Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pre-Wedding Marriage Counseling

You might have seen this tweet this weekend...

Or this one...

Well, this weekend, Mike and I had to attend a mandatory couples seminar to be married in my college's Catholic Chapel.  Obviously, we were really mature and deep.

It was an interesting day, to say the least.  I'm not about to go all spiritual on you or try to impose my beliefs on you [like one of the presenters definitely did, even though they claimed their message was to "propose" their teachings, not "impose" them].  I'm not going to talk about contraception or abstinence because I heard enough to last a lifetime - rant over.  I just want to share with you about my past and where I feel I am on my spiritual journey, because I've never really written about that part of my life here.

I was raised Catholic my whole life.  My mom and I attended church together at 8 am each and every week.  My dad is Protestant [even though he claims his church is the golf course - LOL], so I was always exposed to different religions and ideas.  I made my first communion, was an alter server, attended 11 years of CCD, and made my confirmation.  Still, through all of that, looking back on it, I feel like I was just going through the motions.  I never had anything forced upon me, but growing up in a predominately Irish and Italian town, that was what you did!

Then, I went to a Catholic Jesuit college; the college where we will be married in 5 short months.  What an amazing experience.  The Jesuits' "slogan" is "men and women for others."  A Jesuit education is about fostering not only intellectual development, but also moral and spiritual growth.  Intellect and faith are seen as complimentary, not contradictory.  It helps students discover the deeper meaning and purpose of their lives while also finding their individual places in the larger society.  Even more than suggesting we attend mass on Sundays, professors and administration stressed the importance of community service.  At Holy Cross, 90% of students will do some type of community service over their four years.  I was a "Big Sister," volunteered at Blood Drives and with area schools, and spent spring break on an immersion trip to Louisiana to rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina.  All of these were incredibly rewarding experiences that helped me discover who I am today and encourage me to work in the youth development non-profit world.  

Now, last weekend, much of what we talked about was where we currently are in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  After a lot of thinking, I realized that I don't currently see Jesus in the church, probably because I do not often attend church.  I see him in the morals and values I try to embody each day.  Jesus was loving, kind, friendly, empowering, forgiving, and teaching.  In my daily life, I try to encompass all these things, and now I know without a doubt why: Jesus is the reason.  I know I will never be mighty, excellent, holy, or perfect like him, but I will continue to work to be better as a person who is pleasing to Jesus.  I know that I need to work to a place where I can also find Jesus in the church, but I will get there.  I think that going through this counseling has definitely made me think about my faith, and it will be a great starting point for what will become our faith.

Like I implied at the beginning of this post, I don't always agree with everything the Catholic church teaches, but I can tell you one thing, I LOVE Pope Francis.  He is the first Jesuit pope and really does stand for the Jesuit belief of "finding God in all things."  Jeesh, he even tweets!!  He is going to be a great change for the church, and if you don't know a lot about him, you should read this.  

Just FYI, Mike is not Catholic but has been so supportive of getting married in a Catholic church.  He was raised Lutheran and grew up very similar to me.

Now, reflecting after the seminar, here's what I hope for in my marriage with Mike: for us to find a church and community at which we both feel comfortable and welcomed, in whatever Christian religion that means.  I like to think we will go to church each week, like we both grew up doing, but who really knows.  I also hope and will work to make our marriage filled with the messages Jesus taught: kindness, love, honor, and truthfulness.  Our children will be raised understanding and loving the church, and I know we will instill many Jesuit values in them.  So, maybe the Catholic church didn't succeed as it hoped, getting us to follow every one of its teachings, but it did get Mike and I talking.  We've talked about our faith since this weekend.  We are both on the same page, and we know that our life together will be full of love.

Oh, and Friday was our fourth anniversary, so we went out to dinner and actually remembered to take a photo this year!

Linking up for a couple of Wedding Wednesdays with Kristyn & Mary and Meredith & Jordon!

10 comments:

Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often said...

I grew up catholic too but haven't been to church since college. I think being the best person you can be everyday is a good thing. It got you talking at least. Love the anniversary pic.

Hope @ Hope in a Blog said...

Your life WILL be full of love :)! Happy Anny!! Xx.

Meredith said...

Brandon was raised Baptist and I Methodist so we have different viewpoints on some topics but I agree the underlying belief and daily attitudes are the same!

Mary said...

I'm Catholic, too! I love Pope Francis! He is just what the church needs!

Rebecca Jo said...

I'm not Catholic, but I ADORE Pope Francis. I think he's grabbed the worlds attention because he just loves like Jesus...
The MySpace tweet is hilarious! :)

Susan said...

Cute anniversary photo! You both look so happy. :)

I was actually kicked out of CCD class when I was seven. Long story there. But it must feel good to have some deep conversations about faith with your fiancé. Good for the soul!

Susan said...

(OMG AND I LOVE THE ARCHER QUOTE)

Christine said...

Ahh I love Pope Francis so much!

Patty said...

All your hopes for your marriage are beautiful Meg. I can tell you there is no better foundation in a marriage than Jesus :D. I don't want to oppose my beliefs on you either but without our relationship with Jesus I don't think our marriage, relationship, and family would be as strong as it is.

Megan @ Chicago Girl said...

Love this! My MOH went to Holy Cross. Small world! My guy and I are getting married in the church. We are having a family friend who is a priest marry us, and it was so hard to find a church! Since I am in the military, most churches wanted me to joint them, and wait months and months to get married. So glad I found a church that understood my crazy lifestyle! We do pre-cana next month, and I hope we can really focus on us and our faith during that time!

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