On Tuesday night we had our first Pre-Cana class with 4 other couples who are getting married at our church this year. We me at a couple's home from the parish, who live just a few blocks away from us. This husband and wife team have been married over 50 years, have 6 children and 13 grandchildren!! They certainly know the meaning of marriage and have a lot of advice to give us as we enter our married lives.
It was...well...awkward. However, that's not to say that I didn't get a lot out of our first session. The Deacon from the church was conducting the meeting, and he's also been married for about 35 years. To start, he had us go around and introduce ourselves as a couple. After that, we went into another room to watch a 20 minute video about pre-cana. My absolute favorite line from the movie was when the Priest said:
"On your wedding day you should be able say 'I'll love you when you look as good and beautiful as you look today, and I'll still love you when you look like the back-end of a truck.'"Haha, I want to scoop that quote up, pet it, and keep in my pocket for the rest of my life. I love it.
The video showcased a newly engaged couple, a newly married couple, a couple married with 6 children, and a couple that's been married for 51 years...who were adorable. I actually got emotional because one of the women in our group, who looked to be a few years older than me, cried through the entire thing. But it was just so cute! I could tell she was trying so hard to hold it back and not let anyone know she was crying. She's getting married in March, so I think the reality of the class, the video, her marriage, was just becoming real and emotional for her. She really tugged at my heartstrings a lot.
Yes, the video talked about pre-marital relations. Yes, the video talked about natural family planning, God, and heaven. But at no point were we asked personal, attacking questions on these subjects. At no point were our personal morals questioned. And at no point, was I questioned for not being Catholic. We were there to talk about marriage, and about building strong, lasting relationships. They were there to tell us what spending the rest of our lives together really means, and that's really all I could have asked for.
However, the point of this exercise was that "love" can be described in a TON of different ways. But what is the difference between love as a feeling vs. love as a decision? Relationships start out with the feeling of love. But when you start to realize that your significant other is human...and flawed, we all need to make the decision to love this person despite and because of these flaws. And at some point, they make the same decision about you. It's also import to make this decision for the right reasons, and that you accept appropriate flaws in your significant other. I believe many people decide to stay in relationships out of convenience, or because they'll be embarrassed if the relationship doesn't work out. These are obviously the wrong reasons to stay together. Our homework this week, is to recognize a problem, fight, or issue with our partner; work it out; and make the decision to love.
They closed the night with this thought:
50 years from now, you'll look back on your wedding pictures and say "Wow, I had no idea what life had in store for me."How exciting and scary is that?!