Marriage boot camp

After spending 40+ hours at work last week, Raphael and I spent the next 44 hours over the weekend at the Serra Retreat up in the Malibu mountains for an Engaged Encounter weekend. As a requirement to get married in a Catholic Church this was the last thing on our to do list before we got our certification. So, along with 43 other engaged couples we checked in for a weekend of marriage preparation.

I'm not going to lie, I wasn't thrilled by the idea of giving up a weekend and we both feared that we'd be spending it getting preached to and playing The Newlywed Game. However, it was quite special and inspiring, albeit long. The days started early, very early, with a wakeup call at 6:45 a.m. and the sessions went all the way till 11 p.m. at night. It was intense and not like I had expected, since it was more of a private thing than a public sharing. We would get a life topic to write about in our journals and then share them with each other. At times it was emotional and although we live together and have discussed most of these topics already, some new stuff still arose. It was also nice being around so many couples and people in love. The views meanwhile of the ocean, mountains and nearby mansions were spectacular. The show The Flying Nun was filmed at the same retreat actually.

The lack of sleep and staying in separate dorm rooms though, wasn't that special though. When I was finding my room and seeing everyone with their bags heading down the hall, I felt like I was in college again, especially once I entered the room and saw the empty walls and met my roommate for the weekend. Oh and then there was this bull frog croaking outside our window all night and if I hear the term "life-giving" one more time... Yet, I wouldn't trade the weekend in for anything. It was a nice time, away from wedding planning and thinking about the actual commitment of marriage and our future life together.

Film review: I wrote a reivew for on the Sundance Festival hit The Wackness. Although the buddy buddy, coming-of-age film, The Wackness won the 2008 Sundance Audience Award, I didn’t know what to make of the title or the fact that it starred Academy Award winner Sir Ben Kingsley with Mary-Kate Olsen and Method Man. Despite my confusion over the casting and the title’s weird name, I was quickly captured by the film written and directed by Jonathan Levine (read more).


  1. Wow, what a nice post. You and Big will create a beautiful life together.

    The Ex, baby and I are beyond happy for the two of you.

  2. wow that sounds so interesting. i didn't know those sorts of events really took place. glad you guys did well :)

  3. Did they say "Marriage is more than a wedding."? That is what I remember from our Engaged Encounter weekend.

    That and we were late going to a session b/c LSU gave up a 3 touchdown lead over Auburn IN THE FOURTH QUARTER and ended up losing the game!

    We saved our journals. It is sweet to read them after 13 years of marriage.


  4. I'm glad you found it so beneficial. We only had a few meetings with our pastor, and I didn't enjoy it. The focus was on religion and since we're not all that religious it was really uncomfortable.

    I viewed it as more of an annoying obligation that we had to meet in order to get married.

  5. Now that just sounds wonderful. I can't tell you how happy I am for you hon. Cin

  6. Ahh, lovely pre-Cana! We were able to do just a long, intense day rather than a whole weekend, which I was rather happy about since our priest was rather mean and made me cry. (I got the "taking birth control is killing a baby" speech in confession.)

  7. I'm glad that you enjoyed my "before I say I do" post. I can see from everyone's comments that experiences vary in the realm of religious pre-marital preparation. The key I think is that even as close as the two of you are, you were still able to learn something more about eachother. That is awesome!

  8. It's really cool that you went and did that together. Sounds like it would be interesting.

  9. Did they say "Marriage is more than a wedding."? That is what I remember from our Engaged Encounter weekend.