly, it was really really awesome. Sure, some if it was cheesy and ridiculous, but it turns out that there actually were a lot of things we didn’t know about each other. And it’s always nice to hear your partner’s responses to things – I mean, I knew he loved me but some of his answers to those “what do you love about KatieBklyn?” questions surprised me in a good way. 

The NFP discussion was also not a big deal – we listened to the presentation and moved right along. If you’re not comfortable talking about it one on one, just tell them that. I’d be surprised if they didn’t respect that and move on. I’m pretty sure it’s not in the curriculum for them to be beating you upside the head with a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility you until you confess and repent for using birth control. Something like 95% of Catholic couples use artificial contraception… your couple might be one of those 95%, so chances are, they’re not going to interrogate you. 

If it’s just discussing things with the couple instead of discussing them privately, you might want to look into an Engaged Encounter weekend. That’s what we did, and literally every conversation we had was private. We shared nothing at all in front of the group or with the couples unless we chose to seek one of them out for advice or further discussion during a meal time. 

Post # 11
Member
1718 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@ZChick17:  I had to do some research on Pre Cana classes around my area before signing up for it to avoid what you’re going through.  We were fortunate enough to find one of the shorter Pre Cana classes (only 8 hours!) and with a more liberal church.  The couples that led the class was a mix of ages (one couple was our age who were in their late 20s); and, the priest gave us information on NFP but did not go into depth about it because he felt that it was our decision as a couple. 

I’m so sorry you’re having such a bad time with Pre Cana.  If my Darling Husband (atheist) had to endure Pre Cana classes like you guys did, he would have bolted and I wouldn’t have been able to have a wedding in a church. 

Post # 13
Member
1718 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@ZChick17:  I guess, that’s true.  lol  I’m sure my Darling Husband thought it was torturous.

 

Post # 14
Member
261 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I wonder why you’ve chosen to have a Catholic ceremony?  I have/had similar feelings about not wanting to discuss my relationship/feeling like my fiance and I know each other.  It also sounds like were in a similar part of the process as we’ve done our FOCCUS and our first meeting with our priest, but no actual pre-cana yet.  The one thing that really came from our meeting with our priest for us was talking openly with someone about where and how our faith factored into our relationship.  My fiance has some justifiably issues with the church that are personal and hard for him to talk about, but our discussion with our priest was open, honest, and really helped us think about our faith as individuals and as a couple.  Honestly, having a third party, subjective voice was refreshing and we actually were really happy we went.  While we’re not thrilled about not knowing what pre-cana will hold for us and possible cheese factor, we are looking forward to talking with other Catholic couples in our area.  If you’re feeling this way about the assignments why not talk to your peer couple about it?  Maybe they can either do soemthing different with you or help you make it be more meaningful for you and your fiance.

Post # 15
Member
183 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

We did a weekend-long pre-cana. On the natural family planning it was very brief and they basically give you info on where to get info (websites, books, whatever). They took pains to emphasize that it’s not the old “calendar method”.  Oh, and apparently their natural method is 99% safe when used correctly. Yeah, right:)))

Post # 16
Member
2055 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

If anyone is in the Tri-State area, I highly highly recommend Peter Macfadden for pre-Cana.  Our church suggested we use him and it was the most painless process ever.  FI and I each took the FOCCUS test and did about an hour of pre-reading, then met with him one-on-one for 3 hours to discuss our differences on the test and that was it.  I was seriously scared going into it and it turned out to be fine.  And very minimal time on NFP!

The website is: http://www.creativemarriages.info/

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