The FOCCUS Test

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:

Foccus 1
This is what the screen looks like while you’re taking the test.

Foccus 2

Foccus 3

Foccus 4

Foccus 5

Foccus 6
(Source for all of the above)

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?

Learn more about our wedding prep here:
Catholic Ceremony Prep:  Pros and Cons
Engaged Enrichment Conference

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5 Comments

Filed under Ceremony

5 responses to “The FOCCUS Test

  1. kjpugs

    I kindddd of wish we could take this!!! I love quizzes and tests. This seems like it could be fun but also eye-opening.

  2. For some reason our priest said we didn’t have to do the foccus test (we’re like you guys – been together for five years and both of us are catholic). But we did have to do the CEE weekend (catholic engaged encounter). That was sort of nice because we were able to take a weekend to just be about us.

    Did you notice when you were taking the test that you and your fiance had already worked through the questions in the years you have been together? That was our feeling – “we have already talked about this.”

    Who’s excited for the hour+ long mass? Our priest promised to get though it in 45 min as there’s a Hawkeye vs. Michigan game going on during our ceremony….;-)

  3. stephanie

    for the heathens, the New York Times has like a list of ten issues you have to talk about with your partner before you get married. It’s interesting what is deemed a big thing by the modern world. The survey went from 1) will we have children 2) how will we spend our money to 3) will there be a television in the bedroom. and 4) do you have any diseases you haven’t told me about/ hereditary stuff our kids could get. Or something like that. Apparently these issues they told you to bring up are like the biggest dealbreakers. It was kind of fascinating to see the mix of the mundane and the profound. OK. I’m going back to that OTHER mix of mundane and profound that has eaten my life and won’t spit it back out.

  4. Nadine

    its probably because the number one thing couples fight about is money, followed closely by sex issues, and then kids — old school, old teaching, the test probably does need to be updated to take that ‘living in sin’ – ha ha condition into consideration!

  5. Belle

    We did the focus test and didn’t find it particularly helpful. I’m C of E and my h2b is Methodist. We have been together for 7 years, since we were teenagers and although we don’t live together we do COMMUNICATE. Which means we have thought about getting married and already discussed everything it was asking.
    On some questions like the one about whether you worry your in laws will interfer in your married life, I put agree and my h2b put disagree, it was flagged as something we need to discuss which was dumb because we have discussed it and although he asssures me his parents wont, he knows I worry about it. Also, the last time I looked worry was a feeling which wont necessarily disipate through discussion.

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