As I mentioned, this weekend Scott and I attended about 16 hours of marriage preparation.
I won't lie - it WAS informative and interesting.
Allow me to explain.
First, the good. The class covered 4 topics - the background and history of marriage, marriage as a sacrament, the unitive ends of marriage, and the procreative ends of marriage. All four were fairly self explanatory topics, and we received both literature and an expert opinion and advice on the subject.
The background and history of marriage/marriage as a sacrament were both led by our Priest, while the unitive and procreative sections were led by two separate sets of married couples. I really liked this - the sections on practical marriage advice and information were provided by couples that actually experienced these things.
A lot of material was covered (150 pages of literature!), but in the end, I found it interesting. Marriage is a big effing deal, and you know what? I'm glad Scott and I are taking it seriously. While we've been together a long time, there ARE topics regarding our future together that we haven't thought to discuss (how much money can he spend without consulting me, or will he be ok with me going on vacation with my girlfriends where he isn't invited?), and the class provided a nice prompt for those kinds of conversations.
The other major thing that I liked was the conversation on the "love languages" and how everyone speaks in different ways - touch, words of affirmation, gifts, etc. One of the keys to compatibility is learning which language your partner speaks and utilizing that. (For instance, if Scott likes words of affirmation, it would be a benefit to our relationship if I began saying things in words, rather than trying to show my love via gifts or hugs or whatever). That rang very true for me, because both Scott and I are in very specific categories (we are both "words of affirmation" people).
There were a lot of topics that I had an issue with. The Catholic Church believes that it is "wifely" for a woman to be a "subordinate" to her husband. Our priest said that we should want to be "subordinate" to our husbands mission in life, but that it's ok because his primary mission in life should be to love us. That is a hard pill for me to swallow, because I don't want Scott to worship me, and I don't want to be anyone's subordinate.
A few other things rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't realize until this weekend that the Catholic Church believes that artificial insemination is a "mortal sin". (A baby would be created NOT out of their parents physical love). The woman (the "wife") explaining this to us said that it was a "tramp"-y way to conceive a baby. Really? Tramp-y? Medical, perhaps, but not tramp-y.
Another issue I had was that I learned today that the Catholic wedding vows (or, more accurately, the closing section to the marriage vows where the Priest speaks) includes the phrase "man and wife", literally categorizing the new wife as her husbands property.
I'll get off my soapbox now, because I don't want to get more riled up about this. Overall, I AM glad we're getting married in the church for a variety of reasons, but in part because of the Prep required.
Even if I think some of it is crap.