FOCCUS Marriage Preparation

A couple before being irritated by FOCCUS
A lot of material has been written about Marriage Care, on the way in which, over the years, it has experienced a steady decline/freefall in reflecting Church Teaching on the Sanctity of Marriage.

I don't know too much about the background of that. I'm a new kid on the blog and all I can say is that, as someone preparing for marriage, and having paid up the £75 for the privilege of being prepared for something for which I am told that nothing can prepare you, it is a shambles.

Apparently, we will receive 3 sessions of pre-marriage preparation, after which I'll probably turn around and say, "Thanks for that. I'm still skint anyway so the marriage looks a long way off. Do you have 25p, please, I need some Rizla papers."  I have been told by others who have gone through it that it really is a case of 'ticking boxes', that there's no real Catholicism in it. No wonder families are falling apart at a rate of knots, rather than the knots being actually tied!

I was shocked to learn that the Marriage Care organisation sends its 'clients' on to FOCCUS, an online questionnaire, for a 'Pre-Marriage Inventory'. Have these people no brains? Immediate questions that spring to mind are:

  • What if I didn't know how to use a computer?
  • What if I was too poor to own a computer and internet?
  • What if I had not been educated in online/internet shenanigans?
  • And, moreover, what on earth am I doing, filling in an inventory online for some company FOCCUS Inc, in the USA?! Am I an American? Who on earth is this company that Marriage Care have leapt into bed with just to do a psychological/compatibility questionnaire? What with being experts in marriage after God alone knows how many years, you'd have thought that they could think a pre-marriage inventory up themselves and have you fill it out at one of their sessions!
My fiancee has filled in hers online and my password has expired. I was about half way through. So, they've just emailed to say, that in order to reset my password, her password has to be re-set too, which means she has to do it all over again as well! Great! Well, isn't online technology just making everything so much easier!?

Surely, surely, Marriage Care could just send couples a preparatory questionnaire document that we can fill in or perhaps their own internet thing without assuming that EVERYONE uses the internet. There are still some trees left in the World, Marriage Care! Sack this US company off because they're a pile of balls! £75 for this crap and I was going broke at the time as well! Is this company just out to FOCCUS?!


In the name of all that is sacred!!
pelerin said…
I was wondering what had happened to the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council which provided invaluable advice (completely free if I remember correctly) on all aspects of marriage in the early 1960s. I see that that has now become Marriage Care with help for all young couples irrespective of religious affiliation.

From your comments it appears that Church teaching does not seem to be being applied under 'Marriage Care', whereas in my day we had access to Catholic Doctors and other experts to help us enter a truly happy Catholic marriage.
Annie said…
FOCCUS? I thought it was a joke, and it really is. Are you seriously expected to jump through those kind of pathetic psychobabble hoops before you can get married? And for £75? That's actually scandalous.
PaulineG said…
It may well be worse than what was available in the '60s but it has to be better than what we were offered in the '80s.

In response to a request to the priest for marriage preparation we were informed we were 'big enough and old enough' to know what we were doing.

Subsequently we were each treated to a few snippets of advice. I managed to permanently delete all of this from my memory but my husband recently reminded me that I was informed:

"A man likes to come home to a tidy house".

So, Laurence, after that experience my sympathy on this one is limited.

If this helps in any way to explore in advance aspects of your characters or expectations which could cause difficulties down the line then I think you should grin and bear it. Your marriage may be the stronger for it.

I wish you both well and will keep you in my prayers.
PeterN said…
I use Foccus for preparing couples for marriage. It costs them £15 and they fill out paper forms. We meet once a week over two or three weeks to look at areas of disagreement that have come to light. As we go through the questions, I give them various tips and ways of solving problems and dealing with communication barriers. Foccus is an excellent tool if used properly. Sorry you had such a bad experience. I've used it successfully for about ten years with couples and they have all responded positively.