Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Highlights and True Quotes From Our Engaged Encounter Weekend

    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.”

27 comments:

Brookelina said...

I'd have paid good money to see the looks on their faces if you had uttered the words "blow job" to them. Better yet - cunnilingus!!!!

Girl With An Alibi said...

I know. I wish to god I had that much guts. Now if there had been beer or Margaritas I would have spelled it out in plain english and then offered website URLs where they could get sex toys to help them out. But sadly no booze allowed.

Dex2177 said...

okay... because I'm daft and you didn't explain it... or I'm really daft and missed it... why were you doing this again, besides the pursuit of great comical fodder? ...because, like most Catholic beliefs and people I've come across, apart from the truly fundamentalist and usually bigotted(but they still love you in the most condescending, you should really be more like them way and their flat earth society sort of way) it's like just an opportunity for self reflection as you decide for yourself why each point is either relatively obvious or untenable by any normal, real world standards. Catholicism seems like one big club where 70% of the people disregard at least 50% of what the church or it's employees at whatever level have decided to tell you about how they've decided the universe should go. Unless they're fully convinced of their own lesserness I don't know how women bow down to the Patriarchy BS that is the Catholic churches whole reason for being, politically speaking. Ok, I'll stop rambling on now, lol... where's the topic again? oh right, way over there, I seem to have wandered off on my own, lol.

Matt said...

"Secret Rule #9 is Argue Naked"!

I'm always having an internal dialogue which sometimes turns into a debate, so I tried rule number 9 while arguing with myself today. The problem is that I was in the breakroom at work, so I'm totally out of a job now. I tried explaining to the supervisor that it was a therapeutic technique, but he wouldn't listen!

WunEyedDog said...

I don't like being told how to be married period. I don't know how you guys made it through a whole weekend of it. I would have been the guy that freaked out.

gone said...

We did "marriage counseling," but with someone we respected and admired. It was all positive. I could not and WOULD NOT be able to do a "mass counseling" session like you describe here. But, the fact that you and Michael foud the good behind the bad and came out with good attitudes is a testament to your character.

The details make for a funny post, though!

Girl With An Alibi said...

To be fair I should give you more info on the weeked itself. Those were of course the amusing highlights. The meat of the weekend involved listening to talks on different topics by two married couples and a preist (the rather unconventional Father Jerry). They gave us notebooks with a list of questions for each topic. We would each pick a question to write on after each talk and then after about 20 minutes Michael and I would get back together and read each other's notebooks. Basically what it does is get you to talk about the stuff that might come up later and be a problem. Except for that Q/A section pretty much none of it was sharing with anyone but your betrothed. It's interesting that they really don't so much tell you how to be married (which is what I kind of expected) so much as they they get you to be realistic about what to expect. Supposedly couples who go through these types of Engaged Retreats (Catholic or Non-Catholic ones) have a drastically lower divorce rate than the rest of the population. Something like 1 in 1000 as opposed to 1 in 2. I think it just really wakes you up to the fact that marriage is hard work and you have to knock those stars out of your eyes now and not think you are going to magically change this person. Cause you're not. I totally recommend it. If you're not Catholic there are other groups that do the same thing so it's really a good idea.

courtneyelizabeth said...

GEEZ @ "rat problem"

gone said...

good for you guys. I think it's important to be given a fair idea of what to expect and then again you are given advice as to how a person lets go of false expectations. I with you guys all the best.

John said...

You've been Tagged

gone said...

I think someone is getting married this weekend? Or next?

FRITZ said...

It kinda sounded like fun. I'm Episcopalian but schooled in Jesuit Catholicism, so I know that a lot of times, Catholic priests don't get enough credit. A lot of the time, they know exactly what they are talking about.
Also: how long have you and Michael been engaged?
I have a theory that as tension mounts before a wedding, everyone is ready to kill each other. That's why MY Michael and I intend to dip off to the islands and get married on the beach. In a sarong and flip flops. No invites, no guests, no dinners, nothing. Just us.
What fun, though. Maybe I'll get him to come to an 'encounter' weekend, but it would be retarded for us to sleep in different rooms, since we live together.

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your feet drive me mad.

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