(Closed) Tell me about your Engaged Encounter

posted 7 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
Member
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

This is not a strictly “Catholic” weekend. At ours darn near 50% of the attendees were not Catholic or non-practicing. This is not about “catholic teaching” it is about marriage, preparation and skills you need for a successful marriage. 

I can tell you right now, that unless you open yourself to enjoy it, no matter if your favorite band showed up you’d hate it. If your Fiance really wants to go, don’t make him have to “stomp his foot like a 3 year old” because right now it sounds like you are doing the same thing saying “I don’t wanna.” Ironically, communication is a large portion of the weekend 🙂

What happens? Friday night they will do an introduction, give out course materials, mingle, go over the weekend, maybe a talk or so, and have dinner (but def. eat a little before you go and bring snacks for your room). The next day they’ll probably start with a prayer, do breakfast, then get into the talks. The hosts will give a talk, you’ll each write about the topic, then you get together in a quiet “alone” space so you can discuss with each other the topic. Then, rinse and repeat.

You are not being told “like teenagers” to not share a bedroom. Again, if you don’t embrace it, it will eat you apart as well as impact your FI’s experience. Regardless of if cohabitation is an impediment to marriage or not (it’s not), It IS still a Catholic Retreat – And (pardon the frankness) Sex IS NOT appropriate before marriage in the church, nor is the church going to “accept” co-habitation with open arms… as it usually leads to sex. Trust me, this retreat gets you pretty intimate with each other… just not in that way. 

Even if the cattle escaped 3 years ago… this is a grueling, intimate weekend for you and your Fiance. Trust me, you’ll barely be in your room, and when you are… all you will want to do is sleep. It also allows for each of you to be able to reflect on the day, the conversations you’ve had, and to evaluate everything.

The retreat is loved by a LOT of people, both Catholic AND non-Catholic. The biggest thing that will influence your retreat is your own attitude. It will be whatever you make it out to be. Don’t be so frustrated by it, be open to learning why it is the way it is. They’ll probably touch on it the first night as well.

Regardless, if this is something your Fiance really wants to do… and it’s something that can make your foundation for your marriage stronger… don’t be stomping your own foot in protest. Go, have a great weekend, enjoy the time with your Fiance because it is so much more intimate that it will be if you stayed home by yourselves, and just be open. 

We absolutely loved ours! We both did! We were at an oceanfront hotel – each retreat has different locations. some are at hotels, some at retreat centers, some on campus, etc… so keep in mind that accommodations differ. 

Here are some review threads:

Engaged Encounter this weekend…what to expect

Engaged Encounter

Catholic Engaged Encounter???

Engaged Encounter

Post # 4
Member
6998 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

I didnt do the full weekened encounter but i did do the saurday all day class

I was raised calholic but it wasnt practiced in the home much – especially when i got older and could actually drive – my church going stopped. Fiance on the other hand was raised EXTREMELY catholic (he actually just got back from Mexico City visiting the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe) anyway…I was really nervous about the whole pre cana thing as well but im promise there is nothing to be nervous about! It actually was alot of fun and really brougth us together. They will go over topics with you – do a little power point and speak for a few minutes then let you and Fiance go off in your own little world and discuss or fill in workbooks. as nervous as i was i really really REALLY enjoyed it and would reccommend it to anyone thinking of getting married. I promise they wont push their ideas on you – the whole point is for them to give you the materials and knowledge needed to succeed in your marriage – they arent there to tell you right and wrong.

Have fun with it! see it as an opportunity for you and Fiance to get on a deeper level

Post # 5
Member
332 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

@KLP2010: Ditto.

I am going to say that they did not serve dinner to us on Friday night. We met at 6 on Friday night for the FOCCUS test and afterwards had about 30 minutes during which time we could go get food outside of the retreat center while the last non-FOCCUS taking couples arrived, but we were on our own for food until Saturday morning.

The weekend really is about communication and not Catholicism. I am a practicing Catholic and PenguinGuy is not Catholic. Sometimes I think that he got a LOT more out of the weekend than I did. Yes, Catholic ideals were mentioned and there was a priest sitting as one of the panel members, but panel time was considerably less than the time that we had as indivuals and as a couple to write and discuss different topics.

I would recommend just opening yourself up to whatever happens. Do this to support your Dear Fiance and let what will come, come.

Post # 6
Member
6998 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

You cant go in to it thinking they are TELLING you that you have HAVE to do this and HAVE to do that – people tend to think the Catholic church is just that way – and its not. If you look beyond the surface you will realize what they try and teach you is useful and not all all commanding. We had several people in our class who lived together, had children togethe etc…they dont look down on that. I think the chruch realizes how times have changed and they adjust to that. they dont TELL you you cannot get married if you live together or if you have kids together – it isnt even about preaching the religion – its strickly how to be successful in your marriage – they bring up topics you wouldnt really thinkg about talking about like “would you consider adoption” or “would it bother you if your spouse makes more money than you” stuff like that. 

If you go into it with the attitude you have now (no offense, really i promise!) you are not going to have a great time. Try and look at it as a weekend away with Fiance to strengthen your relationship and really have fun with it!

im curious – do you mind updating us after your encounter?

Post # 8
Member
39 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I’m confused as to why you asked everyone’s opinion when you clearly don’t have an open mind about it?  

It’s a shame for your Fiance that you aren’t willing to take a weekend out of your life for him.  But, I agree with you.  With the attitude you have right now, you shouldn’t go.  You wouldn’t enjoy it for yourself and you’d certainly taint the other couples’ weekends as well.  

Post # 9
Member
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

wow. @dianalynn – Agree’d. 

Post # 10
Member
3166 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@DianaLynn: good comment. I couldn’t come up with anything that wasn’t a complete snarkfest when I first read that so I didn’t respond.

Post # 11
Member
284 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@youhavemyheart  I think you should just go into this with an open mind–I am Catholic, although not the best one out there, far from it in fact. Fiance and I are going to engaged encounter, and while I also don’t necessarily agree with separate sleeping quarters, I do think that we will benefit from the other things that will be offered for the weekend. Perhaps the weekend will help you to communicate at a more effective level and get over situations like the one you are in right now–and you won’t have to throw a tantrum over something as trivial as spending two nights in a different room than your Fiance. And if you are so dead set against what the Catholic church stands for, why are you getting married in the Catholic church? That’s quite offensive…

Post # 13
Member
464 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I went to engaged encounter, and loved it. The focus of the whole weekend was us as a couple- we didn’t get preached at, they encouraged us to look into NFP but only required that we talk (privately, with each other) about how we would handle intimacy and child spacing, and it was an excellent weekend. We were together for several years before getting married, and thought we had discussed everything, but there were still some things we’d overlooked or pushed to the side. We got to talk about them at our engaged encounter, and it was great. We both *loved* it, and recommend it highly to everyone, even non-Catholics.

If you decide to go, I suggest you do so with an open mind. Some of he things you say in your post (FI is :stomping his feet” about it, “Apparently I’m giving up my Friday night through Sunday afternoon.”) show that you’re really being close minded about the weekend. I’m not trying to criticize you, because I understand that it probably seems really silly to have to go if the church isn’t important to you. However, if you go into anything saying “this is going to be stupid and a HUGE waste of time” then you aren’t going to get much out of it. If you go, set a goal for something you’d like to get out of it. Maybe something like “a better understanding of why this is important to my FI” or “at least one good discussion of how our differing religious views will both be respected in our relationship” (I know you’re venting, but your description didn’t sound respectful- and it’s all we have to work with here).

I suggest going, because my Fiance and I both really liked it. I also agree with marylandnurse, if you’re so against things related to the church, maybe a church wedding isn’t right for you, and you should find something that is.

Post # 14
Member
419 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Reposted from another poster’s question but worth repeating In My Humble Opinion. 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 # 15
Member
77 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

From having a horrible Catholic retreat experience in high school I really doubted Engaged Encounter would be any better. My fiance and I showed up at the time given in the e-mail. It turns out we were 45 minutes early because it was late getting started. As well there was no heat when it was 30 degrees outside. We had lectures by 2 different couples about their marriages. Some of the things said were mind boggling to me. One of the husbands hid his finances from his wife and he was saying how insecure he was because he got in so much debt. My fiance got pissed. The same husband also made several sex jokes throughout his stories. For a severely overweight man to just say “hey when that doesn’t work just get naked!” is creepy to me especially since everyone there is supposed to not have had sex yet. He proceeded to make several more dirty jokes which were completely pathetic and inappropriate.

My fiance and I decided to leave halfway through the day. I told the Deacon how offended I was and my fiance told him how useless EE was to us. We just met with the deacon another time and he said we were fine to go ahead and get married.

I feel like my fiance and I are way more mature than most of the couples that were there because we had discussed these issues at length before. My fiance is going to be commissioning into the Air Force and he was sure as hell to bring up all these things at the beginning of our relationship so he knows that I am there 100% with him as the military asks alot of families.

We have our problems/fights but we love each other and know how to communicate so we work through it. I felt bad for the other couples at EE when I was looking through the booklet because I had already discussed the topics with my fiance. I think some people shouldn’t be getting married if they think EE has given them such new ideas about their relationships. For me and my fiance, the military lifestyle is totally different than the typical marriage so the problems discussed in the EE booklet were insignificant.

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