As many of you know, Dr. Groomy & I are having a full Catholic mass for our wedding ceremony. We are active members in our church and it was really important to us—and to our families—that our faith was a part of our wedding ceremony. So, with a Catholic mass comes Catholic Wedding Prep! I previously talked a little about that here and here, but today I thought I would talk about another big component of the wedding preparations…the FOCCUS Pre-Marriage Inventory, or FOCCUS Test.
FOCCUS stands for Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study. According to the FOCCUS website, “The FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory is not a test and is not used to predict marital success or failure. Rather, it is a tool used to help couples identify, discuss and work through important relationship issues before they get married.” Basically, it’s a set of 156 questions designed to get you and your partner talking about a lot of the things that go into making a marriage work. It’s created by a private company, FOCCUS Inc. USA, but has a lot of questions that lead back to some of the church’s teachings. A lot of the questions are pretty typical stuff—things about finances, having & raising children, etc., but there are also some off the wall-type questions too. Here’s a few examples I clipped while taking my test:
Truth? I laughed out loud at some of the questions. Another truth? Some of them were really thought-provoking. It was interesting to talk with Dr. Groomy about some of them and it really did facilitate communication.
So, after you take the test, our church has you meet with an older married couple to go over some of the things that might need to be discussed between you and your partner. We had a great time with them and they gave us lots of good pointers and tips (they were in their 60s and had been married for many many years). I did feel, however, that it was sort of hard to hear them comment on how we could communicate better when a) they don’t really know us and b) we’ve been living together for nearly 5 years. Example: they wanted to know how we planned to merge our finances after the wedding, since we had both said on our FOCCUS test that it hadn’t really been discussed. Well, the merging of our finances hadn’t really been discussed because we don’t plan to merge them right away. We both bank at the same bank and share an auto loan there, and how we’ve been doing it the last five years of living together works for us now. We plan to share the joint wedding account and eventually merge into that together, but we don’t feel we need to—or want to—do that yet. Still, that issue was pushed as something we need to continue to discuss and figure out.
All in all, I would say the FOCCUS test was a good experience, but perhaps better suited for couples who have never lived together before. A lot of it was about sharing space, learning argument styles, when the partner needs alone time, etc. Dr. Groomy and I already know that about each other because we have lived together for so long.
Did you take a FOCCUS test or something similar? What did you learn in your marriage prep?