Engaged Encounter

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

While I’m sure that most readers of this blog are aware that I am getting married in October, many may be surprised to learn that we (that is, my fiancée and I) will be having a Catholic ceremony.

As such, there are a number of hoops that the church forces you to jump through before you can get married (if you want the receive the sacrament of marriage, which Morah does). One of those hoops is the Engaged Encounter, and this past weekend, Morah and I went on ours.

What we expected was two days of hippie-esque, massage-circle, trust-fall, talk-about-your-feelings, make-macaroni-art-and-share-it-with-the-group type activities that involved a disgustingly cute married couple and a half a dozen other hard core-religious engaged couples. What it turned out to be was two days of listen-to-boring-talks and write-about-your-feelings-until-your-hand-cramps type activities with two kind-of-cute married couples and over a dozen other religious-but-not-in-a-why-aren’t-YOU-Catholic-way couples.

All in all, it seemed kind of pointless for Morah and I to be there, as the majority of the activities were things like, “Think about where you want to live, how many kids you want, should your spouse stay at home and raise the kids” et cetera, then write down your feelings and talk to each other about it. I think it primarily designed to facilitate communication between the couples and get them thinking about issues that they may not have previously thought about.

Trouble is, Morah and I have fantastic and very-open lines of communication between us, and we had already talked about everything they told us to talk about. So it was kind of boring.

To make things more interesting, I tried to get creative with the stuff I was writing. I tried to do something a little different for each one, so I ended up with (among other things) a short story, a third-person narrative, a poem, a love letter, a comic strip, and a Mad Lib. I figured that if I had to do something as acerebral as tell Morah how I feel, even when I know she already knows, I should at least make it a little more challenging for myself by getting creative.

On the last day, just before we left, they had us ask for forgiveness from our partner (if we needed to). They billed it as a “last chance” to get things off your chest before the weekend was officially over. Morah and I agreed that we had nothing for which we needed to be forgiven, so we went to get some water. While we were waiting around, we overheard another couple who were having a really serious discussion. She seemed quite cross with him and he seemed rather indignant. She was saying something about him and his friends and how he needed to respect her more. Morah and I looked at each other and decided to give them privacy. I hope it all worked out for them!

All in all, we had a lot of freedom. That freedom combined with the fact that we live a three minute drive away from the camp meant that Morah and I could have gone home at night, had we really wanted to.

It wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. I’m glad it’s over and done with, though. Now we can get everything sorted with the Spokane Diocese and get the paperwork going in Honolulu.

It was nice to be able to spend the weekend with Morah without the stress of the outside world. The retreat grounds were nice and we walked around a bit on Saturday afternoon.

I would say that, besides spending time with Morah, the best part of the weekend was the snack table. -)

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  1. Yep, that sounds about what it was like for Mike and I. Although the other couples at ours were more or less like us. You know the “I want to do this now so if I am super relligious later I have it done and out of the way.” Most of the couple where what you called mixed faith marriages, basically meaning one is Catholic and the other is not (it wan’t important if they were anything). Both of us were bored as well, but some of the couples at our encounter really needed to talk about things that should have been talking about way before they got to that step. I think that’s why they make everyone do it, just in case (though at different diocease you can do differnt things, like have small short classes with the priest, Encounter is supposed to be an intense power session that can be done quickly, which I sort have a problem with) you haven’t talked about all the stuff your supposed before you even think about getting engaged. Since divorce is looked down upon by the Church they want to make extra sure that you know what you’re getting into, and sadly a lot of couples just don’t know what they’re doing and are rushing into a huge commitment. I think I drew a picture of a tree and squirrel in my book. I don’t remember and I’m pretty sure we tossed them. Well now there really isn’t that much more that needs to be done before you get married as far as church things go. Oh and I agree the snack table is almost always the best part of a Catholic retreat.

  2. Yeah, to be fair, it wasn’t required, per se, but if we hadn’t gone to the EE, we would have had to spend a number of hours with our priest and neither him, Morah, or I really wanted to do that.

    Morah and I were wondering how many couples reach this stage without actually talking about some of these major issues.

    It did seem like there were a fair number of mixed faith couples at our encounter, since only about two-thirds of the people went up to take communion during the mass. Even then, some of those people may have just been blessed (I wasn’t really paying attention).

  3. Yeah, I agree. Pretty boring and stupid. Most of the time, when we were listening to the couples talking about their “problems” (spend a week in my shoes, and then bitch about him playing volleyball once a week and then buying a boat) I just wanted them to stop so I could go off by myself and rest for a few minutes. The only thing I liked was the candlelight mass that we had the second night (did you guys have that?). Our priest explained the history behind the mass, and what each component of the mass symbolizes. That was pretty interesting. Other than that, yeah, the food was good. If only they had alcohol there… (other than the wine for mass, which I wasn’t allowed to drink)

  4. My boyfriend and I aren’t officially engaged yet, but we already know we’ll be having a Catholic wedding (he’s one of those, I don’t really believe in the stuff but still practice the rituals Catholics). I’d be interested to know what other “hoops” you’ve had to jump through. Also, are you going to make people kneel at your wedding? Email me.

  5. I totally missed this entry of yours! I had no idea you were doing the Catholic wedding. I’ve only been to one, and it was 3 and a half hours long – slightly painful. Good luck with yours! Sounds like the EE was a little unnecessary, but at least you two made the most of it!

  6. Three and a half hours! What the hell were the doing that whole time?

  7. Full mass then wedding. Bleh.

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