Anyone remember their Pre-Cana weekend? Classes? Some, all or none? My memory is pretty crapola these days…I blame multitasking, 4 kids and age. Maybe I should do more Sudoku or 20, 40, 8 or whatever that game is. Gingko? Whatever…getting off track here.
I vaguely remember our Pre-Cana meetings with our Priest as more of a checking off of the boxes and looking back I’m certain he probably wanted to forehead smack both of us. We were barely active in the Church and going through the motions, however, clearly the seed was planted because….here we are…20 years later and growing everyday in our Faith, Marriage and family. It’s been a mind-blowing 20 years. To say the least.
The thing is, I don’t remember much about Pre-Cana. I remember a lot of vague, surface discussions. Discussions on the budget and maintaining a joint checking account were the main things I remember, and that’s it. NFP? Not so much. Marriage being hard? Not really. So, whether it is my p.poor memory or my 23 year-old naive self, Pre-Cana didn’t really prepare me or scare me.
I take you to be my lawfully wedded spouse, my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
I would have loved if we could have taken an in-depth look at those vows:
- Lawfully wedded, constant friend. Your spouse comes first. Always and forever. Your best friend. Girlfriends are second and friends come and go as you move through seasons of life. Pick wisely and you will never be lonely.
- Faithful partner. There is a reason men and women shouldn’t be alone together if they aren’t married. It’s called a fallen world. Free will. Attractions will happen and we are all human; it takes a lot of effort to go from foot loose and fancy free to hitched forever. It can be overwhelming. Be honest and be sure you are both up for the task and be ready to decide if you can be forgiving if one or both of you fall. It’s a tough and enticing world out there and marriage isn’t a deterrent to some. There’s a reason 50%+ of marriages fail. And infidelity doesn’t always come in the form of a person.
- Sickness and health. You will both get sick. You will both need caretaking. Be loving. Be awesome. Be kind. Be thankful you are in this together, because being sick is something no one enjoys. Being a caregiver is no picnic either. You’ll both have a turn, be ready.
- Savor and relish the good times and know that bad times will come. Be a team. Fight for each other. Fight for your marriage. Life is a constant change, ebb and flow and the better you work together, the stronger your marriage will be. Dig in.
- Love unconditionally. This takes practice. Every day. All day. For life. Staying in love is work. Put in the sweat equity. You’ll reap a harvest far beyond your expectations.
- Support each other. Careers change. Dreams evolve. Work it together. Marriage is team work. Be flexible and be each other’s greatest cheerleader. You’ll take risks in your careers and when you do it together the reward is so much sweeter.
- Respect each other. Criticize in love and in private. The tongue is a savage beast and those words….well, don’t believe the rhyme…it’s all backwards: words wound. Be respectful always in word and in deed.
- Laugh together. Often. Experience life joyfully. It is far too short to be taken so seriously. A huge area of weakness for this bride who, far too often gets caught up in all the “must do’s” and details of life. Laughter is free therapy.
- Cry together. Forgiveness is hard. Loss is hard. Change is hard. Life is hard. There will be tears and if nothing else, hold each other through the storm.
- Cherish each other. This is your best friend. Your life partner. Your help mate. Your help meet. Your other half. Your better half. Your worse half. Your half.
So maybe Pre-Cana DID cover these…maybe I wasn’t listening….maybe it takes 20 years.
More to come….on marriage and vow renewals….stay tuned! 😉