on saturday shawn & i were all set up to complete our pre-cana class. it was going to be a long day (8-5) but i was kinda of looking forward to it. shawn, on the other hand, not so much! so, we set the alarm, got up early and we were out the door by 7:55, thank goodness we were only going right down the street. there were about 32 other couples there from the philadelphia area. i was kind of impressed that there were that many, but it makes sense because there were so many churches that came together for this one pre-cana class. upon arrival we received a folder filled with packets and worksheets and an agenda for the day. there were several volunteer couples that were going to orchestrate each segment of the day. some couples were older and had been married for years, some were younger with children, and some were married for a few years with no children.
some of the topics of the day: communication, expectations & adjustments, family traditions/family planning, conflict management, finances, marriage & the church, intimacy, and parenting. at the end of the day, we were invited to attend mass and at the conclusion, we would receive our certificate.
so, i honestly thought that there would be some portion of the day that would be boring. i was expecting to be day dreaming during at least one of the segments, but i'm so happy to say that i was not bored for even one second of the day. i am catholic, shawn is not. (hence his true excitement to be there for the day;) ) i have to say that i was so surprised when, during the introduction, the man said, "We know that some of you have been married before, some of you may have children, most of you are probably living together..." this immediate put me at ease. shawn & i have been living together for about 2 1/2 years. i thought for sure we would be reprimanded in some way for this. "living in sin is the new thing" right britney? haha...
anyway! back to the topics being discussed! a lot of the segments included surveys regarding the topic in which you were each asked to rate if you agreed or disagreed & then discuss your answers with your partner. i was so happy and impressed to see that shawn and i were on the same page with a lot of the items. and this happened for each segment. now, obviously, we have been together for a really long time and have discussed many of this ideas, but there were certainly things that we have not needed to discuss yet at this point in our relationship..such as family planning and some financial issues.
i think we both agreed (to my pleasant surprise) that our favorite presenter was the priest's segment on marriage & the church. i have been going to church by myself since we got engaged. shawn would come with me at first, but then he started to value sleeping in more than church ;).. so, the fact that this was most interesting to him really meant something to me. some of the things that Father mentioned i found so interesting. he said that it is no coincidence that you are sitting next to and preparing to marry the person you are engaged to. God has put that person in your life for a reason, and the reason is that your partner is your key to heaven, and you are your partner's key to heaven. when you die, and you get to heaven's gate, there is a big lock and the only way you can open that lock is if you have done your job of getting your partner into heaven. he said your partner is your life project. i had never heard this before and absolutely loved it!
another favorite topic of mine was intimacy. there was a stress on intimacy being more than just having good sex. the couple shared this story of their most intimate moment together: after a few years of being married they decided they were ready to start a family. they got pregnant with their first, no problem. they got pregnant a second time and miscarried. got pregnant again and miscarried. got pregnant a fourth time, and at 6 months they went to have their ultrasound done and the woman said, "i have the worst feeling you are going to tell me you can't find the heartbeat." and they were not able to find the heartbeat. that was a friday and they would have to come back monday to deliver the baby. they spent all weekend trying to prepare for monday and tell their 3 year old what was going to happen. on monday, they went to the hospital and delivered what would have been their son. she said the doctors and nurses were so gentle and delicate, and took such great care of their son. when he was all cleaned up, the nurse asked them if they would like to hold their son. the woman turned to her husband and said that she did not want to hold him, she could not handle it. but if he wanted to, then he could. and the husband did want to hold him, so he did. the woman said watching her husband hold their lifeless little boy was the hardest thing she had ever done, but he gave her the strength and courage to hold him. and she said if she wouldn't have held him, she would have regretted it every day of her life. every girl was in the room was in tears at this point. i think this story really shows the bond that a couple can share, and this bond is evidence of true love and what a healthy, genuine relationship is. this was so touching!
those are just a few of the highlights of our pre-cana experience. shawn and i both took away so much from the day, and honestly walked out of there feeling so much closer than ever before. i am glad to see that the catholic church is changing their ways to invite people back into the religion. they certainly seem to have a more realistic view of things, which can only be a good thing.
and our certificate!!
one step closer!