(Closed) Engaged Encounter… Scared

posted 9 years ago in Catholic
Post # 17
Member
39 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I just wanted to add that I got back from an Engaged Encounter weekend yesterday and really loved the experience.  There was nothing that surprised us or caught us off guard, it was really just a chance to reflect on us, our relationship and what we expect in our marriage.  I was nervous to but it’s very low-pressure.  It is not group therapy.  Also, ours was not preachy.  This was something I was worried about.  I was raised Catholic but do disagree with some teachings…however, the Catholic beliefs weren’t shoved at us and our presenters seemed to have a good understanding that everyone has different backgrounds and beliefs.  

You get out of it what you put into it.  Good luck, I’m sure you will have a wonderful time!

Post # 18
Member
111 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

sorry this may turn into a long, negative rant….

we went to our 8-hour workshop last Saturday.  It was basically what I expected.  But I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it, just be able to tolerate it…  My fiance on the other hand was very very frustrated by the whole thing, despite saying he went into it with an open mind. 

As I mentioned in my previous post, he’s Jewish, and we are doing the whole dispensation thing (it was approved!  so yay for that), and are having a rabbi and a deacon officiate.

The thing that was most frustrating I think was that we went around the room and introduced ourselves at the beginning.  how you met, when is your wedding, etc.  AND, your religion.  there were about 25 couples there.  tons of Catholic-Protestant pairings.  very few Catholic-Catholic couples.  he was the ONLY Jewish person in the entire church social hall.  and the dumbest thing about it– during the entire 8 hours, they made no mention of interfaith challenges, not a single exercise about how to deal with compromise, etc, even from just a Catholic-Protestant perspective.  So why did we have to be singled out if they weren’t even going to address it or comment on it??  

And then there was the preachiness of it.  Although I was prepared to deal with that.  But I don’t like hearing statistics that tithing to the church, and practicing natural family planning “causes” marriages to stay together.  Correlation does not imply causation…Pretty sure there is just a common predisposition to both things there.

Or that just because we are getting married, that must mean we are like childen moving out of our parents houses for the first time who have never managed money.  I get that talking about finances is important in a relationship.  but it was a little condescending.  Too much Budget 101, and not just stressing the importance of openness and honesty.

We did 1 exercise that I liked.  Love Languages… that was meaningful and actually touched on like, how to build your relationship and understand each other.  

It just really seemed like the whole workshop COULD have focused a much longer portion of the day on a lot better topics rather than just the preachy required ones.  it had definite potential to be awesome, but it just missed.  Maybe it just comes down to your instructors?    

Post # 19
Member
464 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@jem415: That sucks. Frown You’d think they would add something about being interfaith in, after hearing about all of the interfaith couples there! That sounds like a HUGE oversight on their part, so no wonder you didn’t enjoy it!

 

We actually LOVED our pre-cana. We went to Engaged Encounter, as well (which is a full weekend), and it wasn’t preachy at all. The basic format for ours went like this:

  • Two discussion-leading couples (one older couple married for many years, one younger couple).
  • The day was split up into workshops, where one of the couples would discuss their experiences with the topic (e.g. how they learned to handle conflict or sex or finances or whatever in their relationship), and all of the engaged couples would listen to the presentation.
  • We then split up (each engaged couple into individual rooms) and discussed the topic, with the help of worksheets and discussion questions from a workbook they gave us at the start of the weekend. Our discussions with each other were private, and we didn’t have to share.
  • We had to sleep in separate rooms (of course!), we got to eat meals all together, and we had a Mass and a ceremony with prayers.

 

We loved it, but we also had really great host couples- so YMMV depending on how yours is set up. Poor organization can really make or break something like that!

Post # 20
Member
576 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I agree with the other posters. I just had my catholic marriage prep. Its only uncomfortable if you haven’t talked about things (ie. what you have 50k of debt?? What you don’t want kids?? What you want you mom to move in with us?? etc…)

We had talked about all the “big issues” before, and found the weekend very reassuring of our compatability. 🙂

Post # 22
Member
419 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I hate to be a killjoy but I have to share my honest opinion (I just got home from my EE)…. The EE we did was a total waste of time. Its nothing to be scared of but definatley nothing to look forward to either. We are mid-30’s and together for 4 years (half of which we were just friends). The information they covered migt help a 19 year old starry-eyed couple but for us it was very pedantic. I am not against  doing premarital counseling or classes, in fact we Rave about the wonderful marriage counseling our priest provided. But, this weekend is not what we had hoped. Two couples (who were real sweethearts, don’t get me wrong) read from a script about their lives things like how after a few years of marriage household chores were’nt sexy to do together anymore. I already know not to expect violins to play when we wash the dishes, thanks… We did alot of journaling about our feelings on certain things and only the couple saw the writing. There was not alot of serious hard-hitting questions to journal about (i.e. what if one of us gets sick, is infertile, has financial issues) but instead it was more basic… How is God going ton be in our relationship… I feel loved when you_______…. Thus, If this retreat would cause someone to break up or fight then the relationsip is in more trouble than any retreat could fix. I have actually heard of people who did uncover issues at EE so aparently for some shallow relationships it is a wakeup call. I guess for that its good, prevents a divorce.  Be prepared to be bored stuff and tired from sitting all weekend journaling and listening to lectures from non-professoinal speakers – but not don’t be scared.

Post # 23
Member
576 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@evalague: I’m sorry you had a bad experience. Unfortunatley it based on the programing and funding of your local church community.

I had, and many others in my region, have had good expriences. Yes, its pretty routine stuff. But its not intended to push people to their breaking point (like in the Robin Williams movie). Its a chance to discuss your issues and get communication tools to help your marriage. In my session, there were lots of “hard issues” like infertility, diabilities, etc. 

Post # 24
Member
15 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@evalague:  My Fiance and I were  there this weekend also.  I read your post to him and we both agree.  We didn’t mind being there to be together, but really hoped to spend more time on each other and less time listening to story after story.  We’re glad we’re not alone in our thoughts on it!

Post # 25
Member
566 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

We just finished our engaged weekend this afternoon. At our church, it is a non-sleepover event held at the church hall, and goes from Friday evening, all day and night Saturday (8:30am – 10:00pm!), and Sunday until 1:00pm.

I had read a lot of posts about the weekend and so I thought I knew what to expect (listening to host couples, lots of writing), but I was really pleasantly surprised. By far the best part of the weekend was listening to these host couples tell us their stories, honestly and painfully. My fiance and I thought it was so inspirational to meet the couples who were so willing to open themselves up to us for the sake of showing us that marriage is about helping each other through good times and bad. We’ve been together a long time, over five years, and we’ve already gone through all the serious subjects discussed. But this was a great opportunity to go through them again, just to make sure we’ve hit the heavy subjects before we start our marriage. He’s really not a schmoopy guy, so it was also a rare opportunity to be “forced” to confirm our love for each other 🙂

Our program is local (organized by our priest and a couple from this church, not the diocese) so your experience may vary widely. I hope yours are as great as ours was! Go into it with an open mind and you might be surprised 🙂

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