Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding & Study

FOCCUS is a valuable tool proven to help couples meeting one-on-one with a facilitating pastoral minister. The pre-marriage inventory is designed to provide each couple and a facilitator with a personalized profile that serves as both a starting place and a map of what issues and skills of the engaged couple need time and attention. Content for reflection and discussion opens up a process in which clergy or trained pastoral ministers facilitate discussion between the couple who can then further integrate new knowledge of each other gained through the FOCCUS inventory.

FOCCUS includes questions from critical topic areas, such as:

  • Life style expectations
  • Friends and interests
  • Personality match
  • Personal issues

It helps identify a couple’s skill development with regard to:

  • Communication
  • Problem solving

Insights relative to personal value systems are gained from the questions regarding:

  • Religion and values
  • Parenting issues
  • Extended family issues
  • Sexuality
  • Financial issues

FOCCUS also incorporates a series of questions for couples:

  • Entering an interfaith marriage
  • Entering a second marriage
  • Cohabiting

The Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study pre-marriage inventory is administered through your parish or witnessing clergy to further prepare you for your future married life. The FOCCUS inventory can assist you in identifying strengths and areas for growth in your relationship, areas of agreement or disagreement you may have with each other or with Church teachings, that is, areas that need more of your reflections and discussion.

Issues that may require more consultation

Should you experience more significant tensions or challenges, you may benefit from reviewing your concerns with a professional counselor. Catholic Charities has counselors available:

During the course of your preparation, the pastoral minister may perceive there is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Such a situation may involve theological, medical, or psychological consultation.

When this occurs, the pastoral minister is required to refer such concerns to be reviewed through a process that has been established in the diocese where your preparation is taking place.

In such circumstances the witnessing clergy may inform you that the marriage preparation process will have to be extended. It is your right to appeal directly to the Bishop or his representative if you wish. Couples are encouraged to complete FOCCUS with their clergy before attending the Marriage Preparation Program of their choice. With new insight into themselves, these couples report having stronger motivation to relate topics under discussion at their Marriage Preparation Program to their relationship.FOCCUS can be administered by the witnessing clergy at the rectory or by lay marriage ministers who have attended the special training workshop. There is a nominal charge for materials and processing of the results into an easy to use printed form.

Available in English and Spanish versions, and Vietnamese, Braille, and audio-cassette (for those with limited reading abilities). F.O.C.C.U.S. esta escrito en Ingles, Espanol, Vietnamis, tanto como en Braille existe en audio-cassett.