Pre-Cana: Intimacy

On Tuesday we went to our third Pre-Cana group meeting and I was so not into it. The two times before we had been super stoked about it, looking forward to sitting around with other engaged couples, laughing about chore lists, and doing other nerdy couple-y worksheets and group exercises. But this time I was just tired and busy and really didn’t want to spend the time re-affirming how much Kamel and I already rule.

But, we went anyway because it’s one of those things where if we cancel, the entire class is canceled and then we drag it out one week longer. Nobody wants to be that guy. So, we trekked off to Sausalito where the session leader’s house is, and I consoled myself by looking forward to the free snacks, and knowing that if anything, we could just float through this one class.

This week the topic was Sex and Intimacy and I was so not in the mood. (That’s what she said. ZING!) I bit my lip and shoved my nails into the palm of my hand so as not to bust out with a giggle every time they used the term, “Making love” and tried so hard not to picture our leader couple (who are 51 and 52, respectively) having sex as they told us the ins and outs of what they struggled with sexually in the beginning of their marriage. Sigh. I failed at that part. I couldn’t help it! How do you NOT picture people having sex when it’s all they are talking about?! Answer me that!! Ugh. Ok. On to the point.

One of the exercises we did had to do with different types of intimacy. Did you know there are tons? Every aspect of your relationship has different levels of how close you are and how much you share. Are you extra intimate when it comes to commitment? (Which is: a sense of being “for” each other, trust, investment in the ongoing growth of the relationship) Or maybe it’s how you handle conflict, or what you appreciate aesthetically (Sharing experiences of beauty – music, nature, art, theater, dance, movies). There are 14 different sections of intimacy that we reviewed and then had to pick the one where we are strongest, and the one we haven’t really explored yet.

In order to do coupling in the class, each group goes to a separate corner and fills out the forms, discusses an then comes back for group discussion. So Kamel and I were sitting on the stairs while first marking which we thought was our main connectivity point, and what we thought … wasn’t.

Kamel said that our strongest place of intimacy was “Creative Intimacy” (Sharing in acts of creating together, parenting and other ventures, mutually feeding each other so that each can realize his/her potentialities as a person). I had thought about picking that one, it was definitely in my top two. But I chose “Recreational Intimacy” (Relating in experiences of fun and play), which may seem kind of meh, but not to me. My whole life I have wanted a buddy, a playmate. And I have amazing best friends, but they are not always here, they have their own lives and their own life plans. Kamel is my buddy. We want the other with us when we’re having fun, when we need to cuddle, when I hate the world (and even when we hate each other). As I’m writing this it just seems so “duh”, but it’s better than just the obvious. We play together and we’re really good at it. He makes me laugh until I pee, he sings a line and then waits for me to finish the other line, he gets my obsessive need for candy at movies, we play.

When we discussed our choices Kamel had thought about picking mine, but obviously thought his was better until I explained my logic.

“Creative Intimacy is what made me fall in love with you from the beginning, that’s deep down in our roots,” I said, “But … I think… Recreational Intimacy is… it’s why I want to spend the rest of my life with you. You’re my buddy.”

That totally got him. And I left the session feeling kind of euphoric and lovely. I discovered something pretty about our relationship, and I wasn’t even in the mood.

30 thoughts on “Pre-Cana: Intimacy”

  1. Oh, thanks for posting this πŸ˜‰ . Sounds like your Pre Cana goes a lot more into depth than ours did. I can relate to the part of wanting a playmate, when I was 10 or 12 I always dreamt about having a boy best friend, lucky now I found him, except we met when I was 26 hehe !
    So glad you had a nice experience even after not really being in the mood !

  2. Hey,

    Do you have a link to the intimacy type list? It sounds a lot better than the things we got at our pre-marriage guidance which was so outdated and actually quite sexist. It sounds like thinking about the different types of intimacy and how we see us as a couple would be a good thing to do before our wedding in sept.

    Thanks x

    1. Thirded. Your pre-cana classes sound so interesting, I’d really like to take one! (Despite not wanting to get married in the Church. Or, you know, being engaged.)

  3. I don’t know what all the other types of intimacy are, but I can already tell you I would pick the recreational intimacy. Everything you describe, that’s us to a tee.

    Sounds like a really valuable experience, I kinda wish we’d done something similar.

    1. Ah yes. Well! the things we ended up not being so good with were things that weren’t such a big deal. Kamel thought that because we don’t enjoy the same movies or books that that was an intimacy issue, but I disagreed and said that the fact that we understand each other and know what each likes and dislikes shows that we DO have intimacy, and that intimacy doesn’t mean always agreeing but instead sharing something you don’t let everyone see. I said that the place we were not super strong with was conflict because we haven’t really gone through any massive tragedies. There have been some deaths, but nothing like a sibling or a parent dying, and there really hasn’t been anything unforeseen. But I can guarantee there will be.

    1. E-mailing you! I’ve always been curious about pre-cana, but have heard mixed things about how useful it is. This exercise actually sounds really intriguing and helpful! I’ve never thought of intimacy as being so multifaceted i.e. about more than sex, cuddling, sharing secrets, etc.

      Makes me wonder what B. and I would pick as an area in which we could improve… I might say conflict, too, since we just don’t have much in our day-to-day lives… but we have also experienced some scary, stressful sh*t, which did bring us closer.

  4. Oh man, I would’ve died listening to anyone talk about “making love.” Liked chewed-the-inside-of-my-cheeks-off-died. There is no way you can’t not think about them doing it.

    But the types of intimacy thing sounds incredibly interesting. I really relate to the playmate/buddy thing! As 2 only children, I think this might be #1 for us too. It’s funny cause although we’re both super creative people, that area is a huge challenge for us and it’s definitely something to think about…

    Ok, gonna email you for a copy. πŸ™‚

  5. that sounds beautiful, lauren. isaiah and i are the same way…i am NOT excited for pre-marital counseling, lady! ha, too much thinking and thinking and thinking and my mind is already thinking about this shit all day as it is, ha.

  6. I totally get the buddy thing. My husband and I call each other “buddy” (or “bud” or “budro” – where do we come up with this stuff?) instead of things like “babe” or “sexy.” And it feels more intimate. He is my total partner-in-crime… involving precious little actual crime, of course. I was an only child, so I always wanted that perma-friend. Now I totally have one, and it is better than I could have imagined, even when it sucks.

    1. It’s the marriage prep program in the catholic church. For us that means several meetings with a guy who works at the parish (sometimes this can be a priest or a deacon as well) and then we have 4 meetings with other engaged couples and a leading married couple. It’s honestly rather fun. πŸ™‚

      1. Wow! That’s pretty awesome. Is this part of the, like, sacrament? Like taking lessons before that one you do in your teens? (Sorry I really don’t totally know what I’m talking about!) Or is it something that only specific catholic churches do if you want to get married in them?

        1. It’s something you have to go through before the sacrament, yes. And it varies from parish to parish on how it’s handled, but it’s required to get married in the catholic church across the board (with exceptions, I’m sure…. involving money.)

  7. I wish that we had pre-cana over a series of classes instead of crammed into a 72 hour retreat. I also wished we had gone over these different types of intimacy instead of hearing the “natural method” speech. I love the type of intimacy you chose, because it’s definitely how I feel about the hubs. It’s weird to find someone who is not only your best friend, but a boy who you’re also attracted to, win win!

  8. I am way late reading this but my wife and I are getting ready to present the Intimacy portion of precanna. We are the 50+ couple. It would be very helpful if you could send us the 14 sections from your Precanna. Even if you could send the list of section titles that would be helpful.

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