Monday, December 21, 2009

The Best Planning Decision, Pt.1

One of the best planning decisions we made was not actually by choice.

We knew we wanted to get married in a Catholic Church because it is important to us, both spiritully and emotionally. We also knew it would make my mom happy since I'm "her only hope" of having a child to have a catholic wedding. We kind of joke that we're doing it for her, but in reality, we both want to raise our children in the Catholic faith and hopefully they'll share in our values and beliefs. We want to start our catholic traditions and family values right from the start. And I say right from the start, although we already have these values, because I want it to be an important part of our lives as a family-which truly begins on our wedding day.

Having a Catholic wedding wasn't easy for us, at first. We aren't actively participating members of a church. When we called churches in Rhode Island, we were told by all of them that our priest would have to sign off. Not easily done when you don't have a priest.

At first, I complained and thought it would be impossible, but then we decided to take action. We were honest with my childhood church of our intentions. We let him know we wanted to join the church as members so that we could get married in a catholic church and our hopes for becoming more involved in the future. He was very understanding and we became members that day. He signed off on our marriage and wrote a letter to our church in Rhode Island. It seemed like a scray experience, because I felt like they would say no, but it ended up being a great experience. We now have a church that we belong to and are able to get married in a catholic church in RI.

Step 1 was over. The next requirement from our RI church was to attend pre-cana. I was absolutely dreading this. We live together, we have for over 4 years. I've heard rumors of people being condemmed for "living in sin" and didn't think I could handle it. Our church in MA also doesn't offer pre-cana, so we had to look elsewhere, so I felt like we'd be outsiders.

Our priest in MA gave us advice on where to look. We found a church that allowed us to join their pre-cana classes. The classes were on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during the same week. It was a long drive away, which gave me time to stress beforehand.

When we arrived to the class, we were greeted by one of the couples and led to our table. Each table had a few engaged couples and the team leaders- who were a married couple. As soon as we sat down, our husband team leader introduced himself and asked how we were feeling. Mr. Newport explained I was nervous, and he told me he was too when he had attended 2 years ago. He said he was sick for three days, but to trust him. It's not what we expect.

After a few minutes in, we knew he was right. It wasn't the typical condemnation you hear about, and it wasn't even about the catholic faith, it was about communicating, and working on strengthening your relationship. Something that can fall behind in the wedding planning.

I was so nervous about pre-cana, but it has honestly been the best part of planning so far. I wouldn't have done it if it weren't required, but I'm so glad we went through it.

Did you have to go through pre-marriage preperation or counseling? Were you nervous?


Born to be Mrs. Beever said...

I was excited to do our pre-marital counseling and it started off great. The officiant who is marrying us is meeting with us over the course of several months to walk us through some things as we prepare for marriage. Our officiant is my jr. high/high school pastor who I have known now for over 20 years. So I love that I have a personal real life connection to him. This however has worked out to be a disappointment because since my fiance and I are older (37 and 47) and I have a child from a previous boyfriend and my fiance is divorced, our pastor feels like we are different than your typical younger engaged couples. He feels like we are mature and have been through a lot of life experience. So he is being somewhat lacsidaisical (sp?) about our counseling and feeling like we don't need much. At our last meeting, he and my fiance spent about 25 minutes talking about surfing in Indonesia and then we quickly skimmed over our differences of opinion on finances. I'm thinking I need to be a bit more verbal about what we hope to get out of this :) Glad it is working out to be a great thing for you two. I whole heartedly encourage it!

Jen said...

We went to the class in Portsmouth RI for our pre-cana. We were dreading it but it turned out amazingly better than we both thought it would. We met some great couples that we spent the day with and got to hear from the "experts"...the couples who have been married for a long time, they figured it out so there's hope for the rest of us right? ;)

LauraAnn said...

I am glad to hear that everything went smoothly! We encountered all sorts of trouble when we first started planning our wedding. I am Lutheran and knew I wanted to be married by a Lutheran Pastor. My childhood Pastor found out last minute that he was being deployed (he is in the Marines) so he was unable to marry us. Another Pastor that I knew (was really good friends with his kids in school) had a schedule conflict. So we ended up contacting a Pastor that we had never met before. I was TERRIFIED because I had heard that some Pastor's would not marry you if you lived together prior to marriage. He ended up being so cool about the entire situation. Of course he did not condone it but he totally understood our reasoning. It was such a relief!

I definitely understand the stress and fear that you went through. I mean, you can't exactly get married without an officiant! Glad it all ended well!

Anonymous said...

I was really nervous when it came to our marriage prep in the Catholic Church, too. My FI and I were both raised Catholic, but we attended three separate churches between the two of us. We opted to get married in a church near our house (we live together, too) to avoid any favoritism accusations from either side of the family.

I was really nervous, since a) we live together and b) both our sets of parents are divorced. Yeah, that was an awkward conversation, telling our priest why our parents split up. He even made a comment that although both my parents attended Mass almost every Sunday, they evidently weren't listening. Um, ouch. But I saw where he was coming from.

We haven't started our official pre-Cana exercises yet, but we did do the FOCCUS assesment, and are waiting to hear back from our priest about it.

Newport Nuptials said...

@ littlemissramble: I keep hearing about the FOCCUS test, but we never had to take it. I kind of wish we did. I just think it would be interesting.

honey my heart said...

i love how the Catholic Church created pre cana classes that centered around the couple's relationship. it really was a blessing when we attended our engaged encounter weekend and i always tell everyone they must attend theirs.