Photo by Jonny Edwin
Do you get a worried, sweaty feeling when someone mentions marriage prep? I did. Chris and I are getting married at the Basilica of St. Mary (yes, that massive church as you enter downtown Minneapolis). At first we were worried we would drown in it, but after attending church there for the past several years, it has become our home and offers a weird level of comfort for being so huge.
But even that comfort didn’t calm my nerves about the idea of marriage prep. As with many church ceremonies, we are required to complete a marriage preparation course before getting married. Honestly I pictured this going down something like a police interrogation: bright lights, a steady stream of intense questioning, and in the end someone deciding our fate of continuing down this path.
In reality it meant being paired with a married couple who helped Chris and I review our answers to an extensive questionnaire called the PREPARE Inventory. I joked with them in our initial emails, asking if I needed to bring my boxing gloves. They responded saying we wouldn’t need them until our second session. This was a good sign—I like funny.
We met three times and we did discuss the nitty gritty stuff, like finances, relationship roles, and conflict/resolution, but something completely unexpected happened. We ended up enjoying the process. We did our best to be open and discuss things honestly, and our couple, to their benefit, did the best they could to remain neutral and not laugh too hard when one of us said something insane like “do we really need a shared calendar?”
The Basilica of St. Mary has a really great system, nice people and is a great option for marriage prep, or weddings in general. They just seem to get it.
We still have a retreat coming up with other engaged couples, but so far I would recommend marriage prep to everyone. I mean if you’re going to invest time and money into your wedding day, why wouldn’t you do the same and more for your marriage?