wedding wednesday: engagement encounter

So, to get married in the church Matthew and I have a couple different things we need to do. On Saturday we went to another church to fulfill what's called the Engagement Encounter. It's an all day workshop that's led by two couples- one in their early 60s and the other in their late 30s/early 40s. There were 40 other couples there so it was a BIG group. We listened to topics about family of origin, communication, conflict resolution, finances, dreams and goals, and spirituality. Sounds like it could have been really boring, right? Well, the team couples made it relevant so it wasn't that bad at all. I loved the younger couple! They seemed so sweet and even though they've come across some hard times {the husband has had 5 jobs in 7 years, and has been laid off since last May}, they haven't let it negatively impact their marriage. Money is supposed to be the biggest reason for divorce in America but they talked about how it doesn't have to be an issue. Between the talks, we answered reflection questions in our workbooks-girls went to one side and boys on the other. Then we got together as a couple to discuss our answers. While Matthew and I have talked about most of these things, I think it was great to have a more facilitated forum for discussion. We talked about what our family of origin taught us about marriage, what our expectations for marriage  are because of this, how our family of origin communicated and whether we want to communicate this way in our new family. We also talked about the characteristics we each have- extrovert/introvert, good/poor listener, needs time to think/responds quickly, morning/night person, avoids/confront conflict, talkative/slow to speak. Based on our different characteristics we talked about which positive comparisons we have that will help with our communication and any challenges we might need to discuss. One of my favorite activities was when we drew a picture of what our personal dreams and goals look like for the next five years. It was funny because when Matthew and I got together we had a lot of similar ones, I guess as it should be.
my picture: house near the water and family, two kids, Ginger, family dinners, summer vacations, Blogging!
Matthew's picture: own a house near the water,apparently three kids, two dogs, a home studio, and traveling
and on the other side of his paper: world domination! He kids, of course.

I really enjoyed spending the day "planning our marriage," instead of planning the wedding. It's easy to get caught up in all the details but at the end of the day you're married and that's the important thing.

Engaged/Married Couples: Did any of you do something similar to this? Did you gain anything out of it? Were there any issues that you had to address after the wedding that you hadn't talked about before?

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