So the engagement encounter was great! At times it was hard for me, because I don't like to be in large groups of people, especially people I don't know (yeah group trips will not be in my future plans as of now.) I am not sure why that is, it just is. But the benefits definitely outweigh this one detail. It was great to see so many couples in love and making this commitment to each other even when marriage has such a bad rap.
Ok here we go: First of, the location was beautiful! Secondly, we got to really talk about issues that will come up in our marriage and spend quality alone time. We have discussed many of these things before (money, kids etc.). But it was more meaningful to actually write things down and then really discuss them, without noise or feeling rushed. The encounter also challenges you to look at where you disagree as individuals. Although it was a "Catholic" encounter many people were not Catholic, and some were not even getting married by a priest, they simply wanted some form of pre-marital counseling, which I think is a great idea for all who will be tying the knot or have plans to. The couples that led the encounter were amazing mentors. One couple had been married for 58 years! That's right 58! The other had overcome many challenges, including the wife being diagnosed, battling and then overcoming breast cancer. Both couples were such an inspiration and a true example of real commitment and unconditional love. The priest was hilarious and we really felt comfortable with him. He helped us learn that marriage is not just marriage, it is a commitment, vocation, and a holy sacrament. Overall we really took in the encounter's theme, "A Wedding is a Day, A Marriage is a Lifetime." Sometimes we get caught up in the details, which is fine =). But it is good to be reminded of the bigger picture as well, that on that special day, after you seal the deal with a kiss, you start your own family and life journey together.
photo credit: Jessica Lewis