Pre-Cana, for those of you who are not familiar, is basically marriage prep course or sessions that Catholic couples go through before getting married in the Catholic church. I never thought about this before but the name comes from the old story where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine at Cana in Galilee.
There are quite a few ways that couples go through their Pre-Cana, it depends on your priest, what is offered in your diocese and then sometimes what you choose. Because we are getting married in NY and live in VA our priest said we could do our marriage prep where we live. Some people meet with their priest for 6 weeks or so (with our schedules I don’t think this would ever work but one benefit is really getting to know the priest that will be performing the sacrament of marriage, because I love our priest that is marrying us, I think I would have liked to do this but the cards did not fall that way for us.) Another option for some is a weekend retreat. For me- not my cup of tea. That involved us checking in early Friday afternoon, bunking with people you never met and not leaving until Sunday afternoon. If you are very involved in your church and this is the option for you, I commend you. I, admittedly am a fair-weather churchgoer, and don’t think this is for me. All that said, both FH and I each went through 12+ years of Catholic school so we know our way around a catechism.
Our class was a little different; we went for the all day crunch session – 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Its funny, a lot of people I spoke too scared me to death, I thought it was going to be awful with threats of damnation for cohabitation but it wasn’t that bad. I can’t say it ended up being something I would recommend for fun but it was relatively painless.
The topics they discussed included:
Compatibility & Convictions
Christian Family in the Modern World
Natural Family Planning
What I liked:
Ok, so Natural Family Planning is their thing. It’s the only thing they endorse. It’s not the NFP that I liked, it was that the couple informing us about this kept saying – “it worked for us, I only ask that you learn more about it.” I have heard from others that they were threatened with damnation for going other routes. I can respect someone telling you that something worked for them and they recommend you look into it. It’s pretty much what we do as bloggers, right? Here’s a site on NFP if you are interested. Not my bag baby but you may think it would be right for you. Its never a bad idea to educate yourself on anything.
What I didn’t like:
The old school defined roles. FH pointed this out to me first. When they discussed communication between men and women they would say things like “Men are interested in sports, women are interested in shopping” “Men like math, women like English”. OK, for us as a couple this happens to true but it really was annoying. Then they also got into roles like “Women do the dishes, men rake the leaves”. All of the couples presenting to us were households where the women stayed home and the man worked, not just the couple that had been married for 40 years but the ones that were married for 4 years also. Um, of the 35 couples at the conference, how many could possibly be in this situation? We live in DC, I can’t imagine the percentage was high. Now- I commend any family that can make this work but it’s definitely not a reality in my house anytime soon. So they would say things like, when your husband comes home from work and you have been cleaning all day and he leaves his jacket in the wrong place, take a minute and think about his day too.
Um- not in my reality, we both work like maniacs and we have a cleaning lady. The dishes are not something we fight about, I would have preferred to hear about how they deal with real issues, not dishes!
OK, done with the diatribe. In summary, we have one more thing off the to-do list! I can’t say our life has changed but I can say that it wasn’t that bad. I think they need to update their program a tad (I am not criticizing them about their beliefs- not my position to do that - just slight critcism on how they need to realize that couples have less defined roles in this day and age) and I think its good to know what your church believes if you choose to use them to marry you!
What kind of prep have you guys gone through? What did you think?