Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Friday, June 10, 2011

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.



Blogger prestose said...

Bon courage! I wish you the very best--you're right that that your reactions to your partner's behavior are the ones that have to be changed. It me several years of not understanding that point, but after almot 48 years, I think I've got it!

June 10, 2011 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger meredith said...

In 10 years, C's driving may be THE thing that drives you bananas, but having thought through that now, you also may be avoiding it coming to that point in the first place. This CAP sounds like a good program.

June 10, 2011 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Juli said...

B's driving makes me want to rip my arm off and beat myself to death with it.

June 10, 2011 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Pardon My French said...

The feisty woman knows what she's talking about, IMO, though obviously she's never bought a crappy house and had to fix it up because otherwise that would be on the list too. Welcome to the world of fighting over saving money by taking your kids (and you) to vacation at the in-laws -- notice that all four are in there! ;) You've already been on vacation with the in-laws, if I remember, because otherwise I'd recommend that so you *really* know what you're getting into, lol.

June 10, 2011 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

So interesting, thanks so much for sharing. I'm in my early to mis 20s and would like to get married one day, but I think I'm pretty realistic about how marriage is a process and a job. This makes me hopeful that one can both work hard at a marriage while also enjoying it.

June 10, 2011 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I don't know when the honey moon period ends according to french psychologists, but i'd reckon it must be somewhere around the beginning of year 3.
Pardon my French took the words right out of my mouth -- the crappy house, the vacation with the in-laws and all.
But at the end of the day when your feet are cold and you're laying in bed, you'll snuggle up to him and be happy for that baby that never sleeps, and the house with never ending projects, because at least you've both committed to being in it together.
I think you two are going to have a beautiful life together, and that you certainly deserve it.

June 10, 2011 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Good luck to you!

The driving might bother you now, but when you have kids, you might like it.

I used to love that my husband drove fast and a little reckless, but as soon as I was pregnant, it didn't seem so great to me anymore. And he wouldn't slow down or stop cutting people off. I had to live with it or drive myself on all long family trips, pregnant, nursing or otherwise.

June 10, 2011 at 6:57 PM  
Blogger Cécy said...

I think it's great that you're doing this and that it's bringing a conversation with C. I find it really interesting to discuss what the law means. I think I would have been interested with that had it been offered in the US. We got married at the courthouse and I never even understood what the magistrate said in his 40 seconds "you're now married" speech....

And yes marriage takes work. I learned that from my parents marriage and we're trying hard with my husband to alway communicate and share things to grow together.

June 11, 2011 at 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting that you're analyzing so thoroughly the articles.
I guess as long as you're wide awake when you go into such a thing as marriage.
Good luck!

June 11, 2011 at 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not at all boring. it was explained to me that the french are very, very cray cray in many many ways, but that their society works. i think you're writing about the care the elder couples are taking to teach the younger, and the younger to pay attention to the law parts and the elders, is really touching. i am so glad to think that france is giving you this gift (as well as the hubs), and that you are sharing it with us. merci.

June 12, 2011 at 5:10 AM  
Blogger Bostanna said...

I think I said it before but I will say it again....I think the fact that he is French and drives nice and slow and what I assume is carefully is a strong positive! Most French I know speed and tailgate and it terrifies me when I am in the passanger seat....especially if it's as a passanger in a small death mobile like they tend to drive!

June 12, 2011 at 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could have chosen a spouse who hurtled at 98 mph down on the wrong side of the road on country lanes while cleaning his glasses with one hand and scrabbling around on the floor for a pen he'd dropped. I did. Count your more leisurely blessings. :)

June 13, 2011 at 6:10 PM  

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