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Catholic Weddings

Anyone else disappointed by marriage prep?

FI and I had our marriage prep class on Saturday.

Seven hours -- 8.45 a.m. to 3.45 p.m.  -- of sex talk. Nothing but sex.

Nothing whatsoever in those seven hours about conflict resolution, finances, kids, family, etc. 

Just sex. And, of course, 1.5 hours of NFP. 

This is the only class offered by our diocese, and therefore the only class required for marriage prep. I was very disappointed in it. Also, there were two older couples in our group (think 45+), for whom I thought the NFP stuff was probably irrelevant, given that that ship has sailed.

Other than those two couples, and me and FI (we're in our 30s), the rest of the room was college-age kids, so the sex and NFP stuff was good, but I thought they would have been better served by having more information on conflict resolution and kids and finances and everything that goes into a relationship that ISN'T sex.

The highlight, though, was the groom-to-be who shouted out, very excitedly, "But we have to consummate our marriage, right? Our marriage isn't valid until we have sex? So we have to have sex ON OUR WEDDING NIGHT, right?"

Way to tell the room you're horny, buddy.

Also, and I'll probably be writing to the overseer of the programme about this, the couple teaching the class gave doctrinally and dogmatically false information in answer to questions asked by people in the room, and that is far more worrisome to me than the all-sex-all-the-time lecture.
Anniversary

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I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'

Re: Anyone else disappointed by marriage prep?

  • Was it considered a sort of pre-cana retreat or did they disclose up front that it would predominantly focused on sex, etc.?  I'd say that my diocese's pre-cana retreat only spent about 1.5 out of a 10 hour retreat on that - I definitely agree with you that it should have been broader in topic coverage and would be disappointed, too!  Do you have the option at your parish or a nearby parish to meet with a marriage mentor couple and talk through some of those topics in a less impersonal setting than a group presentation?
  • Also, and I'll probably be writing to the overseer of the programme about this, the couple teaching the class gave doctrinally and dogmatically false information in answer to questions asked by people in the room, and that is far more worrisome to me than the all-sex-all-the-time lecture

    ugh, this is why lay persons shouldnt be teaching this stuff!!!

  • We did the engaged encounter retreat and had a good experience. It is a whole weekend but we only briefly talked about sex and NFP (maybe 1 hour if even that much). I can understand why you would be disappointed.
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  • what the heck is there to talk about sex for SEVEN hours?! Was that seriously supposed to be the entire marriage prep?! that is crazy. Is it possible that there was supposed to be another segment for you, like another Saturday for finances and another for communication or whatever? Maybe your priest didn't know there were other things you were supposed to do? (Not saying this is what happened...that just seems SO weird to me, so I'm trying to find an explanation!)
    Definitely write a letter complaining if they were teaching false things, and state the actual things that were taught. CC everyone you can, ranging from your priest, to the head of whatever diocesan office sponsors it, and I'd even include the bishop. And it wouldn't hurt to also include how inadequate you felt this program was.
    Anniversary
  • I was disappointed because ours was just informal talks with our priest where we would discuss bible passages and he would spend 90% of the time talking about unrelated stuff. We did do the FOCCUS and talk about it, but that was it.

    I also disagree with Calypso. In the current time, religious people are not much less likely to give a wrong answer than laity. You just need better theologically trained people, period.

    SaveSave
  • We also did Engaged Encounter and LOVED it. We covered everything, and there was only one talk on sex and one talk on NFP. It was incredibly helpful.
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  • To answer everyone's questions more or less in order:

    -- Nope, this is it. There's nothing else required. There is an "Engaged Encounter" weekend, but it's taught by the same couple that did "God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage," and....yeah, thanksbutno.

    -- We got a lot out of our one-on-one sessions with our priest, so that was good. And a lot of what I thought should have been covered FI and I have already covered. We've talked about money and debt and kids and careers and what our priorities are and all of that kind of stuff. Mostly because we're nerds, but also because we're old enough that a lot of our friends are married (and some of them are divorced) and we've seen what issues they're facing.

    -- Seven hours and basically what we learned was that our male instructor couldn't say "sex" without blushing and laughing like a middle-school-ages boy; the church only condones missionary-style sex (orly??); and "intimacy" should be remembered as "into me see."

    So, I'll be writing a letter this week.
    Anniversary

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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
    Ajuliana
  • Ours was mostly the same as the OP's. We had some elective "breakout" sessions on topics like personality styles, etc, but most were NFP related and honoring your body and expressing your love physically type things.

    It was pretty boring.


  • So, I'll be writing a letter this week.

    Good for you and God bless you. Nothing will change if no one speaks up!
  • I highly recommend doing the Engaged Encounter!! My fiance and I went last month and it was HANDS DOWN one of the (if not THE) most memorable, special, and amazing experiences we have had as a couple. There are two couples who run the encounter and they were absolutely inspiring and so open about their own marriages and experiences.

    We arrived Friday night around 7 pm and did a couple of activities and also enjoyed talking with the other couples there. Saturday, the hosting couples gave an intro to each activity/discussion and then you have time to reflect on your own (there is a workbook) and time to discuss with your fiance. Literally, every topic you can think of is covered, and you go over everything with your fiance as a couple so you can be completely honest and open with each other. The weekend ends Sunday around 1pm. They served excellent home-cooked meals and there were plenty of snacks, coffee, tea, etc during breaks. 

    My fiance and I came away from the weekend with even more love for each other than when we arrived. We already felt very close before the weekend, and we feel that the encounter bonded us even further. We still talk about it and cannot wait to attend the Marriage Encounter after we are married!!

    Seriously, do not even think about it and just attend the Engaged Encounter!! I strongly recommend it to all engaged couples, even if they are not Catholic. Every engaged couple will benefit from the weekend. Bring your friends! It is so SO worth it. 

    The next one is Oct.18-20 at the seminary in Huntington. You can sign up by emailing the coordinators, Lenny and Pat, directly at: [email protected]
  •  the church only condones missionary-style sex (orly??); 

    Why is this?
  • Catlady, it doesn't. That was the bad information she was talking about.
  • AjulianaAjuliana member
    500 Comments 250 Love Its Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited August 2013
    Fiiances said:

    I highly recommend doing the Engaged Encounter!! My fiance and I went last month and it was HANDS DOWN one of the (if not THE) most memorable, special, and amazing experiences we have had as a couple. There are two couples who run the encounter and they were absolutely inspiring and so open about their own marriages and experiences.

    We arrived Friday night around 7 pm and did a couple of activities and also enjoyed talking with the other couples there. Saturday, the hosting couples gave an intro to each activity/discussion and then you have time to reflect on your own (there is a workbook) and time to discuss with your fiance. Literally, every topic you can think of is covered, and you go over everything with your fiance as a couple so you can be completely honest and open with each other. The weekend ends Sunday around 1pm. They served excellent home-cooked meals and there were plenty of snacks, coffee, tea, etc during breaks. 

    My fiance and I came away from the weekend with even more love for each other than when we arrived. We already felt very close before the weekend, and we feel that the encounter bonded us even further. We still talk about it and cannot wait to attend the Marriage Encounter after we are married!!

    Seriously, do not even think about it and just attend the Engaged Encounter!! I strongly recommend it to all engaged couples, even if they are not Catholic. Every engaged couple will benefit from the weekend. Bring your friends! It is so SO worth it. 

    The next one is Oct.18-20 at the seminary in Huntington. You can sign up by emailing the coordinators, Lenny and Pat, directly at: [email protected]

    ...are you a Catholic Engaged Encounter vendor?
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    Previously Alaynajuliana


  • I agree with Engaged Encounter... it was the best experience my Fiance and I could have had... Ps there aren't engaged encounter vendors its through the church and diocese you chose to go on the weekend with the people that run it are volunteers 
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  • We loved our EE. We had talked about pretty much all of the topics but it definitely provided a nice space for us to just really focus on each other and validate that we are same page. 
    There were a few couples who seemed like they had a hard time but I think talking about all these things before getting married is the best thing for everyone. 

    Our's barely mentioned NFP. They did have like a 30 minute session on it and handed out pamphlets on who to contact to take the classes but they were not pushy or harping on it. I think the facilitators can make all the difference though, and ours were very approachable and open minded. 
  • We did a six week online course since our diocese does not offer anything else. All it said was nfp, sex, nfp, here read some bible excerpts. $200 for something we learned in Catholic school a decade ago, instead of adding in valuable teaching about conflict resolution, finances, etc., that SHOULD be important in every premarital course!
    image

    Previously Alaynajuliana


  • FI and I attended a pre-Cana workshop in March.  It was packed, great energy, good discussion, and we got so much out of it.  We were better prepared than we had expected - most of the topics brought up we'd already discussed in depth - but we did find some areas that needed more attention.  The following Wed, we met with my priest to take the FOCCUS inventory and start marriage prep with him.  Everything in our marriage prep has been wonderful so far and has really brought us closer together.  Most of the things the FOCCUS inventory brought up were things like family of origin, educational goals, and cultural differences that could potentially be obstacles - again, things we've already taken into account and have discussed.  We've grown so much through this process and look forward to the rest of our engagement as a time to grow together as a couple and in the faith. 

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  • What is really sad is the annulment process through the church asks the questions, takes the longest, and requires the most meetings with the church then the marriage classes.maybe if more focus was put into those marriage classes the annulment process wouldn't be so sought after i am currently in the final part of getting mine annulled...
    photokittyholyguacamole79
  • monkeysip said:
    I was disappointed because ours was just informal talks with our priest where we would discuss bible passages and he would spend 90% of the time talking about unrelated stuff. We did do the FOCCUS and talk about it, but that was it. I also disagree with Calypso. In the current time, religious people are not much less likely to give a wrong answer than laity. You just need better theologically trained people, period.

    to above pp:

    One finds that if a marriage is good, sex is only about 10% of the reason.  When it's bad, it's about 90%.

    Take it from there

  • What is really sad is the annulment process through the church asks the questions, takes the longest, and requires the most meetings with the church then the marriage classes.maybe if more focus was put into those marriage classes the annulment process wouldn't be so sought after i am currently in the final part of getting mine annulled...


    Yup.
  • That is such a disappointment! FI and I were actually really looking forward to this part of the planning because we thought it would be beneficial to our relationship. We are not overly religious people, so we wanted to have a chance to really reconnect with our faith.

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