Brides-to-be share marriage prep experiences

Editor’s note: Two brides-to-be shared their marriage prep experiences with the Sun. Click here to find answers to frequently asked questions about marriage prep in the diocese.

Angela Freeman and Sam Donnelly IV are set to marry June 23, 2018, at Holy Cross Church in DeWitt. Freeman shared the following with the Sun via email.

How did you meet?

   We first met in 10th grade English class, at Bishop Grimes Jr./Sr. High School in East Syracuse. Sam had just transferred to B.G. from another school. I apparently raised my hand to correct the teacher, and Sam immediately decided I was annoying. I didn’t like him much at first, either! We didn’t start dating until years later, after becoming friends, graduating high school, and then attending and graduating from different colleges. We began dating in November of 2016, the fall that Sam began grad school.

What was the prep experience like for you?

   My fiance and I weren’t sure what to expect when we signed up for our Marriage Prep class. I envisioned something along the lines of the 5-hour DMV course I took to obtain my driver’s license. I figured that Sam and I would show up, watch a video or some slides, and walk out with a certificate at the end stating that we were officially “marriage prepped.”

   Instead, the marriage prep class we attended was a pleasant surprise! There were several highlights — Sam’s spirits rose as soon as he saw the spread of danishes, cinnamon rolls, and other pastries, and I was glad to see Father [Joseph] Clemente, who I knew from my time in the youth group at St. Matthew’s in East Syracuse. Chris and Linda Padgett led the class in a series of anecdotes and conversation-starters, which they then turned over for us couples to discuss. Sam and I had talked about many of the topics already, but made a few new discoveries about our first impressions of each other, financial priorities, and hopes for the future.

   We ended the class with adoration and the opportunity to attend confession. Sam and I are always busy, and usually in different cities, so having contemplative time built into the day was a great escape from wedding planning, grad school, and everything else we juggle on a daily basis. After attending confession and hearing Chris and Linda’s closing remarks, we left the class feeling renewed as a couple.”

What was the most helpful part?

   Probably the financial worksheets — we filled them out individually and then compared answers. It sparked a lot of good discussion between us as a couple. We also loved having time set aside for prayer — we sat in the chapel, held hands, and prayed for each other and for our marriage. Chris and Linda had good advice to share about “dreaming together” as a couple.

Any advice for couples embarking on prep?

   Keep an open mind. Bring questions about marriage that you’ve come up with together. Be prepared to laugh!

Jamie Maccarone and Steven Fresina are set to marry July 28, 2018, at St. Cecilia’s Church in Solvay. Maccarone shared the following with the Sun via email.

What was the prep experience like for you?

   My fiance and I had a wonderful experience. The course allowed us to speak openly, and in a comfortable manner about situations, ideas, thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams we would not prior to taking the course. The presenters were fantastic, and I hope that my future is as beautiful as theirs. God truly is the center of all relationships, and this course exemplified this in a true fashion. The course was organized perfectly, and we are a stronger couple because of it.

What was the most helpful part?

   I feel the most helpful part was the speaker’s stories and guiding us to hold conversations among ourselves. They gave us scenarios to discuss and reflect on. Their real-life stories and how they worked through them, and the love they have for one another was inspiring. The lasting impact would always be to use communication and faith to guide our relationship. Knowing that every day might not be sunny, and full of hope and greatness, but the days where we are struggling, we need to turn to one another. Knowing that we can fall back on one another is powerful and empowering.