J and I are getting married in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church requires some form of marriage preparation before you can get married. We chose to go on an Engaged Encounter weekend.
Let’s be honest here. I was DREADING this. Absolutely dreading it. J is the sweetest man ever, but he’s more of a “doer” than a “sayer”. He’ll do sweet things for me all day long, but when it comes to whispering sweet nothing in my ear, he’d probably tell me that my ear smelled nice… or something goofy like that. Poor J was dreading this weekend even more than I was.
First things first. It was FIVE hours away. They offered weekends in Birmingham but none that worked with J’s crazy traveling schedule. But even WITH gas money, the EE in Mobile was $100 cheaper than the one in Bham. That helped convincing J that the long drive was worth it.
And it REALLY WAS worth it. It was such an amazing weekend. We listened to talks given by couples that had been married for 50 + years and one that had been married for almost 30 years discuss the trials and joys in their own marriages. The ups and downs and how they dealt with them. It was inspiring to hear stories of couples who have had a lifelong, successful and happy marriage. Who remained committed to each other despite human weaknesses.
After the talks we split up and wrote love letters to our fiancés, based on several different questions. J’s not much of a “sayer” but he’s a darn good writer!! After we wrote our letters we got back together to read and discuss them. I LOVED reading what J wrote to me. I KNOW J thinks I’m terrific, but to have a love letter that says so means so much to me! We were able to discuss some minor issues we have, our hopes for the future, how to resolve conflict and how to make decisions. The whole weekend was so edifying and fruitful. I feel like J and I really connected and grew as a couple. If you would have asked me prior to the weekend if I thought J and I would get a divorce I would have said “I hope not”, but after this weekend I’d say “DEFINITELY NOT!”
I highly recommend making an Engaged Encounter weekend or doing some other form of marriage preparation. The statistics they told us about on the weekend were that 1 out of every 2 marriages ends in divorce, but only 1 out of every 500 marriages of couples who attend an Engaged Encounter end in divorce! I like those odds!