Earlier this week, I had dinner with two dear friends in Georgetown. And as the cold winds howled outside, we huddled in front of the fireplace munching on crab cakes and cheeseburgers and friend M told terrifying ghost stories. And by that I mean she told me about the first two weeks of her pre-Cana experience.
You see M and I got engaged within a month of each other. She too was raised a good Catholic girl and wants a full mass for the wedding ceremony. And she too has a fiancé who each time he starts talking in front of the priest runs the risk of having their wedding abruptly relocated to the Lil’ Chapel o’ Dashed Expectations. In her case, her non-Catholic fiancé is well within his rights to be expressing mystification with the tenets of the Catholic faith, because it’s the first time he’s hearing them. Mine has no such defense. He’s just being ornery. But the end result is the same: at some point in the last two months both M and I have hissed, at least once, with the urgency of the ringleader of an imminent bank heist: “Just keep your yap shut and we won’t have any problems.”
We start pre-Cana in two weeks. As dinner was winding down, M warned me with the solemnity of a senior camp counselor cautioning a junior camp counselor about the risk of lockjaw during a blowjob that we might get a copy of a book called Marriage is for Keeps plunked in our hands. The best part of this tome? Not the admonition that looking at Playboy or the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition mean the relationship is seriously flawed. (Yes, that’s really in there.) Rather, the highlight appears to be the section on natural family planning.
For those of you going to hell because you’re actually trying to prevent blessed miracles from entering your life, this approach relies on monitoring one’s various bodily fluctuations to determine the pitch-perfect time to make a baby. It requires the woman take her temperature every morning, on the theory that elevated body temperature means it’s go-time for Jesus lovers. And, in a present to cynical bridal bloggers everywhere, it advises the husband-to-be that while his wife-to-be is taking her temperature, he would be well advised to…wait for it…spend the time praying.
Across the table, friend A thanked her lucky stars that her parents had the good sense to be Methodist.