Top Image

Top Image

Marriage Preparation

Posted on: Thursday, 24 March 2011

We went on a marriage preparation course last weekend.

As we're getting wed in a Catholic church (I keep saying 'Catholic' like Ali G when he talks about going to Belfast to "sort out the problems between da Cafolicks and da Muslims." I REALLY need to stop that), we had to do it. I don't mind that at all. I think it's a good idea.

Want to get wed in our church? Well, you need to listen to what we teach about marriage, then.

Fair play.

Washington is a strange old place, mind. It's a biggish town, but you constantly end up banging into people you know. The course was led by my old A-level RE teacher, for example. That was a bit odd. "Hello, Mrs Witte, here is the man I love and I want to marry. Although I'm probably still seventeen in your head."

There were ten couples there, and I vaguely knew four of them - brothers and sisters of people I went to school with, or I was aware of from going to Lourdes. That was also a bit weird.

So we talked about priorities and sorted some pictures into priority order on our own - then we had to sort with our partner and 'compromise' until we had a version we were both happy with. Bedders and I were pretty good at that. The telly went straight to the bottom (it's been in the cellar since April). The picture of a house (even though it was a mock Tudor detached monstrosity) went to the top. Money was somewhere in the middle, along with a picture of a gurning baby and a picture of a bed (I honestly thought it symbolised relaxation. It was only during the feedback when one lad was laughing at his girlfriend for thinking it meant 'sleep' - "I work shifts! she declared. "It's very important!" - that I realised what it really stood for. Oops.

We discussed conflict and positive and negative ways of dealing with it. We played a 'Agree/Disagree/Strongly Agree/Strongly Disagree corner game where we had to stand according to our feelings on particular statements. Some of them were controversial. Like, where do you stand on these? Where do you REALLY stand? Think about them.

"Marriage is forever."

"My marriage is no one's business but my own."

"God has a place in our marriage."

And the most interesting, I felt:

"People who can't forgive shouldn't get married."

Controversial statement coming up. Ready? You sure?

OK. Here it goes.

I don't think you should forgive everthing.

Hang on, scratch that. I don't think it's even possible to forgive everthing.

To expand, I felt strongly it was unrealistic and naive to say that you would forgive someone anything. SHOULD you even entertain the idea of doing so? Don't get me wrong - I don't mean being bitter and twisted for the rest of your life. There's a difference between actively bearing a grudge about something, and not forgiving, isn't there? I think there is.

Is forgiving someone not giving them a carte blanche of sorts to act precisely as they like? Does it not open you to abuse? Is part of being truly sorry for something not connected to the idea that you've hurt someone and you can never take that back fully?

I think forgiveness is a beautiful concept. But I do think it's one of those things that you strive for and never quite achieve - although that doesn't, and shouldn't, stop the striving.

Or am I being a typical guilt-ridden Catholic?

I found the questions fascinating, actually. I found myself thinking about it afterwards.

We ended by completing a sheet called "You Are The Sunshine of My LIfe". It was a sweet little activity that encouraged you to write six or seven points about your partner. "Something practical they do that impresses you." "Something you really like about your partner's physical appearance." And so on. Then we sat in the church, listened to a short prayer and read each others.

And lots of loveliness ensued :) 

So what was the upshot? It was really useful, you know. I think I realised a few things. Like I probably think a bit too much about money - and even though that's inevitable with an expensive wedding around the corner, I probably should try to avoid it. I think when it comes to conflict, I dela with it in a very frustrating (for Bedders) way - i.e. refuse to talk about it. I should probably try to avoid it. 

It all feel very real now, y'know. Eek.


  1. Hmmm, interesting... I see what you're saying, but in my opinion you do have to be able to forgive to have healthy relationships. Otherwise things can eat away at you and undermine a relationship without you realising. I think if you're not at peace with whatever things someone has done, those things will keep coming back to bite you, keep upsetting you until they're resolved and you can truly move on. But I think you can say to someone "you did a terrible thing, it hurt me a lot, and if you ever do it again, I can't be with you", and keep meaning that, but still forgive them.

    I thought perhaps I was disagreeing because I was thinking of 'not forgiving' as closer to your definition of 'bearing a grudge' but I don't think so. I'm thinking of forgiveness as coming to terms with something yourself, thinking "they did that, and I can live with it". Does that make sense. Let's discuss further over a drink some time. :)

    The end bit sounds lovely. You should do that every six months or so, forever.


Thoughts/comments/craic? Go for your life, as my father would say.

Soz about the word verification. The spammers are driving me nuts.

Parliament Of Owls All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger