*First, a warning. This is LONG*
So Saturday morning Sean and I woke up early (like 6:30 early - we couldn't sleep) to go to our wedding prep class. We followed our directions, and even left early in case we got lost...and then realized that the church we were supposed to go to, Christ the King, is right across the street from our friend Ellie's house. Talk about small world. We were early, and yet we had no idea where to go. So we people watched. We got slightly nervous as all we saw were old couples, but then we started seeing younger couples. And followed them. :)
There were 22 couples. We were sat 2 to a table, and our lucky tablemates just happened to have graduated from kU. No joke. We didn't exactly make friends, needless to say. For a little demographic info for the class as a whole, I'll break it down and compare us. We were one of the youngest couples (if not THE youngest). We were one of the few couples that was still in school (of those who were going/have gone to school anyway). We were the longest dating couple. We had the wedding date the furthest away (the closest was August 8th). We were one of the few couples that had grown up in the Catholic school system (you could tell - trust me). Finally, we seemed to be the couple who knew the most about each other, which seemed a little strange to us.
When we got to the class, we were each given a book and pens. It's a workbook produced by the Archdiocese with 8 chapters - we covered 4 yesterday, and we'll cover 4 next class. Though we talked about (well, really we were just lectured on everything) the Sex section, we have to do the workbook part on our own by next week. Fun times!! Hahaha. The other chapters we covered this week were The Sacrament of Marriage, Family of Origin, and The Stages of Marriage. I'll explain each of these, though mostly in how it was taught. I found the entire class pretty interesting, and I really liked the imagery that was brought in. Yes, it's a very long, religious post, sorry, but it's very interesting nonetheless.
Section 1: The Sacrament of Marriage
With the sacrament section, which was by far the most "Catholic" section we had, we talked about how a marriage in the Church is different from a marriage outside of the Church. Basically, we were given 3 sections of imagery, each involving a play-doh couple - yellow and blue, fyi. When two people are living together and dating, it is like they're in a plastic bag. Each one can leave fairly easily and new people can join - the bag is easy to open and close, yet not permanent. With a marriage outside of the Church/God, it's like the couple is in plastic wrap tied shut with a knot. A judge is responsible for tying the knot, but he/she can just as easily untie the knot, and the couple can live their lives as if there never was a knot to begin with - there might be a few specks of the other colors on each other, but for the most part, our play-doh selves are still blue and yellow. With a religious marriage, it's like the play-doh got squished up together. Instead of having yellow and blue play-doh, you now only have green, and the colors can never be separated. The point is, that marriage isn't something you can go into and leave whenever you want. The Catholic Church is very against divorce (although it does recognize that sometimes it is necessary), and marriage is something that you have to be selfless about.
Section 2: Family of Origin
This section talked about our families - what the values of our current families are, and what we want to bring into our new family. Once we're married, we're not just husband and wife - we're our own family. We talked about time, and how much we'd spend with each set of in-laws, if we'd be willing to move for each other, if our parents would get keys to our house (mine: yes, his: no - we don't trust his parents), how we would set up parameters for our parents to let us go. We talked about how we'll spend holidays, what the most important things we'd like to incorporate into our family are, and even little things like which way the toilet paper should go. It was actually a really fun section. We talked about baggage, and how each person brings different things to a relationship - how our growing up affects us. For us, the issue is mostly about money and vacations - Sean's family spends freely, whereas my family is stingy. Sean's family goes on vacations and is a very close nuclear unit, whereas mine isn't (as much time as my family spends together, we really aren't "close"). This was also the area where the discussions of other couples shocked us - it was as if they had never spent a holiday with each others' families! Sean and I probably could have filled this section out for each other, and all around the room we heard comments such as "you really think that way?" and "Oh I didn't know that". Oh man.
Section 3: The Stages of Marriage
Okay, this section should have been renamed something like, "Eventually, you're going to get bored with marriage and realize it sucks. Realize it now, and learn to suck it up." Very, um, hopeful. We talked about how in marriage there's the stages of Romance, Disillusionment, and Renewal. We know that marriage isn't always going to be a bed of roses. Actually, maybe it is - thorns and all. But anyways, yes, at some point we're going to wake up and wonder what we're doing with our lives. And I'm okay with that. This section was basically about being able to find the little, everyday things romantic, but seeing as Sean and I have never really be "romantic," we think we're okay on this. This section REALLY made us feel like we were more mature than the rest of the group, because everywhere you looked there were these girls with big honking 1 1/2 carat solitaires talking about roses and boat rides and dinners and jewelry. The last time Sean and I went out on a date, we went to Burger King :) I mean, we know that we're not necessarily in the "romance" period anymore - the disillusionment usually happens at about 6-8 years into the relationship, so we're halfway there. We're not that sappy little couple that has to be touching each other constantly anymore. A text in the middle of the day makes me smile. Being long-distance has kind of altered how we work, but, frankly, I like it that way.
Section 4: Sex and Sexuality
Okay, so we haven't actually done the workbook part of this, but I can tell you a little bit about the talk. It was mostly about living with each other before marriage. The idea is that if you live together before marriage, what's the point of getting married? It's nothing special. You're going to wake up in the morning together, have a big party together, and then go home to your bed together. Sean and I do plan on living together before we're married. We do. We have no problems, no qualms, nothing. We'll only live together about 4 months before we get married though, not years. I have complete faith that it will be special, nonetheless, but only time will tell on this one.
Sorry I've bored you all to death on this one. I'll admit, I blog for my own benefit - I want to be able to remember all of this in a year. Our 5 hour session went by pretty quickly - we had movies, talk, workbooks, and snacks. It wasn't bad, although maybe that's because we were both raised in Catholic schools. We'll continue this saga in two weeks though!