MOST couples dread the notion of a pre-marriage course before walking down the aisle and not many would readily submit to a ‘relationship bootcamp’ to be played out on television.
Limerick couple Angela Heaney and Jonathan Hazlett did just that and the results will be broadcast on RTÉ2’s documentary Then Comes Marriage? this Thursday night at 9pm.
The hour long one off show gave three couples the opportunity to prepare for their future lives together by tackling issues from personal finances to family planning.
Jonathan, 30, who works for FRS Recruitment on Barrington Street and is from Greystones and Angela, originally from Ballyhaunis, a pharmacy technician working in Hogan’s Pharmacy, are due to get married in May and put themselves forward for the show. They were selected from more than 120 applicants.
Jonathan said that the three day bootcamp produced “a lot of tears and hard questions” but was a “brilliant experience”.
“In the run up to it, I didn’t know if it was something I wanted to do, but when we finished it, I said it had probably been the best experience of my life - genuinely, I mean that,” he said.
“The way they described it was that couples prepare so long for the wedding and the build-up to it that when that is over, they haven’t really prepared for their life together.
“A lot of people might think this is going to be a fun, easy to watch show, but there is a lot of tears.”
The couple have been together for three years and identified some flaws through the sessions with psychologist Allison Keating and psychoanalyst Ray O’Neill.
“It was very probing, a lot of questions around finance, which we would be very loose with,” he explained.
“But the more I thought about it, I realised that there are probably couples out there like myself and Angela who don’t have this opportunity to talk about these things, so maybe it was a way of helping other couples who are struggling.”
The Limerick man admitted that he was “a bit worried about seeing it”, and of his parents and future in-laws’ potential reaction.
“There is a talk that involves sex toys and lingerie - my parents are going to be watching it, but they are well prepared,” he laughed. “I think as a whole we are very excited about it, it is not an opportunity that comes knocking very often, and we learnt a lot from it.”