Engaged Encounter: Some thoughts for marriage

Last weekend, Al and I had the opportunity to take our “Engaged Encounter” class, through the church. It is a pre-cana class that everyone who gets married catholic is required to take. The course took place over the Friday evening and all day on the Saturday.

The concept behind the course is to really get you thinking about your relationship as a couple and to help you move in a positive direction, together. For Al and I, seeming as we have been dating for over 6 years, we have pretty much had a chance to talk about everything and anything with regards to our married life. A lot of the couples that we met at this course, however, had only been dating for a couple of years (or shorter), so there are inevitably some topics that may not have come up in conversation. This course was to get them talking about these topics and get them on the same page before they wed.

I thought that it would be interesting to have a blog post, listing a few of the topics discussed throughout the course, to share with everyone. Some couples’ whose weddings we photograph are not marrying catholic, so they wouldn’t have a chance to take a pre-cana course like this.

Take a look at some of these questions, and have a chat with your fiance about them. It may be interesting and enlightening to see what each other has to say on each topic.

Will you share a joint bank account or will you keep your bank accounts separate?
Who will be in charge of paying the bills?
Have you/wIll you invest in an RRSP for savings, or an RESP for your children’s’ education? How about any other kind of investments? Who is going to handle that?
Have you sat down and worked out a personal budget? Have you set financial goals?
Will you have a financial advisor to help you with your money and your investments?
What kind of house can you afford? What kind of vehicles can you afford? Will you take vacations?
Would you be willing to move if your spouse got a promotion that involved re-location?

Will you have children? How many will you have? How far apart in age would you like them to be?
Will your children attend a catholic school or a public school? Will you raise them catholic and have them attend church?
How will you discipline your children?
What if you are unable to have children, naturally? Would you try other methods?

How do you plan on maintaining a relationship with your own families?
How will you spend the holidays?
What traditions did you have, growing up, with your families? What traditions do you hope to continue with your own family?

What are the household chores? List them, and figure out how they will be divided. Will one of you do more than the other?
How were the household chores divided when you were growing up, with your parents? Do you have similar views on this?
What if one of you busier than the other, will the other spouse do more chores and housework than the other?

Rules for effective arguments:

No name calling
No 3rd party
No past history
Stick to the subject
No cheap shots
Don’t go to bed angry
Maintain a sense of humour

If you have any other questions or thoughts that may be helpful to engaged couples, please feel free to leave them in the “Comments” section, below. I’d love for you to share them!

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