As a part of our ongoing marriage preparations required by the Catholic Church, Fiancee S. completed an Engaged Encounter workshop this past weekend. The modus operandi of the workshop goes something like this:
- Get a bunch of engaged couples to a retreat center, where they live in sex-segregated dormatory conditions (women on one floor, men on another.)
- Have said couples sit through a series of exercises presented by two already married couples (one married a decade or so, the other married for more than that) that consist of a 20 minute talk, a 20 minute period where the two members of each couple write separately about the issue at hand, and a 20 minute period where each couple meets privately to discuss what they have written.
- At the end, there is a Mass (it can't be Catholic gathering without a Mass, right?) at the conclusion of which each couple receives a hug and certificate that says "Soylent green is PEOPLE!!!" er no... it says that we completed the weekend.
After talking with some other couples we knew who completed this process already, we found that there is usually one couple in the encounter group that should be voted "least likely to have a successful marriage." In our case, one half of that least likely couple was rooming near Fiancee S.
At this point, it is useful describe the exact living accomodations we enjoyed for two days. Most people were situated four-to-a-room accommodations that resembled semi-private hospital rooms. That is to say that each room had a bed in each corner with a small living area around it. The living areas were separated either by an armoire and a partial screening wall with a sink and mirror attached to it, or seven foot tall curtains.
We discovered the "least likely" couple (at least in our opinion) while discussing what we had written for an exercise on Saturday afternoon. Fiancee S. were starting to get a bit written out by that point, and finished our discussion in her dorm room "living area" before the 20 minutes was up. While we were engaging in some idle chit-chat about the weekend, we suddenly hear a man in the room hiss "you don't have a hearing problem, you have a LISTENING problem!"
He said it with such insensitivity and venom that we knew this wasn't the first fight they had, or the last. If this is how they deal with a fairly simple communication exercise while engaged, I hate to think what they will be like when they've been married for a few years. It probably won't be pretty.
on 2003-11-10 at 1:03 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond