(Closed) What to expect from marriage prep classes?

posted 4 years ago in Catholic
Post # 2
Member
3716 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

We did the couples’ retreat weekend instead of the classes, so I’m not sure how different they will be. The weekend mostly consisted of married couples telling anecdotes about their married lives that would revolve around a certain topic, like money or kids. After they would share their stories we’d all separate into couples and journal our thoughts on a list of questions they’d provide. We would then share our responses with or partner. Some of it was great, but mostly the topics were things we’d already discussed. It wasnt bad at all, and it could be very beneficial especially if there are things you haven’t discussed in depth yet. 

Post # 3
Member
1130 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

eekabear:  I think it depends on the church. For us it was only me and my Darling Husband and the couple giving the class. We were there for a few hours on a Saturday.  The couple was older and very helpful. They talked to us about how to treat each other and how to put God first. We got married in a smaller church so they don’t have marriages as often as big churches. Don’t be nervous you will enjoy it.

Post # 4
Member
268 posts
Helper bee

You may want to read the thread I wrote about it…. Or you may not (I had a pretty terrible experience).

My advice would be not to say anything that’s super firm/decisive I guess.  I did, and it got taken as I’m controlling and domineering, and caused drama to the point that we pulled our wedding from the church.

Post # 5
Member
5954 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

eekabear:  It’ll be a man who’s never been married giving you marital advice. And like a PP said, couples share their stories. We had a newlywed couple and a couple that had been married for 100 years sharing their experiences. Then you get a subject to think about and talk about with your Fiance. It’s all stuff we had already talked about: whether or not to have kids, how to split up the finances blah blah blah. I think it only benefits 18 yrs olds that maybe aren’t mature enough to have thought of this on their own and very uncommunicative people that apparently need help talking about these obvious things.

Post # 8
Member
5954 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

eekabear:  It was a long time ago (first marriage), but I don’t think we did share them out loud. Just with our FIs. Which was good. The only thing we ever really did one on one with the priest was meet with him a couple times and take a “test”. He checked it and then told us what might break us up. Our answers were the most matched he’d ever seen. He said if we’d break up it would be because my Fiance was Catholic and I wasn’t. That’s not why it ended. :-p

Post # 10
Member
1936 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Does anyone know of any options outside of the church? Fiance is Catholic and I’m Orthodox so although I can go to “his” church he can’t come to mine, however he’s not affiliated with any church so it’d be like picking one from boo.

Post # 11
Member
4038 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

eekabear:  I know people who have had great experiences and those who did not have great experiences. It def depends on the priest. Our priest is so chill and laid back. He gives advice and talks to us but never in a judgemental way, never condescending. We are very lucky.

i will say our experience has been good so far. We had to do two all day Saturday classes for pre Cana and we met with the priest twice, we will meet with him one more time before the rehearsal to go over everything with him again. The Precana classes were pretty good, the first one called gods plan for joyful marriage was pretty boring TBH. It was mostly lectures and scriptures etc, explaining about how marriage is a sacrament, it wasn’t horrible but not my favorite. Then the next Saturday class consisted of meeting in small groups with other couples and an older married couple who kind of facilitated discussions and topics. We talked about personality/compatible traits, communication, finances, family issues. That class was cool and I feel like we got a lot out of that one. I’ve been with my Fiance for 8 years but I do feel like it was cool to discuss stuff anyway just as a reminder moving forward with our marriage. 

I hope that helped! Good luck Bee.

Post # 12
Member
5954 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

eekabear:  Right?? I’m sure it’s done differently in different churches. So maybe they don’t even take the “test” anymore?? We had the one priest at the church meet us and test us. Then we had a different priest at the weekend retreat (I wanted to get it over quickly so we did the weekend).

Post # 13
Member
3071 posts
Sugar bee

We loved ours, three Saturday’s over three months for two hours each. We actually did some courses in one church, and then moved out of state, resuming the rest of the classes at our new church. My Fiance and I had a great time, met great couples, great teaching couples, and have never had an issue with any priests or deacons we’ve come into contact with. We do practice regularly though, so I’m not sure if that could play a part in the attitude of priests. I’ve been to many priests, in many churches, in many diocese, in many states, and I’ve never run into some of the priests described in these posts. It saddens me that people have such poor experiences, it’s definitely not how anyone should feel – especially for a wedding! In Michigan, we had one of the BEST Faith Formation teachers I’ve ever taken a class from, I wish we could have moved him with us….

For reference, we took the pre Cana course, NFP course, FOCCUS test we just handed in, and met with the priests (between the two states) maybe 5 or 6 times? But we did have extra meetings explaining the move in the middle, becoming parishioners in our new parish while keeping our time line for the wedding. Luckily, it all worked out and our wedding is two weeks away!

Good luck!

Post # 14
Member
2018 posts
Buzzing bee

The pre-canna test is still used by the Catholic church. It isn’t hard. It’s a series of statements that you either Strongly Agree with, or Strongly Disagree with. The purpose is to see what areas you and your partner don’t match. For example if one partner Strongly Agrees having children is important to them, and the other partner Strongly Disagrees having children is important, the test will highlight that as a difference. You will talk about your differences. Having differences doesn’t mean you fail the test, you just talk about them to make sure you’re both aware. 

We were married in a catholic church, but did our premarital prep through a licensed counselor, not a priest. Our catholic church gave us the option of doing it with a priest, or with a marriage counselor and we picked the latter. The guy was really cool (married) and genuinely gave us some great advice and ideas. 

Post # 15
Member
157 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I think it really depends on where/how you have your class. Ours was with about 40 other couples at the Paulist Center in Boston. I was not looking forward to it because I figured it would be all about scripture and your relationship with yourselfs and God, which we already felt comfortable with.

BUT, the class was actually really awesome. Throughout the day they had us each fill out paperwork/questions and then compare. Some of the papers were on how we view our personalities, our partner’s personalities, where we see ourselves in 5 years, how we feel best to problem solve. You only compared with your partner and did not share with the group/table. They also had a few couples in- one that had been married a year, another married for several with young-ish children, and another that had grandkids. They spoke on the challenges they faced with their relationships and how they dealt with it. The priest running the class said that he felt that he couldn’t really say much since he had never been married and that’s why they were there.

We did have some reflection in church. We also to fill out some paperwork/questions regarding our intimate relationship and expectations, which we were certainly not expecting from the Catholic Church, but making sure that you are on similar pages sexually is important.

So, all in all, I thought it was a good day. While we had already discussed much of what our future life plans were (ie kids, timeline, who says home, ect). It was nice to really see it on paper and where we were miscommunicating.

We did some quesetions with the priest marrying us (he was not doing the pre-cana course because we are having a wedding outside of our diocese), and he did the agree/disagree/nuetral questions. He did say that the only time he’d ever seen people break up because of that was a Jewish/Catholic couple where the female Jewish assumed the kids would be Jewish (I believe in their religion its passed down through the mother, but I may be incorrect) and the male Catholic assumed they would be raised in the Catholic church because he thought she was more apathetic towards her religion than she actually was. While it’s sad that couple broke up, remember that those questions only point out major issues within the relationship and not insignificant things like ‘who takes out the trash?’.

Sorry for the rambling, it really depends on where you go and what that church does. If you are in New England, I highly recommend the Paulist Center- helpful, informative, and done in one day 🙂

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