“Marriage is like sticking your tongue on a frozen flagpole,”, says Robin Williams as the Reverend Frank in the new movie “License to Wed”: It looks kinda fun and you want to give it a try, but then you’re stuck there.
From rings to registries and videographers to wedding planners, getting married is an estimated $161 billion industry in the U.S. But preparing for lifelong commitment often seems to fall by the wayside when couples are presented with the pressing concerns of party planning: Should the candy-coating on the dessert almonds be the same color as the dinner-menu cardstock?
Enter Reverend Frank, a clergyman of unspecified denomination who puts his charges through a series of tests — including an exercise in the diapering of urinating robotic twins — to earn the right to marry. By destroying their engaged bliss and nearly killing them in a blindfolded driving “trust” experiment, Reverend Frank and “License to Wed” give marriage preparation programs a bad name.
I got married on June 16 and our Catholic Engaged Encounter marriage preparation weekend was one of the best times of our year-long engagement. Marriage preparation courses are about shared values rather than simulated disaster drills, and are increasingly popular among couples from Christian, Jewish and even Muslim backgrounds.
I wrote this article in today’s Wall Street Journal about how couples in different faiths prepare to make a lifelong commitment.
Even wedding planners—ambassadors of the details for the celebration day itself—are encouraged when their clients take part in emotional preparations for the future. “Nearly all the couples I work with do some sort of marriage preparation, whether it’s a few meetings with the rabbi or a course through their church,” said Ellen Kostman of Sidekick Events in New York City. “My job is to make sure that the whole day goes smoothly, but it really compounds the beauty of the event to know that the couple is emotionally prepared for what lies ahead.”
And for those who don’t want to do a religious course, there are plenty of other marriage prep programs: Consider taking compatibility surveys offered by FOCCUS or PREPRARE/ENRICH.
For all those engaged couples out there, skip “License to Wed” and look into a local marriage preparation program … BEFORE you stick your tongue on that flagpoll.
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