Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How to Survive Premarital Counseling... Part 2 of 3

Saturday morning came way to quickly and B and I were soon up and headed back to Roswell, Georgia for day two of premarital counseling. We had a quick breakfast at the Mission Center (hello, orange juice) and then they split us up into boys and girls for a morning talk.

In high school, we got divided all the time for split chapel, the time the staff took to talk to girls about being wives and not being so catty and to talk to boys about not having sex and being leaders. Pre-Cana (shocker!) is a little different. Sure, we girls got some info about being good wives, but instead of teaching us how to relate to each other, we learned about relating to our husbands. Some of it sounded kinda of 1950s ("He's had a long day, he doesn't need to hear your problems when he gets home"), but at the same time I understood the underlying message: You're a team, support each other as such.

I heard once that people don't treat their spouses as well as their coworkers. At work, they're hesitant to dump extra work or be short with the guy in the next cubicle, but at home, we'll shout out orders or snap about undone chores. And that's to the person we love, not the one we have to share a microwave with. The lady leading the girls' seminar had a similar concept--Don't treat your girlfriends better than you do your husband. "When a girlfriend calls, even if I'm rushing out the door, I'll take time for her and listen," she said. "When my husband calls, sometimes I'll give him the 'I-don't-have-time-to-talk-Can't-we-talk-later-Ok-Bye' routine. And that's not ok." Don't treat your girlfriends worse, just make sure you give your spouse the same respect and attention that you give others in the world. Common courtesy. That kind of thing.

She also talked about not tearing each other down, even in jest. "He can't fix a tire to save his life." "Sure she can cook, if charcoal counts as a food group." You're a team, she told us. Don't pick each other apart to others in jest, even if you're both laughing. This time, it was about respect.

I'm not sure what all they told B in his "How to Really Love Your Wife" session, so I may have to ask him this weekend (or he can post anonymously, hint hint), but I do know he looked a little struck by the, um, specificity in which they dictated that, er, marital relations should happen. That's right, a sex talk. Bless his heart.

We heard lots of interesting stuff that day, from a psychologist talking about how men and women interpret things differently to a gynecologist talking about the medical benefits of Natural Family Planning. I'm not going to lie, B was getting score updates (Alabama and Georgia Tech games) during that 90 minutes and I couldn't have been happier. He's of the mindset of "I don't need to know," and, you know what? I'm of the mindset of "I don't want to talk about it." He never had sisters or female cousins in the same age bracket. Some things are just better left alone.

That's what we thought, though the couple that gave us the "real life" info on NFP seemed to feel differently. They guy was all into talking about, keeping up with, and (lucky us) sharing the details of his wife's cycles and their journey toward fertility. TMI, if you ask us.

The lady told us that taking birth control was like saying, "I love all of you except your fertility." B looked at me and said, "I love all of you including your fertility, but can't we put that on hold for just a little while?" Deal. Yea, teamwork!

The last session of the day was about Principle-Centered Finance, basically living debt free, within your means, and with a gift back to God. Check. Good to hear, nice to reaffirm we were on the same page, even if the priest leading the session seemed a little off and very determined to instill the difference between a charge card and a credit card which is, at best, theoretical, though we did see his point.

We headed home at 6 to catch the last few minutes of the Alabama game and the overtime victory before heading out to dinner with B's parents at Paul's. After, we met up with his high school buddies at a local dive bar where we were peppered with questions about NFP and our adventures at Pre-Cana.

B and I have laughed at the weekend, and at some of the sessions in particular, but you know what? It did bring us closer, if only because we spent a weekend totally together focused not on ourselves and our wants or even on our wedding day, but on our upcoming marriage. I can't wait.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, A, I believe most of the commentary was about avoiding arguments by listening. And there was some uncomfortable stuff about the meaning of sex and possible methods of preverting it. And after that, I believe the talk moved on to living in a small house and making sure that all of your space was also open to your wife (i.e. refrain from making a mancave and hanging a sign on the door that says "no girls allowed"). However, I spent most of the time appreciating the padded chairs that were, roughly, about 300x more comforable than the chairs in the main room.