Demystifying Precana

We didn’t know what to expect, but when we arrived at the church for our 9-5 pre-marital counseling bonanza, our palms were clammy and our hearts were racing.   However as soon as the facilitator started talking I knew this was going to be a piece of cake and may even be pleasant.  Mike introduced himself, explaining that he’d been married for over 30 years, and urged us to be extremely honest with one another throughout the day, or else it would seem like a waste of time.

The pre-cana was geared towards couples aged 30 and up.  At first, I thought this was a little discriminating, but after the day I realized that it was extremely beneficial.  Although much of the day was composed of one-on-one discussion (bride and groom) there were various sessions where the class got to interact.  It helped having others like us chime in when discussion revolved around finances and careers, since many of us were  coming into the marriage with our own nest eggs, properties, kids, careers, etc.  There were a few difficult tasks which involved us telling one another what we did NOT like about each other in terms of communication and intimacy which is never easy to hear, but enlightening.  Before break, we were asking to write an honest letter to one another about marrying each other, which to this day, still brings a tear to my eyes…and I can’t imagine marrying him without having read that letter.   What surprised me was how open and encouraging the facilitator was – he repeatedly stressed how important it was to have a healthy (ahem) amorous life and shrugged off co-habitation at this point in our lives.  From all the blog posts I’ve read, I was braced for some serious damnation but in actuality, it felt more like support.  Of the 32 couples, 8 were inter-faith (including us), 5 couples had children, and half co-habitated yet for the most part everyone said they enjoyed the day.  On the way home my fiance expressed how much he (surprisingly) enjoyed the day.   I of course said it’s because we were talking about US all day, so how could that not have been amazing! :)

I know pre-cana is specifically Catholic, but from what I’ve heard, many Christian religions have similar pre-marital counseling that is also mandatory.  Mandatory or not, I would have done it regardless.   I wish we had done it years ago when we were dating!

Did you do any type of pre-marital counseling?  What are some other organizations that provide pre-marital counseling sessions?