Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Passing Pre-Cana

This weekend Mr. Boa and I went to Pre-Cana, the required marriage prep course for all couples getting married in a Catholic Church. Our church requires that we attend their local course which consists of an Opening Weekend Retreat, 3 months of weekly meetings with a host couple and a Closing weekend retreat in May, all of which are virtually impossible for us to attend. Since we are both stuck in our college town during the week, Mami Boa met with the priest to discuss other alternatives. She somehow got us permission to do one INTENSE (Friday 8-11pm, Saturday 8am-11pm and Sunday 8am-3pm) weekend retreat in a different diocese instead of the usual requirements.

Last Friday right after class, we drove 3 hours along a twisting winding road to the lovely mountain town where our retreat would take place.
View from my room at the Retreat
We were really looking forward to gaining some valuable knowledge during the weekend, which consisted mostly of lectures. After which, we would be assigned some questions to discuss with our partner for 10-20 minutes before sitting down for the next lecture. To me, the weekend was like the graph for cosine: started out on top, went way down into the negatives before rising up again.
*Image via The Biology Project - BioMath
The topics covered were  God’s plan for marriage, marriage as a Sacrament,self-esteem, raising a family, financial matters and legal matters. I appreciate that they brought experts to talk about their respective fields: a financial advisor, a lawyer, a priest, a doctor and a psychologist were all in attendance. They really knew about their topic in depth and were able to answer the gazillion questions we had for them. Unfortunately for us, the topics of sexuality, STDs, Natural Family Planning and Assisted Reproductive Technology were discussed by married couples who only talked about their personal experiences. This was the negative part, where I think the information was seriously lacking especially after treating an audience where half the people had children, as a couple of middle school virgins. Although I'm grateful they opened up their personal lives to us, I would have a appreciated a unbiased account of these topics as given by a psychologist or sexologist. 

They had all of the couples take a picture with this cute banner as they arrived
I must admit I’m a bit disappointed about my Pre-Cana experience. I was really looking forward to spending a weekend with Mr. Boa learning how to strengthen our relationship. As the weakened progressed I found I was learning very little, only a handful of topics were even relevant to our relationship. In the past 4 years together we had covered most (if not all) of the topics discussed during the Retreat and living together for the last eight months has smoothed out any household-related problems that might have been an issue.

All 30 couples at our Pre-Cana Weekend Retreat
In all,  it was a good experience and I’m grateful we took the time out of our schedule to just focus on us and our impending nuptials. Sometimes in the midst of planning we forget that the most important part of it all is our marriage, not the wedding. It’s the exchange of vows and the commitment of the rest of your life to your partner, promising to make them happy till eternity. Our weekend was a nice remainder of the reasons why we wanted to get married in the first place and how much this commitment means to both of us. After another 3 hour drive through crazy roads, we decided to take Miss Turkey’s suggestion to celebrate by having a pancake dinner at IHOP and gorging ourselves on some frozen yogurt afterwards.

How was your pre-marital counseling experience? Was it what you expected?

* Note - Though some of the topics covered might be similar/identical in other places, please take notice that this was our personal experience after doing Pre-Cana in a little mountain town in the very conservative island of  Puerto Rico and it may not apply elsewhere.

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