Sunday, February 3, 2008

Advice to a Newly Engaged Catholic

A friend of mine recently shared news of her engagement and requested my advice, which I now offer here in case it's useful to someone else:

Tip 1: Take advantage of all marriage-prep opportunities offered by your parish, diocese, and friends. David and I attended both the diocesan Marriage Prep (Pre-Cana) Workshop (a day of talks and small group sharing) and an Engaged Encounter weekend. Of the two, we found EE so much more Christ-centered and relationship-enriching, but both were helpful in spurring our conversation on important topics. Meet with your priest several times, especially to do the FOCCUS inventory and discuss the results. And look for times you and your fiance can get together (maybe over meals) with Catholic couples you admire and ask them all kinds of questions. Learn from their experiences! Be inspired by their example! Oh, and definitely sign up for NFP (Natural Family Planning) classes. Set aside time to study the materials and, three or four months before the wedding day, start charting your signs.

Tip 2: Maintain or develop relationships with people who can hold you accountable to your standards for chastity. Engagement is a beautiful time of increased intimacy, and it can be a big challenge not to get ahead of yourselves. I recommend surrounding yourself with positive influences and not spending too much time alone together. When you make mistakes, be honest with one another, go to confession, and begin again.

Tip 3: Declare a certain day of the week "no wedding planning" day and stick to it. Don't let the planning dominate your conversations or time together. Work on building up your relationship and preparing (mentally and spiritually) for the challenges and blessings of marriage.

Tip 4: Pray and read good books. Pray often, as individuals and as a couple, for your engagement and marriage to bring glory to God. Seek His guidance for everything, from the grand picture to the details. Read encouraging books to help you prepare for a godly marriage. I wish I had great books to recommend - the two I had were not good for me. If you haven't explored the Theology of the Body, it's a must - there are several books and CD sets out there, take your pick. Every time David and I delve into Theology of the Body it bears fruit in our relationship.

1 comment:

Adam said...

I definitely agree with these recommendations. Diana and I have "no wedding Wednesday", although we havent been as judicious about it lately. I also love the point about having relationships with people in life who are encouraging and can hold you to standards of faith and holiness.