Thursday, September 13, 2012

Viva Pre-Cana: Here Comes the Bride, All Dressed in Realism

To me, the most romantic words in the world aren’t simply “Will you marry me?” I’d add: “…and start a Pre-Cana course right away?”

Okay, for those of you who weren’t raised as Roman Catholics, let me backtrack. You see, although we of Team Bartilucci are native New Yorkers, we’ve lived in northeastern Pennyslvania since 2001. But we still watch the New York-based morning show GoodDay New York (GDNY)even more so since one of our favorite TV personalities, Dave Price, recently returned to the show as co-anchor with Rosanna Scotto.

This morning, while Vinnie and I prepared for the day ahead, our genial co-hosts were interviewing guest Vikki Ziegler, Esq., high-profile matrimonial lawyer and author of The Pre-Marital Planner (from Imagine, a Charlesbridge Imprint).  Not to put the whammy on it, but Vinnie and I have been a happy couple since we met in 1985, and a happily-married couple since 1989, so it was refreshing to find that Ms. Ziegler’s book was about keeping couples happy and thriving together with refreshingly sensible advice—no small feat, considering almost 50% of marriages end in divorce. Having come from a family of much-married people, I was intrigued to hear how Ms. Ziegler had succeeded when so many others haven’t.

Here's a link to the video.
It's an asphalt jungle out there for
couples who don't plan their future well!

Would you believe the secret of Ms. Ziegler’s success is to plan ahead and be honest with yourself and your beloved about pretty much every aspect of your life?  You know—good old common sense!  She’s big on talking wisely about every crucial pre-marital concern, from whether or not to have kids, to being honest with yourself and your beloved about your finances, and more. It might not sound romantic, but let’s face it, everyone has to eat and pay bills, no matter how much in love you are. 

I knew Ms. Ziegler was on the right track when she brought up a subject Vinnie and I have been touting to every young couple I’ve known who wanted to jump the broom: a
Pre-Cana! Vinnie can vouch for me cheering and hooting and hollering! This rite originated with Catholic couples, but I’ve known others who found Pre-Cana-style courses helpful, too (as you’ll see shortly). The name comes from John 2:1 and the wedding feast in Galilee, where Jesus turned water into wine. Catholic couples are required to take six-week course before they can be married in a Catholic church. A priest or deacon leads six weekly sessions with support from another married Catholic couple.Some couples even do online programs, like when one of the affianced must be deployed overseas (damn war!).

But the cool thing about the Pre-Cana is that even if you’re not Catholic or at all religious, the topics discussed are helpful and sensible for pretty much anyone.  In addition to faith, here are the topics that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops consider as “must-have conversations” before couples get hitched:

  • Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Careers
  • Finances
  • Intimacy/Cohabitation
  • Children
  • Commitment
Vikki Ziegler shows brides-to-be how to
make marriage go swimmingly!

There, that wasn’t so scary, was it?  Heck, the book even goes into finance charts and lengthy questionnaires that can eliminate nasty postnuptial surprises. Yes, I hear all the romantics out there whining that this kind of preparation takes all the romance out of love.  Well, sorry to break it to you, folks, but fights, distrust, disillusionment, and divorce take the romance out of love, too.The Pre-Marital Planner provides smart answers to the fundamental matters that need to be addressed before you enter into the most important relationship in your life.