Worthless. Mind-numbing. Tedious. Unbearable. Stupid.
These are all words Michael and I used to describe the pre-cana experience when we were on our way home tonight. We couldn't believe what a waste of eight hours it was. It ended about half an hour before it was supposed to, so we didn't even stick around for mass. We would have had to wait 45 minutes for mass to start, and after that hell of a day, we couldn't even entertain the thought of spending any more time in that church.
The funny thing was that no one else stuck around, either. All 26 couples fled to their cars as fast as their engaged legs could carry them. Unfortunately, the escape wasn't nearly as quick as everyone had hoped. We all came out to our cars covered in probably 1/4" of solid ice. So we all got into our cars, started the engines, cranked the heat and got out to start chipping away at the sheets of ice. At one point, I looked around me and just had to laugh... 50 people in the parking lot scraping furiously at windshields and windows to get in and drive far, far away from pre-cana as soon as possible.
Overall, the program wasn't as bad as it could have been. I was preparing myself for horribly uncomfortable confessions and discussions, Alcoholics Anonymous style--"Hi, I'm Heather, and I live with my fiance before marriage"--but that didn't happen. I also feared dreaded lectures about natural family planning vs. using other birth control methods. We had a lovely little NFP brochure in our info folder, but other than that--just a brief mention.
The problem was, not only did we not get some of the things we had been dreading--we didn't get anything out of it at all. I was expecting group discussions, one-on-one time for couples to discuss important topics and issues in marriage, and there was really none of that. Our day consisted mostly of watching married couples perform stupid skits and then listening to them drone on and on about things that should be common sense for anyone in a committed relationship. Oh, and POWERPOINT. Powerpoint after powerpoint after powerpoint. Ugh. It's painful just to relive it in my mind.
I understand the point of pre-cana, and I don't necessarily disagree with the purpose behind it. But my gosh... at least design the programs so that the attendees actually get something out of it. At least so they can walk away with things to discuss with their fiances, and have a better understanding of their relationships, and the commitment of marriage. I think formal premarital couples counseling would be much more beneficial--so if the Catholic church is going to require something, why not that?
Anyway, we have never been so happy to walk out of someplace with a certificate of completion. We still have to take the FOCCUS, but that has to be far less painful than pre-cana turned out to be.
After that, we should be in the clear to get married in the Catholic church. And we'll have certainly gone through enough to earn that privilege.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to my wine. It's an essential part of the recovery from wasting away eight hours of your life in pre-cana.