Because it is the height of wedding season, I have been thinking a lot about the issues that arise at this time of year. Unfortunately, our culture puts so much emphasis on the ceremony and less attention toward the actual marriage.
As Catholics, we certainly take marriage preparation very seriously, part of which includes the Pre-Cana course. When I signed up years ago, I thought Church teachings would be a way to reset the focus more on the marriage and less on the ceremony.
During my Pre-Cana experience, countless couples sat in an auditorium for a series of lectures. I had a difficult time paying attention, and it seemed that others were having the same difficulty. While there were important lecturers: priests, marriage counselors, spiritual directors and parishioners who had successful marriages, Church teachings took up very little time. Instead, the topics covered the usual considerations for relationships: money management, task-sharing, work, housecleaning and parenting.
I realize these issues are important, but I desired a preparation that focused more on the Church’s teaching on the sacrament of marriage.
What I realized is that marriage preparation, much like the relationship search, is largely in our own hands.
Our time on CatholicMatch is about taking a big step towards finding our vocations and focusing on the marriage-minded members. This, in and of itself, is our own type of marriage preparation.
And as we all know, or have discovered, the search for a relationship won’t yield results all by itself. It takes initiative, a bit of moxie and a lot of patience and persistence. These are very important skills that are required in a relationship as well, and what better way to practice building them while on CatholicMatch?
If we’ve built up these skills through our search, and have found our future spouse, then we can surely apply them to our marriage preparation in our parish.
First, we could make our own choices in who we would want to help us. Your preparation could be customized to those who could help you: clergy or other members who have known you for years. These are people you could trust and look up to.
Ask your priest, first and foremost, who the active members are that would be willing to guide you. Look around during mass for people you think you might “click” with.
Keep in mind that most people, particularly Catholics, are more than happy to welcome a new parishioner, and to lead you to other church resources. There may be a much greater chance that you would find even more opportunities for finding guidance and mentorship.
I wrote before about Godcidental situations, and these should not be overlooked or lost in the frenzy of wedding preparation. This, once again, refocuses us on what is really important: God’s will for us, the support of a community, and forming life long connections with others. In light of this, the lapels of a suit, or the stitching on a gown, can take on a significantly different perspective.
My hope is that CatholicMatch members who are engaged would consider these points. And for the singles who are still on their journey, take heed and keep this issue in mind when your time comes.
But I’d also love to hear the suggestions, thoughts and feedback from CatholicMatch members of all situations as well. What would be some creative and resourceful ways of customizing your own Pre-Cana experience so that you make the most out of it? For our divorced and annulled members, what would you do differently this time?