Does Pre-Cana Work? Prince William & Kate to Find Out


Catholic ChurchIt's getting closer. The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is less than two months away. And as part of the preparation, the bride and groom are reported to be undergoing pre-marital counseling with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London.

Sounds intimidating to me. But the sessions sound very similar to the Catholic Church's required Pre-Cana classes over here on this side of the pond.

Pre-Cana is a course that you must complete before your wedding day in order to be married in the Catholic Church. The classes, taken privately or in a group of couples, range anywhere from an all-day weekend session to weekly classes held for six weeks or more. In the classes, couples discuss all sorts of marital topics ranging from coping with arguments, preparing for parenthood, and, of course, sex. And all within the realm of Catholicism.

Whew, that's a lot of ground to cover. I should know. I did it and was the only Jew in my group.

My Catholic first husband and I completed an all-day Pre-Cana class. Completing the course was the only way to get our marriage recognized by the church, which was important to him. And on top of that, we had to receive a special dispensation from the Diocese by swearing, literally, that we would raise all of our offspring as Catholics.

The course was interesting, though less applicable to me because of all of the "Jesus is our Savior" talk. But I don't think that I gained any insight into my relationship with my husband-to-be. If I had, maybe our marriage wouldn't have ended in divorce eight years and two kids later.

I'm happily re-married to yet another Catholic. (Sorry, Mom.) We didn't go through Pre-Cana because he is not a practicing Catholic and we're done having kids, but if we did, here are some of the questions we might have had to answer:

1. How many times a week do you expect to be sexually intimate?

2. What is the biggest change you may have to make in marriage?

3. Who is going to make the final money decisions?

4. What if I decide that I don't like sex? What would you do?

All good questions. All important topics. And the types of discussions that are supposed to follow could be enlightening if both people are open to being honest and non-judgemental. But realistically, you should have already been talking about all of these important topics as your relationship got more serious.

Did you participate in Pre-Cana? Was it helpful in preparing you for marriage?


Image via cliff1066/Flickr

marriage, sex, celebs


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meatb... meatball77

Mine was all talk about how birth control would ruin our marriage because it would take jesus out of our bed.

I was so proud of myself for keeping my mouth shut the entire time.

nonmember avatar Becky

We participated in pre-cana about 5 years ago. The first half involved taking a kind personality test, and then reviewing the results with a marriage counselor, specifically focusing on the big things that we didn't answer similarly. We discussed things like time spent with family, money/savings/bill paying, household duties, etc. None of it was surprising, but a lot of those subjects weren't something we discussed on a day to day basis, so having to sit there and talk about them was really helpful.
We also went to a weekend couples encounter. That was less than awesome. It was much more up in your face with Jesus, and even though both of us were raised Catholic, it was a little much. And the birth control part was awful - the couple scared my husband-to-be so much in regards to the "evils of the pill" that he wanted me to stop taking them immediately. For luck there was a doctor amongst the other couples and later she talked him down off the ledge :)
I would say overall the process was helpful and made me feel even stronger about our decision to get married. I've even told some of my non-Catholic friends they should look into pre-martial counseling - not because I think they were making a mistake, but because I really did feel strongly about its ability to strengthen an engagement.

nonmember avatar Paula/adhocmom

Wow. . we were basically married by a friend who is like, a magician - so none of that for us, but those ARE surprisingly good questions.

starr... starrsitter

My husband was raised Catholic, but decided against being confirmed (?) because he disagreed with so much of the religion...and me?  Well, I'm a whole world away from Catholic. 

The thing I don't get is why you need religious intervention to have these discussions with your potential spouse.  This should be common sense.

Mommah3 Mommah3

We did it almost 13 yrs ago. The gentleman who conducted the classes used to be my husbands CCD teacher(for like 3 yrs in a row) and ,y husband couldnt stand the man! We went over the usual qustions, similar to yours asked above. BUT we also went over what we expected out of marriage and each other. The man discussed our different upbringings and decided that my family was basically crazy and that I would never fit in with his close-fit family.....which was the furtherest thing from the truth!!! BUT I will say thatit was interesting and some of it did help but not much! I guess taht is what a catholic has to deal with if they want to be married within the church.....It wasnt very important  to us but our dear Catholic mothers and grandmothers would have had coronaries if we didnt ! :)

tayanna2 tayanna2

My husband I did and even though we had discussed many of the subjects previously, there were some topics we hadn't really broached yet. It wasn't just questions and lectures though. Our priest did ours as bi-weekly sessions and he would assign "homework" after each session, such as go on a date somewhere new for both of you and talk about anything except work, family, or the wedding. The homework assignments were the best part and we both felt it did help us prepare for our marriage, not just the wedding. We also did the engaged encounter weekend and felt that it confirmed we were ready. I would recommend pre-marital counseling for anyone. It doesn't have to be part of a religion, just sitting and talking about the hard questions is important and a lot of people don't because they are afraid of conflict.

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nonmember avatar mike hunt

Pre-Cana is nothing but a fu*king joke. One couple who had our class was convicted of pandering obscenties to minors just 3 months after telling us their story of love and their loving children. Are you kidding me? Most of those involved in these are just marriage counselor wanna-bees. Us and another couple went drinking after each session and laughed our asses off. It is one of the worst forms of torture I have ever been through.

I would rather have had hemorrhoid surgery without any anesthetic by a first year intern then go to this class again.

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