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?

 

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