Monday, October 17, 2011

License to wed

{Via Pinterest, copyright to the Amateur Writer}
This past weekend Sean and I attend the marriage preparation retreat that is hosted by our local archdiocese. Like most couples in the surrounding churches, we’re required to attend before we can get married.

Even though the wedding isn’t for another 8 months, it was nice to check another item off our to-do list. And since we “passed” (and by passed I mean attended the entire thing, thus receiving the certificate of completion), we’re one step closer to getting married, too!

I know some people really get into these things, but for us, we went in a little bit leery of what to expect. Sean was less than thrilled about how much time it was going to take up (10 hours on Saturday is kind of a lot), but I’d say overall we were both pleasantly surprised by how well it went.

A few highlights of things we learned this weekend (whether it’s what they wanted us to take away from it or not):
  • It’s not marriage related – but having presenters who are entertaining and engaging speakers makes a big difference to a crowd of 100+ people who are sitting in an auditorium all day.
  • Sean and I have actually gotten to a really good place before even going to this retreat. They talk about the importance of understanding a lot of things before you get married—finances and budgeting, family styles and traditions, communication and conflict strategies, just to name a few. Many of these are things Sean and I have talked about and worked through in the nearly 7 years we’ve been dating. This makes me feel so confident and affirmed in the decision we’ve made to become husband and wife, and the future we’ll have together.
  • There are lots of small traditions to add to your day, week, or month that can help you keep your marriage strong. One couple told about their “rule” to always give each other a 5-second compliment and a 10-second kiss at least once a day. Another always makes time for “couple time” to talk about all of the things that can sometimes get missed in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We may not really be the type of people to make this a regular habit, but it was a good reminder to find unique ways to connect with each other and not get lost in routine and chaos.
  • Public speaking isn’t so scary after all. Sean and I got asked to do the readings at mass. Since we’re both pretty shy, it took us out of our comfort zone a little, but we both did fine and it showed us that there’s really nothing to be scared of.
  • We’re not mind readers. This sweet older gentleman with a great sense of humor presented the first night. Among his many reminders were that we have to remember that we’re all different, and we can’t read each others’ minds. It’s easy to get angry over things we wish our partner would understand, but unless we can be open and communicate those things, they may have no idea it’s even an issue. This—for me at least—is a reminder I needed!
  • Finally, my favorite was from the same gentleman I mentioned above. He talked about how we need to stop thinking that “if you don’t think as I think, feel as I feel, and do as I do, then you don’t love me.” Again, this wasn’t news to me, but the perfect reminder that we each love in our own ways—and that’s ok!
All in all, an interesting experience. While there was a combination of things we found interesting and others we found a little dull, I’m glad we went. And I can certainly understand why the church requires it. There are some important conversations that all couples should be having before they get married—and this certainly helped ensure that they were happening.

What's your favorite marriage or relationship advice?

1 comment:

  1. I kind of love stuff like this! We wanted to do counseling before we got married, but it was logistically impossible. But we looooove to talk about our relationship, any chance we get! :)