You heard me talk a little about marriage prep when I broke the news that we are moving back home separately. But it definitely deserves a post of it's own.
Marriage prep is required by the church, so inevitably we had to do it and I'm in so incredibly thankful we did, but marriage prep has a bad rep. Most people view it as couples counseling and only necessary when they are struggling and that the Catholic Church marriage prep is just some extreme Catholics pushing their strict rules on everyone. I mean sadly that's how I viewed it to some degree. I thought there is no way these people can relate to our situation. I'm sure they do everything by the book and they are perfect. But God knew what he was doing with us and after our first couple of meetings and first marriage prep weekend my mind was totally changed. There was so much of the faith that I had been missing out on and not clearly understanding. To a certain extend I was a 'cafeteria catholic'. I was picking and choosing what to believe in because I didn't 'like' the church's stance, but in reality I didn't agree or like it because I didn't understand the why behind it and once I understood that it all made so much more sense.
This journey has definitely increase our faith individually and as a couple, but has also brought so many other aspects to our attention. We talked about how to effectively communicate with each other and this was a big eye opener to me. I learned that unfortunately, Andy cannot read my mind ;) I would wait until I was mad about something and then lash out to him. Why can't you just do this, why did you do this, which translates to nag, nag and more nag. I didn't want to be that person and Andy didn't want me to be that person either. All it took was us sitting down and talking through those things. I expressed where I wanted help with the household things and together we came up with a plan and compromise. It's amazing what a calm, level headed conversation can do :)
Communication was huge for us, but we also talked about finances and how we wanted that to look like in our lives. We talked about family values, how we were raised and how we want to raise our future family. Goal and aspirations, where we want to be in life...literally where do we want to live :) Not only did we talk about those things we heard from some incredible couples that are just regularly people. They weren't the picture perfect couple that did everything perfectly, but they worked hard, loved each other and believed in God, which is as perfect as you can get.
Relationships are hard work. Period. Like anything else it takes effort and you need to do certain things to maintain a healthy relationship. If you don't get your car to get an oil change every 3000-5000 miles you can expect to have some car trouble down the line. If you don't clean your floors you can expect to see lots of dirt and grime build up on them. So if we know those and put time and effort into them why can't we do the same for our relationships? We expect relationships to be perfect every time and when they aren't we immediately think something is wrong and that it needs to end, but what if there was just some bad build up that needed to be cleaned? And with a little love and TLC it would be great again. That was the main take away for me. I can't expect my relationship to just 'work'. I have to put in the time and effort to make it amazing. Of course we are going to have some rough times, but as long as we have air in our tires I know we'll be okay :)
So cliff note version: All couples should go through some type of marriage prep because it helps you get on the same page about you future and it creates the time and space for you to put the effort into your relationship.
Comment below with your thought about marriage prep! Would you take a class or not?