Mrp and I were both raised Catholic and mrp's uncle is a priest who has married mrp's parents and his sister. Neither mrp nor I is religious, but we felt that the traditions of the church in which were raised and the traditions of his family were important to us. We decided to take a leap and get married in the Catholic Church.
I was surprised at how easy it has been so far. I was worried that someone would be watching us on Sunday mornings to see where we were at 10:00 or following us home from work to ensure we weren't living in sin! It really hasn't been nearly as bad as I feared.
In fact one of the "hoops" we had to jump through was actually a good experience! Our diocese (regional church) requires us to go to a pre-marital class called Pre-Cana. We had several choices. We decided against the basic marriage-is-more-than-the-wedding class for a class on learning how to communicate and solve problems together. This might also be thought of a class on how to fight.
It was actually really interesting. One of the tips they gave us that we found particularly useful was the idea of the floor. They gave us a little card that is called "the floor." When one spouse has the card the other must listen and when the person with the floor is done talking, the person without the card must paraphrase what the other said. The person with the floor, on the other hand, must keep it brief to enable the other to listen and paraphrase and must talk about him or herself (I feel, I think, I want, etc.) rather than talking about the other person (You always, you think, you do, etc.) We tried it while discussing how to handle my cats who mrp hates and I love. It was fun to discuss mrp's feelings about furballs and my feelings about my cats. Even in the 5 minutes that we did this in class we actually learned quite a bit about how each other thinks that we didn't fully appreciate before. Listening is apparently something good to do. Who knew? Heh.
Another thing that the course did for us was to reinforce things we already have talked about or do. One of those things is to determine what your values are as a couple. One thing mrp and I did over the winter was to write our core values. We both work for a Fortune 500 company and one of the things that keeps the company on track is its core values. I'm also a lawyer and understand the importance of a constitution. We decided that, like core values for a company or a constitution for a state, we needed something to focus on when times are tough and we are having problems making a decision or solving a problem. I think they are so helpful that I will dedicate an entire post just to them.
Anyway, later in the afternoon another man came into give a talk on "the sacrament of marriage." In Catholicism, a sacrament is evidence of God's presence. The speaker spoke about the role of God in our marriages. Again, we aren't religious so this part was not on our wavelength to begin with. But, it really went astray. He was talking about the importance of praying together. He gave examples of what he and his wife do. He said, sometimes they just hold hands and meditate. Sometimes they pray the rosary together. He then said, sex can be praying together. He said, "I like to pray a lot." TMI, dude. TMI.
All in all, I'd say we were pleasantly surprised by a wonderful day.