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Title: Ehe in Sprache
Subtitle: Ein pastoraler Projektversuch in de Ehevorbereitung
Author(s): FASEUR, Geert
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 5    Issue: 1   Date: 1999   
Pages: 52-58
DOI: 10.2143/INT.5.1.2014745

Abstract :
Summary Marriage in language: an experimental pastoral marriage prepara-
tion project

This paper summarizes the concept, the running and the experience of a pastoral marriage preparation seminar organised in connection with A. Paus’s article on the connection between marriage and language (cf. INTAMS review 3, 1997, 8-20). The experiment was undertaken of bringing together in the pastoral realm the two fundamental elements which are always given together in the linguistic event of the wedding vow: on the one hand the yet-to-be-completed working out of the vow in the temporal process of the actualisation of the marriage and on the other hand the linguistic and already fully perfected constitution of a new social reality which is more than just the sum of both partners.
In the seminar the participants work successively at three areas: communication, sexuality and tenderness, society and value judgements. In an initial step (communication) each partner is asked to put into writing his/her individual ideal of the marriage relation and to show it to the other. If after a while the partners repeat verbally what they have heard of the ideal of the other, it is clear that they have listened and interpreted selectively. A marriage vow formulated together then makes clear to the partners that they must establish their own communication community.
In a second stage the partners must make a note of their physical feelings over the duration of a week and then discuss them with each other. The variety of forms of emotional expression and physical feeling is again a guide for the shared formulation of a written marriage vow in the area of tenderness and sexuality, and – again with the help of language – both partners discover how they can find their way to a shared reality.
The same applies to the third area of study, where the partners are asked in the group to take up a position in a marriage vow with respect to a social context that questions the idea of a lifelong union. Each time the partners discover that their individual original relationship reality is built up through the exercise of the linguistic composition of a marriage promise. The marriage preparation described here sets the partners on the way to strengthening the identity of this reality, and during the wedding ceremony the resulting confirmation registers and becomes a fait accompli.

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