Post # 1
We just did a day long marriage prep retreat yesterday. After being together for 7 years, none of our discussions really yielded any surprises but there were definitely a few things that were worthwhile!
But I just thought it was interesting because Fiance and I live together and we were a little… nervous (for lack of a better word) because we heard rumors of them giving a hard time if you live together. They totally glided over it and said that the biggest issue of “cohabitation” before marriage is that the statistics say couples are more likely to get divorced if they live together before marriage. I don’t necessarily believe that is a legit stat but he went on to say it is only because some couples don’t make a distinction between living together and marriage and thus begin to feel that a marriage is something you can walk away from (like walking away from the home). He just suggested spending time on our own to discuss in detail WHY we live together and to be clear that we aren’t just getting married since “we practically already are”.
I thought this was helpful.
I should also say that he did mention that there are some traditional priests who still refuse to marry cohabitants. It is their perogative but this was something Pope John Paul II worked VERY hard to communicate with them that it isn’t a realistic expectation and they shouldn’t try to drive people apart from the church.
Post # 3
I’ve been with my fiance’ for less than 2 years, and we had pretty well exhausted the topics long before our class that was similiar to yours. I believe this is partially because we overanalyze everything and because our courtship was aimed at discerning marriage, so as it became more likely that we would marry, we discussed these topics at length. Not to mention that we both have parents who have been happily married for over 30 years and have them as lifelong mentors.
I think the class would be more helpful if the problem were truly that couples were rushing into marriage. I also think that they need to take Justice of the Peace II’s example of his own work with couples which wasn’t to simply to try to fix the divorce problem, but rather approaching it with an affirmation and growth in understanding about what marriage is and why we marry. This is why I preferred the second class, “The Good News about Sex and Marriage,” even with its imperfections.
Kudos that you got something out of it though.
Post # 4
Yours was only a day long… LUCKY! We just did our “Engaged Encounter” 2 weeks ago, and it was 3 days, and we had to stay the nights at the retreat place!
I just wished there were more real-life examples of how to make a marriage last, and things that married people experience. We didn’t learn much new information from each other, but it was nice to just take the time to reiterate our feelings for each other and our excitement to be getting married.
Post # 5
Wow a 3 day event sounds wonderful. We tried to sign up for the weekend retreat, but only one other couple signed up for the retreat so it was canceled and we were stuck with one full day and a double evening one. I would have loved to have a Mass included. Granted, the weekend before our second class, the gospel reading turned out to be the Wedding at Cana and the priest gave a wonderful homily on the sacrament.
Granted had we had three days of anything like the first class, I would have considered it a waste of time.
Post # 6
Congrats!! We are doing Pre Cana sessions with a couple from our parish. We have one more left, then a meeting with the priest and we’ll be all set. I actually enjoy the sessions and filling out the books. Fiance and I live together as well, and have been together for 4 years. We didn’t find out anything that we didn’t already know, but it’s interesting to tie all of the “past experiences” into who we are now.
Post # 7
We did the Engaged Encounters and it was kind of exhausting (we had to be up pretty early every morning) but we thought that it was so helpful. We’ve been together for 5 years but there are little things that you don’t always talk about or finish discussing. It also gave us a lot of insight in how you have to work at a marriage. I felt like it was really good for the two of us and are happy we decided to do the whole weekend. When else can you dedicate a whole weekend to your relationship?
Btw, I also heard the same about the cohabitating couples statistic. But they brought up a good point that I think can apply to any relationship, if your pledge to committment isn’t there it’s very easy to walk away when things get difficult.
Happy for you that you’re all done!
Post # 8
We’re doing a course with a couple at our church, and have found them to be very understanding about the “cohabitation” thing as well. We’re only one session in, but its been really wonderful so far, and while its not illuminating anything entirely new, its encouraged us to think about and talk about some things that we haven’t dug into deeply enough in our 6-year relationship.
We also had to meet with a Deacon to go over the results of the FOCCUS inventory, and unfortunately I can’t say the same about that experience (with regard to the question of cohabitation.) Literally the first thing he said to us when we sat down was “I’m going to be honest with you. Cohabitation is not a good idea.” Needless to say, that sort of put us on the defensive from the beginning. He’s an older guy and I guess you could chalk some of it up to generational differences, and he may personally be more in a pre Vatican II mindset.
Nevertheless – I’m looking forward to the rest of our pre-cana with the younger couple that is much more understanding and compassionate about our personal choices!