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Review of Pre-Cana...Long


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#1 Nrvsbride

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    Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:33 PM

    So last weekend James and I went to pre-cana. (Here in NY) Normally its a 6 week program in which you have to go once a week but since I work crazy hours we were able to do a weekend session. This weekend class is different from those weekend retreats where you go somewhere for the whole weekend.

    My class was friday from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM and then saturday from 9:00 AM to 5 PM. It took place inside a church. I had heard different things from different people and I was nervous b/c James doesn't really care for organized religion so I knew I was in for a long weekend.

    I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Friday night's session was a mass. It was basically a shorter variation of what a wedding mass would be like. They did the readings about Adam being lonely and God creating woman for him. They also did the letter from Paul to the Corinthians (you know that famous saying "Love is blind, love is not jealous, etc) That night's session wasn't bad at all and we finished pretty quickly.

    The next day was a series of sections and exercises. They discussed a vast array of topics such as parenting, contraceptives, sex, fights, etc. Basically this couple taught the session (a deacon and his wife) and after each mini lecture they give you this workbook full of exercises. They make the girls sit on one side and the guys sit on another side and do the exercises individually. At the end of the session you meet up with your FI and discuss your answers.

    I must say I think the exercises were good and if nothing else it forces you to examine things you may not normally talk about.

    At one point we had to write a love letter to each other and then we got to read them at the end of the class. (privately, not aloud or anything like that) It sounds cheesy but everyone was crying and it was super sweet. There was also this really nice exercise where you hold the guy's hands in your own and the lecturer reads this beautiful thing about how these are the hands that will hold you when your sad, wipe away your tears, touch your belly when you carry your first child, help you bury your parents, etc. Then the guy has to hold your hands and they read something regarding a wife's hands. It was super sweet and I didn't see a dry eye in the room.

    Some things I found interesting:

    1. I think the church has progressed b/c one of the first things they told us was that if you are in a physically abusive relationship you should get out of it and not put up with it. This surprised me since I assumed the church always told you to try to work things out and never get a divorce no matter what.

    2. I found out the reason they don't like you taking birth control and other contraceptives. I also thought it was for another reason. Basically they said that contraceptive companies tell you that they are preventing the sperm from joining with the egg, when in actuality the sperm does join with the egg and all the contraceptive does is prevent you from getting implantation. I found that interesting for some reason.

    3. James and I had always discussed the number of children we wanted, how many years apart, etc, but we never discussed things like what we would do if one of our children was born with severe disabilities or handicaps. We also never discussed elder care and what we plan to do with a sick parent who cannot care for themselves.

    All in all I had a positive experience with pre-cana and believe it or not James liked it. I felt that it brought us closer together and helped us come up with solutions to some of our problems (read: his out of control finances). I only went to it last weekend but this whole week I have seen a change in both of us that has been for the positive. I'm really glad that I did this.

    So anyways, sorry it was so long but I wanted to post in case anyone wanted to know anything. Feel free to ask any questions.

    #2 A10CalGal

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      Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:38 PM

      That is great Glenda! I'm really glad you have the opportunity to do this.

      #3 Alyssa

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        Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:40 PM

        Glenda - that sounds like such a great experience!! I don't want to sound completely ignorant but do you have to do Pre-Cana in order to get married in a Catholic Church? Was that the original reason?

        FMIL is a marriage counselor and FI is really open to counseling so we went to Pre-Marital Counseling for about 6 months before we even got engaged - it was great - it totally changed our relationship and made it stronger. It is SO healthy to discuss the uncomfortable things that are easier to avoid. I am so happy for you guys! xoxox

        #4 Nrvsbride

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          Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:43 PM

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by Alyssa
          Glenda - that sounds like such a great experience!! I don't want to sound completely ignorant but do you have to do Pre-Cana in order to get married in a Catholic Church? Was that the original reason?

          FMIL is a marriage counselor and FI is really open to counseling so we went to Pre-Marital Counseling for about 6 months before we even got engaged - it was great - it totally changed our relationship and made it stronger. It is SO healthy to discuss the uncomfortable things that are easier to avoid. I am so happy for you guys! xoxox
          You do not sound ignorant at all. But yes you have to be getting married in the Catholic Church to do pre-cana. Its like pre-marital counseling but the whole theme is centered on the fact that as long as you have God in your marriage, your marriage will be that much stronger. (Allegedly)

          #5 ~Melissa~

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          Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:50 PM

          Sounds like a real positive experience G! That's interesting about the reasoning behind birth control as I did not know that as well. Kind of makes me want to do some research behind it all.

          I'm a catholic although I haven't been to mass down here in the south, believe it or not but there are not as many Catholic churches down here as there are other churches for different religions. I was scared of pre-cana for some reason and thought of it as a negative experience. I assumed and I was wrong. Thanks for providing some insight G!

          #6 Nrvsbride

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            Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:53 PM

            Melissa I also thought it was going to be a bad experience. I can't say it would be a positive experience for everyone, I can only speak for James and myself. I think like anything else its what you make of it. If you take it seriously and you are open to it, you will benefit. If you are annoyed at having to do it, then your not going to benefit as much from it.

            #7 ErinB

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              Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:58 PM

              Thanks for the input! I'm trying to get FI to go but he is very against organized religion and we've had a hard time finding something non-denominational. Maybe this can help

              #8 Maura

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              Posted 23 April 2008 - 06:02 PM

              Glenda, we did Pre-Cana back in March and had a similar experience to yours. We enjoyed it, even some of the cheesy parts. We thought we would hate it, but it got us talking about some stuff we hadn't necessarily talked much about before. The thing is that the deacon running ours was flying solo that day without his wife because of a family emergency, so we felt parts of the discussion were a bit lacking because the wife was missing. However, ours was only on a Saturday from 9:30 until (supposedly) 5 but they let us out at 3:30. We loved the love letter writing part and I thought my FI would blow it off and write something dumb and he totally wrote some very serious stuff and had me in tears. I have saved it and tucked it away with other mementos and cards and love letters he has written to me, and the one he wrote there is among the most special he has given me.

              Regarding #2 about contraception... they didn't discuss this at a lot of length at our session because we had to go to special pre-cana (for people living in sin haha and for older people getting married for the first time, or remarriages for people who had their first spouse pass away from cancer or another disease). Many of the people at ours already had kids, some were already married and going back to do their pre-cana, and some were in their 50s getting married after their spouse died. We were sort of glad the deacon glazed over this section because we feel how you choose to family plan is a very personal and private decision only for the couple to make, and it should not be the church's position to dictate what you should do. I personally have a non-hormonal IUD and the reason why is that I am not ready for children. When we knew we were going to get married we stopped using condoms (sorry if TMI).

              My issue was that after getting the IUD, I felt like my cramping and bleeding was much more than normal and I clotted a lot. I gave a call to my obgyn and she explained to me how birth control pills/IUDs work... what they told you at pre-cana is only partially correct. What my doctor told me was that the pill basically prevents ovulation, or the ability to release an egg. This is not always the case, sometimes you still ovulate and release an egg anyway. The other thing a pill does is to thicken the lining of the uterus so that it's difficult for a fertilized egg to implant. And third, it changes the dynamic of your cervical mucous, further making it tougher for fertilization to occur/survive if it happens. I sort of struggle morally every month with my period thinking what if the bleeding I am having is really a fertilized egg that can't implant, and I get a little sad about it because I guess I will never really know.

              So anyway, sorry to kind of take a tangent there about the contraception issue... I can see why the church doesn't like people to use contraception. It's great that the church you go to is so progressive and willing to explain that kind of stuff.

              #9 Nrvsbride

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                Posted 23 April 2008 - 06:08 PM

                Maura that kind of sucks that his wife wasn't there. Our deacon had his wife there and they were actually funny and did skits that were so true to every couple. Mostly about arguments and how to fight fair.

                Btw this isn't a comment to your post, I just wanted to add that I have no personal view on the church's beliefs against contraceptive. I agree with you that it is a personal choice but I don't have an opinion leaning in either direction. I also should have prefaced and mentioned that I'm not saying what the church said is true, I just thought their explanation was interesting b/c I always thought the reasoning against it was that they viewed it as abortion which I never understood. But now I can at least understand their rationale. Again not saying I agree or disagree with it, I just thought it was interesting.

                Okay now I'm just rambling. LOL.

                #10 Maura

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                Posted 23 April 2008 - 06:28 PM

                Quote:
                Originally Posted by Nrvsbride
                Maura that kind of sucks that his wife wasn't there. Our deacon had his wife there and they were actually funny and did skits that were so true to every couple. Mostly about arguments and how to fight fair.

                Btw this isn't a comment to your post, I just wanted to add that I have no personal view on the church's beliefs against contraceptive. I agree with you that it is a personal choice but I don't have an opinion leaning in either direction. I also should have prefaced and mentioned that I'm not saying what the church said is true, I just thought their explanation was interesting b/c I always thought the reasoning against it was that they viewed it as abortion which I never understood. But now I can at least understand their rationale. Again not saying I agree or disagree with it, I just thought it was interesting.

                Okay now I'm just rambling. LOL.

                yeah we did comment to the priest who did all our marriage preparations that we were disappointed that the wife was not there at pre-cana. we had heard from others that the husband-wife team was really beneficial, so we felt like we kind of got a bum deal.

                my personal feelings about the church being against contraceptives is that i understand where they are coming from, and i am not knocking their explanation, but i just think that realistically it just does not work for me. i dont think that makes me a bad catholic or a cafeteria catholic where i pick and choose what i do and dont like about the religion and follow only the things i do agree with. i am not very religious, i do not attend church every sunday, but i was raised catholic and it was important for me and my FI to get our marriage blessed by the church -- it was also important to our families who are also catholic. i do think its great your church is progressive and explained the reason why the church is against contraception -- my church has never given that explanation, so i admire your church for doing that. my church is kind of fuddy-duddy in their thinking but FI likes that church. If I go to mass on my own, I choose a different church for my worship where I am more comfortable and feel the congregation is more progressive. I, like you, always thought they viewed contraception as abortion too. the doctors explanation to me made things make a lot more sense in regards to how the church teaches family planning. not saying i agree or disagree with it, just that their way doesnt really work for me, KWIM?




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