Every Epiphany I seem to get something that turns into a big part of my life.
It’s never really out of the blue and always an answer to prayer, usually a “what’s next?” sort of thing. For context:
2015: Decided to spend more time in Calgary
2016: Verbalized my desire to begin a Catholic women’s house in YYC
2017: Offered a job
2018: Landed on a wedding date
2017 was the first year I realized these things (with long, meandering, meaningful stories of their own) were happening on January 6, the solemnity of Epiphany, the celebration of Jesus revealed as Saviour to ALL people. A revealing of his identity, while still in his infancy. A taste of what was to come, just a little bit of the story shared to start.
It’s much like all these ideas I’ve been given every new year. They’ve all turned from seemingly little ideas into things bigger than I could’ve imagined.
And this year is probably no different. The message from Epiphany weekend has been long thought about, gets me fired up, and I’m not entirely sure of the next step but I know it includes other people. I’ve got some ideas and I think they’re leading somewhere interesting, but the whole thing is definitely still in its early stages.
The epiphany from Epiphany 2019? Two things. The first, a couple of seemingly simple words:
(The second thing from Epiphany? Well, I’ll be getting to that soon. Hang tight.)
Preparing to give yourself freely, totally, and faithfully to someone (with the intent of that love being fruitful in more ways than children) is such an important part of marriage. I believe it begins well before you meet your future spouse, intensifies while you’re dating, and really requires doubling down on your efforts while you’re engaged. Understanding God’s intention and plan for marriage as well as the practicals of living that out is so valuable to your relationship.
I put effort in before I met my husband to learn about these things because they’re all things that’ll help me get to heaven anyway. When I met Brandon I was ready enough to know I had (and have) lots to learn, but I was willing to put the effort in with him by my side to learn more. After we were engaged, I really looked forward to our official marriage prep program through our diocese, but to say I was disappointed with the course is putting it lightly. With all this emphasis on marriage prep, as well as being required to complete the course, that’s what we were given? That’s what we paid hundreds of dollars for?
If there was a similar program to become a priest, we’d have riots demanding for more formation of those men. I’m not arguing for 7 years of marriage prep with your fiance, but why was our marriage prep, the thing getting us ready for our Vocation, so lacklustre?
Now, I know my personal experience isn’t the only experience. Heck, people in the course with us may have found it to be okay. But for Brandon and I? It wasn’t helpful at all.
I know I can’t base everything off what my marriage prep experience was, so I’m compiling other couples’ personal experiences. I’m asking about organized marriage prep, whether that was through a diocese, parish, church program, mentor couple – whatever you did with your fiance/fiancee at the time, I’d love to hear about it. The good, the bad, the “we wish they would’ve talked about ____.”
I want to hear it all.
I’m creating a survey, but if you’ve got things to say before I get it done, please send me an email with your story to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Marriage Prep Experience. I can’t WAIT to hear from you.