Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, June 9, 2011

CAP Mariage, part 1

When we went in to the city hall to choose our wedding date, they gave us a folder full of useful wedding information, including a little postcard for an association called "Cap Mariage". The card said that once a month, the city hall and this association held a free information session to help newly-engaged couples understand the laws relating to marriage, to help them personalize their civil ceremony and to help them plan for their new life together. One of the sessions was last night, so I decided to go check it out.

Let me just say, it was NOT what I was expecting.

I was thinking it would be more-so like an informational fair, with booths set up in a big room. Instead, it ended up being like a small, intimate, pre-marital counseling session. My eyes just about bugged out when I entered the room - which was the room where we'll be married btw - and I saw all of the fancy armchairs had been arranged in small circle, and that there were four other couples sitting there, waiting for C & I to show up. Except C wasn't going to show up because he was working late and I hadn't realized it was a formal affair.

Everyone was looking at me, so I quick made up a little white lie about him getting held up at work and hopefully he would join the group later. (or not)

The group was being led by two older couples - one who had been married for 37 years and the other for 40 years. I was a bit worried at first that it was a religious thing, but then they explained a little bit more about the association, saying that it was a non-political secular association started in 1998 by a notaire in Bordeaux.

This notaire had been working on a lot of long, complicated divorces and was feeling rather depressed by the whole thing. She wondered by so many marriages were ending in divorce and what could be done about it? So she started the first CAP mariage, with the goal being to encourage couples to think what marriage really means to them, and to help them think about what kind of marriage they would like to have and how they are going to go about making it happen.

So it's kind of like a "light" version of the pre-marital counseling that is often required in the US for couples wanting a church wedding. And it's actually a very timely topic for us because it's been something we've been talking about doing. We are both 100% dedicated to making our marriage a long and fulfilling one, and have spent a lot of time talking about how we can make that happen.

Because of what happened with Fab, I've come to realize that a relationship takes work. You need to nurture it and make time for it, and not take your partner as a given. I'll go more tomorrow into what the actual meeting was like, but one of the main topics was the importance of having common goals as a couple. So it's almost funny when I look back and Fab & I and see that we wanted such very different things, in all aspects of life. We had different work goals (country vs. city), different home life goals (wife does the cooking/cleaning/child-rearing vs. shared responsibilities), different spare-time goals (drinking w/friends vs traveling). It was almost doomed from the beginning and meant one of us was bound to be unhappy (me) - but my romantic idea of love conquering all meant we avoided ever talking about these topics.

So the session brought up some interesting points, and tomorrow I'll share a few of them, as well as talk about the different ways the civil ceremony can be personalized to match your style. Link

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7 Comments:

Blogger kylie said...

Sounds like it turned out to be an interesting meeting. I look forward to hearing more about the meeting - I've not been to many French weddings (OK - one) and I never thought about having the opportunity to personalize the ceremony.

June 9, 2011 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Great idea to get the big issues straightened out beforehand. And some of the lesser ones too.

It sounds to have a very positive approach, this group.

June 9, 2011 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Really interesting post and I'm curious to hear more.

Pre-marital counselling was never for me, and I went through the whole getting married thing a lot differently than you, but I know such groups can be a great opportunity for some couples to talk about issues/ideas beforehand.

You and C are already good together, and this will only make you even better :)

June 9, 2011 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger jeannette said...

dude, i'm already sniffing. give my regards to your fellow argonauts and your teachers.
xxx

June 10, 2011 at 4:29 AM  
OpenID emmabovary said...

What you heard in this seminar and what you know already is indeed true at this point in your lives (pre-kids and pre-mutual assets). It's very much like forming a partnership and making sure the Other Person is on a similar page. I have a friend who is now going through a divorce at 50. He says he and his wife just don't have a 'common project' anymore now that the kids are grown. He realizes that they should have had something outside the children that bound them.

Values clarification...you are right to get these in order prior to taking the plunge.

June 10, 2011 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

It's really interesting you should bring that up Emma - it's one of the main pieces of advice I've been coming across online, ie that it's really important for couples to have common activities together outside of the kids so that they still have ties once the kids have flown the coop.

June 10, 2011 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

interesting. We didn't have anything like that for our civil ceremony planning.

June 12, 2011 at 10:53 AM  

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