- Great Expectations
- “You know how I said ‘I’m sure they’re going to feed us the first night’? Well not only are they NOT feeding us but we are supposed to bring snacks to share.” These words were spoken by me a few hours before the retreat when I realized I was going to have to come up with dinner for us after all.
- “Don’t keep food in your rooms cause there’s a rat problem.” Spoken by, Paul, one of the facilitators the first evening. This caused Michael and I to look at each other in horror because we had left his dinner in his room.
- Upon realizing that he had grossly over packed for a weekend of non-stop discussions and meetings at a Catholic Mission, Michael laughed and said “I don’t know what I was expecting. I brought all these swimming trunks! Where’s the pool?”
Father Jerry – The Priest
- “I’m your spiritual toilet.” Said by Father Jerry as he was trying to explain the role of a priest in confession.
- “When she’s a bitch you’ll have to love her anyway,” advice from Father Jerry to all the grooms.
Learning New Skills
- At one point we had to look into our beloved’s eyes and apologize for a recent hurt and then ask for forgiveness. Since Michael and I haven’t really pissed each other off lately we both hesitated. Then he said softly, “I’m sorry about accidentally ripping your wedding dress.” As I choked for air he smiled and said, “kidding! kidding!” Miraculously, he still lives.
- During the weekend we were taught the 8 Rules of Arguing. They were pretty much standard things I’d heard before like “don’t go to bed angry,” and “don’t drag up past issues and arguments.” After we went through them Chris, one of the married facilitators, said, “Now there’s a Secret 9th Rule that is very effective. Write this down… Secret Rule #9 is Argue Naked!” I looked around and I’m quite certain every one us in the room had written THAT one down.
Learning to Appreciate What You Have – The Other Couples
- “I’ve had enough of this shit.” This was said by a guy to his fiancée while we were standing in line for lunch on the last day. “See honey, at least I’m not him,” whispered Michael (who was also getting antsy at this point) to me after overhearing this.
- “You scared the crap out of me this morning,” Michael’s roommate to Michael as he recounted discovering that Michael wasn’t under the mound of blankets on the second morning. (Michael had snuck back home to sleep in our bed because the Mission beds were torturing his back and his roommate was snoring like a bear with a buzz saw.)
Sharing Time – You Learn So Much, You Really Do
- One of the exercises involved responding yes or no to 16 statements. We each answered them without letting the other see our responses. Then they asked the questions again and if you said yes you were supposed to stand up. That way you could see where you and your sweetheart disagreed. Michael and I only disagreed on two. The first was “We will write the ‘Thank you’ notes together.” Since I know darn well I will be writing them I wrote: NO. Michael said, “what, I’m going to help!” “I know you’ll INTEND to help,” I said “but really you don’t like doing that sort of thing so I know I’ll be doing them.” “That’s true,” and then he smiled – so really we didn’t disagree on that one. The Second statement we had different answers on was: “I want to have a child of my own gender, even if it means having more children than we originally intended.” Again, I wrote: NO. Once again Michael was standing on his own. Of course pretty much every guy in the room was standing alone. All the women were looking at their men with “yeah, right buddy!” expressions on their faces. “Uh-huh that one usually ends up with all the men standing,” said Father Jerry. “Well, I have to continue my family name,” Michael said.
- During the weekend everyone was encouraged to put questions into a box. Later during the Question and Answer segment several anonymous questions were pulled from the box. One was: “What do you do if you know she’s going to be fertile on the honeymoon but you both aren’t ready to start a family yet?” Keeping in mind this a Catholic retreat and discussions of Natural Family Planning had been happening, this question was met with a few wimpy non-answers. Then Michael sang out… “TROJAN MAN!!” Everyone laughed. “That’s not Natural Family Planning, honey,” I whispered trying not to laugh. “Oh sorry you guys have so many rules.” Still more half-assed answers were offered. Finally I just spoke up, “C’mon people you have more than one body part to work with. You can achieve the same honeymoon goals with OTHER parts of the body, you know!” Everyone pretty much got the message. So clearly in fact, that Diane one of the elderly married facilitators said, “okay well I think we’re done with THAT question. Let’s move on to another.” Well jeez, sorry. But I tried to be tactful about it. I mean it’s not like I actually came right out and said, “blow job.”