In 1989 we were married at St Patrick's Catholic Church in NY. We had to attend to Pre Cana which is the Catholic premarital class. For four weekends we and about 10 other couples listened to varying priests talk about communication, commitment to the church and sex. Our class usually headed to the local bar afterwards LOL. During their chats on communication they discussed how little things could turn into big disagreements. Do you squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom or the middle, do you load the toilet paper over or under!!
When couples are filing for divorce I guarantee no one stated missing toothpaste caps as the center of their irreconcilable differences. Talking with friends of mine after money and family some of the worst arguments they have had has been over Laundry. I'm not talking about what kind of fabric softener is being purchased I'm talking about the actual chore of washing clothes.
Tell a newly engaged couple that they will actually yell at each other over how the laundry was done and they'll give you "that'll never be us" smile. Little do they know what lies around the bend. I can't tell you the amount of times Michael and I have gone more than a few rounds over the Laundry. "What do you mean you put in a couple of towels?" "You should be happy I did the wash" Oh it goes round and round and round.
~~I know some of you are giggling to yourself in agreement
Here in my glorious world I believe I have discovered the greatest way to determine if a couple really can/should get married. Decorate a room. I'm not talking about moving around furniture. I mean they need to start from scratch. After they've spent countless hours pouring over paint samples and deciding should they buy a matched set or pieces of furniture sit back and watch the fun. Sure the first hour or so it is fun but then oh then the reality of it all sets in. Taping the edges or not? Do you roll in a W or just up and down? Once they're done with that it is onto furniture. Being newlyweds money will be tight. Where can you get the most for your money.... IKEA. Four hours later after trying to follow "simple" instructions and searching for missing screws if they are still making lovey dovey eyes at each other and you've ruled out the use of opiates you can pretty much plan on attending their silver anniversary party. If they scream and yell at each other, you might want to walk away as we all know how heated up fighting can quickly turn into heated passion. However if nothing gets finished and they leave in separate cars cancel the babysitter there won't be a wedding.
22 years, 2 houses, tens of gallons of paint later we're still here. I paint in a W with thick coats of paint and Michael goes up and down spreading it out as much as possible. We've learned we each approach jobs differently. It's part of the process. I like to read instructions, as a male Michael finds it insulting. I've learned to load the toilet paper over, he's learned to squeeze from the bottom. So I think the Catholic Church is missing out on a real opportunity here. Don't give engaged couples a workbook and send them to a nice retreat instead lock them in the gym and put them to work redecorating the Sunday School Classes. Not only will the church be able to counsel these couples on communication skills but they'll always have updated classrooms in the process.