CAP Mariage, part 2
So the first part of the meeting went over the actual legal articles that would be read during the ceremony. They have to be read by law, and I think the majority of people probably just listen to the Mayor drone on without ever really thinking about what they are actually committing themselves to do. For examples, Article 212 of the civil code:
Spouses owe to each other (by law): respect, fidelity, help and assistance.
As a group, we defined what each of those meant and then each couple had to put them in order of priority for themselves. And it's true, each of those words has several meanings. Respect can be respect for one another, respect for the couple (by making time for each other, not working too much, etc), respect for the common goals you have.
Interestingly enough, some of the ideas that came up for fidelity were not only sexual fidelity but also emotional fidelity. Not telling more to a co-worker than you tell to your spouse for example. And again, fidelity to the couple, meaning prioritizing the relationship by not working til 10pm every night, not going out with friends all the time, etc. And later on, fidelity to the family unit, meaning doing your best to provide for your family, being an active parent, spending time with your children, and so on.
Help and assistance both seemed very similar to me, but help was explained as aiding the person in times of need, for example during periods of unemployment or rough times at work. Whereas assistance was considered to be more of a moral support.
And then we did the same exercise for the rest of the articles of law that will be read during the ceremony. I actually think it was a good idea, because now those articles will actually have some sort of meaning for us.
After that, the two couples spoke about their own experiences and the struggles they've encountered during the almost 40 years of marriage they'd had. One of the women was particularly feisty and kept saying things like "les gosses peuvent foutre le bordel au mariage" (basically, kids can f*ck up a marriage) and that the four main topics that cause problems are "le fric, les mômes, la belle-famille et les vacances" (money, kids, in-laws and vacations). It was pretty funny to hear this little old bourgeois lady talking in slang - and I especially had to laugh at the last bit. Only in France would vacation be a source of disputes!
They also talked a lot about what happens when the honeymoon period is over and what comes after - which is apparently something called "la période de désenchantement" by French psychologists, and has you feeling depressed about the realization that you are now stuck with this imperfect person for the rest of your life. Not the way I would've put it, but it did lead to some interesting discussion about how you can't change your spouse, you can only change how you react to them.
Which is something I've been thinking a lot about lately, for example when it comes to C's driving. The man has so many other great qualities that outweigh this tiny negative one, and those are what I need to focus on when we're driving two miles an hour down the freeway. It's still a work in progress for me, but like they said, it's all part of accepting your partner for who he is, not who you want him to be. C doesn't get all annoyed with me when I have my cranky pants on (or at least he's really good at hiding it), and I would like to be able to do the same for him.
Whew, this is getting long....and is probably boring for a lot of you who don't give a damn about weddings, so I'll continue the rest in another post. Hopefully this information will be useful to someone out there though.
Labels: Franco-American weddings