Saturday, November 3, 2007

We Graduated!

No, we don't have our PhD's yet, but we have been officially "Cana-ized!" Participating in our church's Pre-Cana program (supervised and taught by the indefatigable Peter McFadden) was really an eye-opening experience for the two of us. On the one hand, it was a relief to learn all the stuff we're concerned about (finances, household responsibilities, etc.) are pretty much the same worries everyone else has (I know, big revelation; hey, I think a little solipsism is inevitable in this process...); on the other hand, it was also comforting to realize that the ideal of two people who just come together magically and then experience an utterly problem-free existence forever after is something rarely (if ever) actually realized. Marriage, like any great human endeavor, takes work; without the requisite virtues (natural and SUPERnatural), it just ain't gonna be good. As Dr. Clemens points out in his book:

In the best of marriages some differences or misunderstandings occur. Even the just St. Joseph misunderstood Our Lady's pregnancy! However, differences are not as important as the way in which partners react to them. Less real harm is done by misunderstandings than by the way in which they are handled. Successful partnership is not due to the absence of differences but to the ability of the couple to resolve them. (pg. 159)

That's why Mr. McFadden so strongly urges couples to develop strong daily habits of connection/affection in their relationships; even a simple thing like a brief nightly dance with one's spouse (Mr. McFadden's "habit of choice" with his wife) can end up being crucial in holding a marriage together when tough times hit. As a parting gift, Mr. McFadden gave each of us little "5:1" postcards, reminding us of what level we should always try to keep the ratio of positive to negative moments in our relationship (not always an easy task as some of you may know!). All in all it was a really useful and positive experience for the two of us; any couple looking for some good, solid tactics on how to forge a strong & lasting marriage could do no better than Mr. McFadden's program.

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