Marriage and Psychological Testing

Not only will many readers here have direct experience with decades of marriage themselves, of ministering to those engaged, or of officiating at weddings—a good number will be 18-22 year old persons themselves who will have an interest in marriage (as they may be considering it someday), and at least until the end of the semester of psychological testing (as they are in my class). Once again the Venn Diagrams of Psychology and Spirituality come together. Because of the high divorce rate, churches and synagogues in the past several decades have increasingly turned to resources from psychology in order to help couples who are preparing for marriage to get a clearer understanding of what lies ahead of them. Pre-Cana programs in the Catholic church may include having each person take the FOCCUS Inventory. Here is what one young person wrote about the FOCCUS process:

I took the FOCCUS test in January and we just got our results, we scored high! But we were also honest. The best thing to do is to be honest, it will really help find where the two of you stand in particular areas of a marriage. I'm not Catholic, so this test is given in all types of churches, in fact our instructor in our class was saying that it is given in many different places (counseling, churches, etc...) I know most people think its ridiculous to take this test but I think it's a great idea. Many people now a days expect or don't expect certain things in a marriage, therefore end up in divorce, as you see. There could be a particular subject that you hadn't discussed really that could end up being a huge problem in your marriage, such as finances and budgets.

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To me, I'm glad we took this test, seems that Jim and I are pretty compatible!

As students who take courses in psychological testing learn, the interpretation of psychological tests by someone with experience and training is often more important than the fact of the test or of the results given. One aspect of the FOCCUS program is trained examiners who can weave in test findings with their own sacramental understanding of marriage itself and a good knowledge of the couples who are preparing for marriage. For my own knowledge as well as for all of the 18-22 year olds reading today, I'd be very interesting in hearing from America readers who have worked in pre-Cana programs, whether they used FOCCUS or not. Another psychological test frequently used in marriage preparation (though not specifically in pre-Cana, I think) is the Sixteen Person Factors Inventory. Here is an example of psychological testing results used along with pre-marital counseling, from a standard textbook in the field:

Sue and Jim took tests as part of the pre-marriage program at their Church. The counselor met individually with each of them first--to go over their findings and then to obtain permission to share the findings in the joint meeting. Feedback to each person included relationship feedback and personality ratings.

Overall, Sue was 'very satisfied with the relationship. She believed she and Jim shared a great deal together, much caring and affection, good communication, and a fair division of roles. One area where she was 'a little unsatisfied' was in the area of finances. She believed that more money needed to be saved for the future; she was not happy that Jim had recently bought a $32,000 sports vehicle.

Sue's personality feedback included a high score on the Extraversion factor; indeed she has many friends and activities in her life. She presented herself as 'no more stressed' than most people. She scored higher on 'receptive' traits than 'tough minded' ones, suggesting an openness to different ideas, people, or situations. She came across as highly independent, as one who actively attempts to control others and her environment. She is experimenting and has an inquiring mind. Sue is more self-controlled and restrained, and her desire to save for the future is one aspect of this quality.

Jim's profile came back differently. In terms of the relationship, he noted that he was 'satisfied'--not quite as enthusiastic an endorsement as Sue. Although he was 'satisfied' with time together and caring and affection, he was 'unsatisfied' with division of roles, extended family, and finances.

In terms of 'couples comparison,' some major trends include the following: Sue tends to be more social, gregarious, and extraverted than Jim. In terms of anxiety, Jim is the more anxious and stressed of the two. Sue is more independent than Jim, and does not need as much regular affirmation of her self-worth from others or activities.

The counselor went over all of the test data with Sue and Jim. They agreed they had very different ideas about saving for the future. Jim noted, 'I get alot of enjoyment from my hobby with cars, and since I am paying for it myself, I think I have a right to this.' The counselor noted that because Sue gets a great deal of satisfaction from her social life, she may not have to purchase 'things.' Another area the counselor brought up for discussion was whether Jim goes along with Sue's plans without expressing his opinions. They both agreed that this occurs. When the counselor brought up the topics of extended families as well as how each felt about having children, Jim laughed and said 'There's alot to talk about here' while Sue remained surprisingly quiet.

Together, Sue and Jim decided that they would benefit from several more counseling sessions to talk about the concerns raised by the testing.

My own bias regarding psychological testing is that it should only be done when it provides information that can't be provided by more direct means. Binet came up with the idea for an "intelligence test" when parents, teachers and physicians in Paris could not agree on how to provide the right education for particular children. The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) or Beck Hopelessness Scale came about when psychiatrists and psychologists could not agree on important diagnoses and prognoses through interviews. In an ideal church, the experiences of the married couples and sacramental ministers themselves might be enough of a source of wisdom and guidance for those planning to marry. But this is a complex world, with a high divorce rate. Do you think psychological testing can add to, in Cardinal O'Connor's phrase, the sacramental resources of religion itself?

William Van Ornum

 

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Lauren Orichio
6 years 6 months ago
According to the information posted by Joey #34, the FOCUS testing seems to be something that could prove extremely beneficial for couples about to take vows for the highest form of committment to one another. I feel like this something that could be very useful in combatting the entirely too high divorce rate in the United States. I have often wondered about a way that this problem could be solved, not only for the sacred nature in which we should view that committed relationship in America, but for the children that these split marriages affect. Studies show that the only good time for children to experience a divorce is preschool or under, or when they go to college. My guess is that most parents do not limit their split to those specific times in most cases. Children of America could benefit greatly from more couples taking this psychological test before saying ''I do.''
However, I feel that since there are a lot of factors that go into a psychological test not yeilding correct results, such as the bias of the participants to give answers that might yield the best results for their goal, I think that this test should be used in conjunction with other programs. This test might work well as a supplement to a program that has older experienced couples talk to younger couples about the challenges that they have faced in their years of marriage. The test could just be one form of information used for a couple to gain insight into whether or not they should take the important step of marriage.  
Joseph Komorowski
6 years 6 months ago
It should say Divorce not Divoce in the second sentence.  Sorry!
Jaclyn Greiner
6 years 6 months ago
       I agree with Erin # 30 although I do not think it is necessary for all couples to go through testing before marriage I do think there are some benefits of a procedure like this. In today’s society many people are getting married for all the wrong reasons and too soon. I believe that psychological testing like the example of Sue and Jim would allow couples to see what their problems and differences are before they go through with tying the knot. The results of the tests can show couples what they need to work on and what might cause problems for them in the future if they do not address these issues now. To me this can be extremely helpful for couples who have not been together for that long of a time but yet feel that they are ready to get married. If couples can see their different wants and priorities before they get married they may reconsider or they may be able to work things through before they get married so that problems won’t arise during their marriage that could lead to divorce.
       In a research article done on the predictive validity of FOCCUS the author discusses how the point of FOCCUS is to give couples a way to assess their relationship. By going over results this test “helps a couple discuss and explore their relationship’s strengths and areas for growth.” (Williams, & Jurich, 1995) FOCCUS is now the most widely used assessment for the Catholic Church it was “developed to reflect the most current body of knowledge on what is necessary for a successful marriage.” (Williams, & Jurich, 1995) FOCCUS contains 15 categories including, personality match, marriage covenant, life style expectations, communication and other things of that nature. This study on FOCCUs showed that the FOCCUS scores “were able to predict successfully in 67.65 – 73.9% of the cases (depending upon the scoring method used) the couples with high quality marriage versus those with poor quality marriages.”(Williams, & Jurich, 1995) To me this shows that FOCCUS assessment is actually very useful and pretty valid. The research results also showed that couples that ended up having successful marriages scored higher than those who did not. To me this shows that programs like this can be very beneficial to people who are thinking about getting married so they can learn more about each other.

Williams, L, & Jurich, Joan. (1995). Predicting marital success after five years: assessing the predictive validity of foccus. Journal of Martial and Family Therapy, 21(2), Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.online.library.marist.edu/docview/220969233/abstract/12E8BCF33B1754FAB9/1?accountid=28549
Lauren Palmiere
6 years 6 months ago
I think the concept of using psychological testing to determine if two people are compatible or not is extremely interesting. I have heard of different religion affiliations asking their couples to take tests to prove their compatibility before the marriage ceremony is performed, but I have not heard of this before. Even though at first this idea may be a bit extreme, I think it may work for some people. If a couple has trouble communicating with one another, I think this test can help them open up and express their ideas and concerns for the future. The answers given on the test can promote necessary conversations to occur and therefore couples can solve issues before heading into marriage.
I think churches should use psychological testing before allowing a couple to get married because of the extremely high divorce rates today. More couples are beginning to jump into marriage without learning all they can about their partner and therefore more divorces can occur because the couples are not as compatible as they could be.
As I begin to think about marriage, I do not want to make the wrong choice about my spouse especially if I have concerns in the back of my head. Psychological testing can be useful because I can learn more about my future spouse before marriage and we will be able to work out issues before they destroy our relationship.
The psychological testing seems to be working for some couples. The couple in the article, Sue and Jim seemed to benefit from their testing experience. They were both able to open up about their financial concerns and they realized what needed to be done before marriage was the right step for them.
I think that psychological testing such as the FOCCUS Inventory can only benefit couples if they are honest. As long as the people involved state their true emotions, then the test can benefit them. People may be able to learn about themselves as well as their partner. I think that this testing can allow people to learn about areas they need to work on before they make a big leap into marriage.  
Brandy Gang
6 years 6 months ago
               This is a very interesting topic to me, of course because one day I hope to get married myself. You would think that those getting married would know everything about the other person, but sometimes this is not always the case. This is shown in the Sue and Jim case. Each person had no understanding of the other’s unhappiness in a certain area of their relationship. Through counseling they were able to learn of the parts of their relationships that they need to work on as a couple. I believe this is a very good thing to do for a couple planning to get married. It helps them to see the flaws in their relationship so they can make changes a head of time so the problems do not lead to a divorce later.
                I have a friend who has recently gotten married and she told me about counseling that she had to go through in order to get married at the church they wanted to. She said it was really good for them because it helped them to see what they needed to work on in their relationship in order to make it last for as long as they wanted it to. She talked about how the priest pinpointed every little detail that they had never thought about discussing outside of counseling and they talked about it in great detail. She shared that the counseling sessions they had to go to really helped her and her husband form a closer bond with one another.
Erin Graetzer
6 years 6 months ago
    I think the idea of compatibility testing in marrigae is a great idea! In my opinion, people today view marriage as dating: once they've had enough they break up. Personally, I think people like the idea of marriage more than marriage itself. Sometimes, I don't think people understand that it goes further than the social definition of "love". Love isn't pure bliss all the time, it's work. Just look at love in terms of parent-children relationship. For the most part, parents and children probably disagree and quarrel more than anyone, they certainly aren't happy together all the time. However, when it comes down to it, it would be very hard to break that bond.
   Whether you look at marriage from a religious point of view or not, it is a committment to stay with a person for the rest of your life. Therefore, why not see if your personalities will really mesh well together? I understand how some may think it isn't natural, however, I think it's a great tool to see how you will work out your differences and always know that at the end of the day you will love each other. Obviously, the inital attraction between the two people will not be taken away (I would assume no one would contemplate marriage if they weren't interested in the other person). This test is just one more way to make sure this decision is the right one. Who knows, by taking this and participating in Pre-Cana programs you might find out something that could change everything.
  Since I'm only a college student I'm not an expert on marriage but I do have a general idea of what it should be.  Marriage is a vow, for better or worse, in sickness and in health. It goes far beyond the love and affection of the "honeymoon phase". Arguments and struggles are natural in any relationship, the question is will you be able to overcome them? By taking the compatibility test, you can see the ways you will approach these situations and honestly understand one another better. I don't see why anyone would be strongly against this test if you have confidence in the success of your marriage and nothing to hide.
Joseph Komorowski
6 years 6 months ago
This blog was definitely very interesting and relevant to today's world.  Divoce is not only stressful and upsetting for the couple who it effects, but also for any children involved.  As of 2000, over 1 million children were effected by divorce.  According to the article by Patrick F. Fagan and Robert Rector, "The effects of divorce on children can range from mild to severe and from short-term to long-term."  This is definitely important for people who are getting a divorce that have children.  They need to realize that they are not the only ones being impacted by what is going on.
A program such as FOCCUS can be very beneficial for potential couples to take.  This test can show couples how compatible they really are, which is important because a lot of couples think they are compatible, but really are not.  There is too much pressure in today's world to get married, especially at a young age.  I think that people need to realize that it is alright to decide not to get married.  Marriage has become more of a competition rather than a ceremony to show two people's commitments to each other.  It's all about the venue of the wedding rather than the vows people make to one another.  I think FOCCUS can help couples decide what is best for them and whether or not both people in the couple are ready and willing to commit a lifetime together.

http://family-men.com/WEB%20DOCUMENTS/EFFECTSOFDIVORCEHeritage.pdf
Dana Shea
6 years 6 months ago
With so many marriages ending in divorce, it makes us wonder why this is happening. Based on my own personal experience, many marriages end in divorce because the couple cannot reach an agreement on an issue that is vital to a marriage, such as finances or having kids. Couples should discuss these things to see if they are both on the same page before getting married. But, if they do not the FOCUSS process does not seem to be a bad idea. It brings up issues that they couple may never have thought about or topics that they just chose to avoid. I think that the FOUSS program is a very useful tool for couples soon to be married. It will help them learn more about each other and themselves, while avoiding some potential altercations in the future. Just because a couple learns from this program that they have different plans for the future does not mean that they shouldn’t get married. They can use these results to work out problems and make important life decisions together. As long as both people in the couple are on board for the FOCUSS program, I don’t see anything wrong with the program and I think many people could benefit from it.
Megan Walters
6 years 6 months ago
I think you bring up a good point stating, “because of the high divorce rate, churches and synagogues in the past several decades have increasingly turned to resources from psychology in order to help couples who are preparing for marriage to get a clearer understanding of what lies ahead of them.” I did not know this occurred but I think it is very smart, I feel as though there truly are more divorces these days than there were years ago. I do not like how the tests make a couple realize where they differ. I feel as though this could lead to disagreements and while some may think this will prepare them for potential future arguments, I think it is just reminding them more of where they differ rather than why they are together in the first place. Many people have a strong relationship because they are so different and that thought needs to not be forgotten.
Brittany Peters
6 years 6 months ago
In response to #76, I agree we really must question the validity of the FOCCUS. It is not like other tests that are capable of accurately judging a person's knowledge. It's rather difficult to accurate measure one person's emotions on a test, let alone compare them to another individuals. I also question how open ended the questions may be. If the partners judge the questions to mean different things than the results will certainly be skewed.
In general, I think it's impossible to measure two people's love for each other or the strength of their relationship with a test. I like your comment about how it opens couples up to discussing tough issues. I think the FOCCUS is a valuable tool both for the couple to evaluate aspects of their relationship and for their premarital counselor to begin discussions.
Julie Owens
6 years 6 months ago
I think that it is a good idea for a couple to take a test if they feel it is necessary. The divorce rate is so much higher than it used to be, and I think that people shouldn’t get married unless they are ready. One way that a couple could tell if they would work well together could definitely be taking these type of tests and then talking to a counselor. There could be a serious issue that just has never come up in conversation that could really affect a relationship. Sometimes the result of these tests might not be ideal but it is the reality and people shouldn’t get married just because they think it is a good idea at the time. These types of tests can help prove if a future husband or wife agrees on many subjects. Even though a test like FOCUS could definitely help solidify if a couple should get married or not, I don’t think that it should be the sole reason of why or why not a couple takes the plunge.
Erin Betsch
6 years 6 months ago
Tom (#12),

Do you really think this is such a bad idea? Clearly the tests did their job, as in the article, there was the case study of Sue and Jim. Upon taking the inventory, they came to realize what they needed to work on within their relationship. Concerning some things, there were obviously not on the same page. The inventory brought these ideas to the forefront and allowed Sue and Jim to work on them. They even decided to continue with future counseling. So, while these tests may not work for everyone, isn't there some evidence of their successes in this article?
Amanda Peluso
6 years 6 months ago
Prior to reading your article, I had never heard of the FOCCUS Inventory or pre-marital testing.  While these measures may have some success in terms of evaluating relationship compatibility, I personally doubt their effectiveness.  FOCCUS may be a beneficial resource to some, as noted in many of the comments above; it could encourage a discussion about commonly overlooked issues and ultimately lead to a healthier relationship. However, I must say that I do not particularly agree.
It has been stated in many of the above postings that today, people seeming “rush” into marriage.  I do not see this as the case.  People are waiting longer to get married.  The average age to wed is higher than ever.  Therefore, I cannot attribute rising levels of divorce to this.  Instead, I argue that many marriages fail because individuals are unwilling to fix a relationship that is not perfect.  In our society, we are obsessed with the latest and greatest.  When something new comes along (such as technological advances), we dispose of the old, and get something seemingly better.  We are always searching for more, causing us to become easily unsatisfied with what we have.  I am not saying that this is the case for all marriages; however, I have found this to be one common underlying cause.
I cannot say that I am particularly religious, but I hold a rather strong view regarding divorce.  While there are times that certain marriages must come to an end, I feel that others end due to this inability to commit.  I do not believe that a pre-marital test would address or resolve this issue.  People are different.  An individual is never going to know everything about their partner. It would be impossible.  Unforeseen, opposing perspectives are inevitable. I do not think a test could ever fully incorporate every potential issue or possible flaw, and I do not think we should complicate the process further with tests pointing out potential mishaps and downturns.  We must remember that marriage is not a science; it is a sacred commitment to another person.  Maybe I am old-fashioned, but we must remember that nothing is perfect and that for every good, there is a bad.  We must try to reduce unrealistic expectations and become more accepting, and not focus on all the negatives that a lifetime of commitment may bring. Relationships are too complex to be predicted by a test.
On a side note, best wishes to anyone who is married, divorced, or hoping to be married someday.  I hope that if you do look to these tests, you are provided with  positive direction in your relationships.
-  Amanda P.
Janice Feng
6 years 6 months ago
I agree with Eddie(#3) in that a lot of the information you may be able to get out of the FOCCUS inventory is not so easily available through normal day sources. Regarding "the experiences of married couples," it is very easy to hide part of who someone is if that person is not so willing/scared to share. Many times a personality trait of a person is even somewhat hidden from that person themselves. How often have each of us become aware of a trait/action we posess/do through someone else telling us? If we are unaware of something within ourselves how will we be able to share that with our significant others. Also even when two people are very close, there still will be things that each may be hesitant to share with the other. Regarding ministers, they are people too who have limited experiences. Although they may have experience in marriage counseling, they lack information that the couples or others around them may have.

I believe tests such as the FOCCUS Inventory can be very beneficial to the couple understanding who each other are. If they truly are ready to be married, then they should know the information the test would show or at least wanting to learn/possibly understand each other better. However, I do not believe that the minister or the test has the right to decide a couple cannot be married. I would understand if a church required counseling sessions and the taking of the test for a couple to married there, but after all that is done, if a couple still believes they are ready and willing to be married, then they should be allowed.

I do believe that many have forgotten what marriage is supposed to stand for, especially marriages within the church. It is a responsibility that one should only enter into if they truly are determined to complete the "till death do us part. Our society has instilled in many of us to find easy and fast solutions, which is fine in some areas, but not when it comes to marriage. The divorce rate shows that people have forgotten what it means to fight for something, not just try once and give up, but truly fight. Taking the FOCCUS Inventory or having other similar measures done is very beneficial. People need to be reminded how serious of a commitment marriage is, and realize both entering into one(and leaving one) is a step that should only be taken when it is right. Being in love/falling out of love is not the only requirement for marriage/divorce.
Casey McGowan
6 years 6 months ago
As you mentioned, I think it is important how the test is interpreted. Although I can't speak from experience, I do think they are a good idea, as they may raise issues that are important to marriage that may not have been considered previously. However I also think they need to be kept in perspective. While the FOCUS test and others like it may provide good feedback, I personally think it would be most useful when used a tool for advancing the relationship. Just because a couple disagrees on some of the questions presented does not automatically mean their marriage cannot work. It can certainly be used to open the lines of communication and show the couple where they need to discuss something, so in that way it is quite possible that it could help lower the divorce rate.
 If couples are aware of the major decisions they need to make ahead of time and are willing to talk before it happens, many conflicts later in marriage can be avoided. I would be interested to see if couples who go through pre-cana have a lower divorce rate than those who do not, but religion could also be a factor in that decision.
edward knauf
6 years 6 months ago
Just a nit, but the pre-marriage inventory is FOCCUS, not FOCUS.
edward knauf
6 years 6 months ago
Having worked in pre-cana ministy for more than ten years, and having encountered engaged couples in the FOCCUS process for most of those years, I don't think this "inventory" (it's really not a "test") counts as psychological testing, per se.  It's not so much designed to identify psychological or behavioral issues as to function as a tool for enhanced, pre-marriage communication.  It's designed to ensure that marrying couples have discussed all of the major possible "issues" they might have, BEFORE they marry.  Of particular note are the 26 or so "key indicators" which are like red flags and sirens, identifying possible marriage issues in advance so that the couple can work through them with the aid of the facilitator.

In my experience, the FOCCUS inventory is far more thorough and objective and provides better feedback than "the experiences of the married couples and sacramental ministers themselves" ever could.  It is said that people "don't know what they don't know" and this is especially true for couples about to marry.  FOCCUS let's them know precisely what they don't know, and gives them the chance to find out, sometimes before it is too late.
Erin Betsch
6 years 6 months ago
I found this blog very interesting! I think that it is a smart idea, to test your compatibility with your mate. The rate of divorce has become too high because people are just jumping into relationship and marriage, without considering all the potential angles. Although I am young, I've seen many couples who are not compatible, but insist that they are. Whether this is due to age, stubborness, or just the idea of being in love, I am unsure for right now. As sad as it is in a way, that people need to be tested when in the past couples made it to 50 year anniversaries no problem, it does make sense. Psychological testing is something that is useful and can serve as a real-life tool, outside of education in this case. I don't think it should be the only method and that people should rely on the results. However, I think it can provide valuable insight into some relationships. On another note, from reading about Sue and Jim, they don't sound very similar to me. They actually sounds very opposite!!
Kristen Kannengeiser
6 years 6 months ago
In today’s society where more than half of all marriages end in divorce it seems logical to implement some kind of pre-marriage counseling or testing. Not all possible problems in a marriage can be foreseen there are often events and problems that arise that can’t be dealt with before hand. If pre-marriage counseling and psychological tests can help eliminate some surprise information about your partner it seems worthwhile. The example of psychological testing results in the article interested me. It seemed that the test evaluated each person individually presenting important personality traits and values. The test may not just help sustain a relationship but it may help an individual learn more about themselves or make them more aware of their actions. With the help of a professional the couple can take what they learned from the test and apply it to their future and their relationship.
Communication is usually referenced as an essential part of a marriage, and also the reason why marriages may not work out. A research experiment done in the late 1970’s, explored the importance of communication in premarital counseling and the use of the Premarital Communication Inventory. The inventory has about 40 questions that can be answered by a yes or no. The questions address plans for the future as well as the relationship in the present. It serves to find what areas need communication to be strengthened and listening needs to be strengthened. The PCI has been seen to help couples spark a discussion in an area where they have different opinions or attitudes. The PCI helps to guide the course of the premarital counseling into areas where differences exist.
http://www.jstor.org.online.library.marist.edu/sici?sici=0014-7214%281975%2924%3A1%3C65%3AAMOPC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-N&origin=serialsolutions
we vnornm
6 years 6 months ago
Eddie K:

Do you have rough figures about how many couples remain married, say five years after going through Pre-Cana with the FOCCUS? thanks, bill
Alyssa Cariani
6 years 6 months ago
Nearly every individual I have ever known who has gotten a divorce blames the experience on being "unaware" of certain aspects of their significant other that caused conflict. (Of course, i do acknowledge that sometimes people cannot know everything about a person until they decide to get married).
However, wouldn't this unawareness result from not truly spending the necessary amount of time to get to know the person? With the common knowledge that the divorce rate as high as it is, why on earth are people rushing into marriage? Is it societal pressures? Religious reasons? What does everyone else think?

i guess it's probably a culmination of those things, but i also think deeper-seated psychological issues have something to do with it. For example, one of my closest friends is absolutely obsessed with getting married. She and her boyfriend have been living together for 3 years and he has yet to "pop the question." For some reason, marriage and weddings are all she ever talks about anymore. After many frustrating conversations with her, we realized that she wanted so desperately to get married because of her life-long desire to belong somewhere with someone. Clearly, this is not the reason why someone should get married. Without our conversation, she might not have realized that until it was too late.
This article further emphasized the importance of taking the time to get to know a person before even considering to take that next step. Premarital counseling seems to be extremely helpful with that process, after psychological testing. Although I never considered it before, I would certainly consider doing it myself when that day comes (10 years from now!!)

http://search.proquest.com.online.library.marist.edu/docview/220946365/12E8769D49E1C2888F2/1?accountid=28549
This article discusses marriage counseling, with regards to a solution-oriented approach (framework). With this approach, counselors can "assist couples in identifying and activating resources that will help them to build a satisfying marriage." Perhaps this can be useful for Jim and Sue?
Diana Sablich
6 years 6 months ago
I think the concept of the FOCCUS Inventory is great.  But honesty is key.  If couples answer questions according to what they think will give them the best score, the purpose of the inventory will be lost.  Should the fate of a couple’s relationship rely on a test? No – but the test could provide some insights that were never considered by the couple.  With the high rate of divorce, it is important to make sure you are in accordance and can make compromises with your partner.  Some of the decisions that need to be made are not always evident because they do not arise immediately.  Finances, budgets, and extended family are all topics that should be discussed before marriage.  Marriage is a journey of decision making and compromising.  It is helpful to know in advance that you and your partner will be able to face these challenges and work together.  
Kayna Pfeiffer
6 years 6 months ago
Research has shown that pre-marital counseling has led to a lower divorce rate. Couples who received counseling before marriage had a 31% lower divorce rate. Based on this, one could see how pre-marital counseling could be beneficial to the outcome of marriage. I think psychological testing is a great tool that could be used to assess couples and their views and values in terms of marriage. This is important since marriage is a union between two people and if either person in the relationship is unaware of the other's differences this could pose a major threat to the relationship down the line.

However, I do not think this type of testing should be mandated for couples or that it is always necessary because as Dr. Van Ornum argued above, psychological testing ''should only be done when it provides information that can't be provided by more direct means'' and I don't think this is the case in terms of marriage. Couples have formed their own bond through their relationship and if they feel they are ready for marriage, the results from a psychological test should not be used to confirm or deny their readiness. It would be sad to see a couple not stay together because they feel discouraged if they do not perform well on this test. Thus, it should be up to the couple to decide if they want to take a psychological test and they should not feel like their relationship is doomed if they choose otherwise. If anything programs like FOCCUS or pre-marital counseling may be more beneficial to the couple than taking a psychological test.

(23 June, 2006) ''Pre-marital counseling reduces divorce rate.'' Retrieved from http://www.physorg.com/news70250831.html 
Stephanie Schwarz
6 years 6 months ago
Dr. Van Ornum,

I have mixed feelings about the FOCCUS inventory. I do think that it is a very beneficial tool to extract and eliminate possible problems that might come up during a marriage in pre-marital counseling. I would agree with you, however, that it should be used sparingly for situations where the problems aren't so clear cut. Each couple has their own way of communicating and unless one is in the relationship, I believe that it would be hard to make assumptions about their readiness and about their commitment to one another.

 I did a little more research on the FOCCUS inventory and found that it does have strong predictive validity on marital success. The FOCCUS research stated that most couples who had taken the FOCCUS inventory in their pre-marital counseling still had successful marriages five years later. I wish I was able to see the statistics and find out what the word most actually signifies. Still though, there are marriages out there that did not succeed even though they went through this process. In my personal opinion, and I could be wrong, the only people who can take control of a marriage are the individuals committing to that marriage.

http://www.foccusinc.com/research.aspx 
Crystal Watson
6 years 6 months ago
 I'm not aware of what Catholic couples go through in order to get married - is there mandatory counseling/testing?

  My mom was married four times and after just a year of marriage, I was divorced.  I don't think this kind of testing would have made a difference in whether I decided to get married or not, though. We did talk to a minister before the wedding and he advised us not to marry - ouch - but we went ahead.  I understand that shared values can make for a strong relationship, but these tests seem to overlook what, in my own obviously twisted :) experience, seems like the most important factor in deciding about getting married  .... love/attraction.   Would people really break up with someone because they have different ideas about how to handle money?   I do think individual counseling helps people know themselves better and that would make their relationships healthier, but I guess I'm not sold on compatibility being the best glue for a marriage.

Tom Maher
6 years 6 months ago
Oh plesae.  What a really bad idea to rely on consuling or psychological testing  - meaning someone else's judegement - on who you should chose as a suitable spouse.  Test norms use data that is generalized to some population and probably decades old.   The gerneral norms  of psychology should not be trusted for such a personal decision so uniwue to the individual couple.  It is a certainty you will get very bad advice not suitable to your needs or the needs of the person you want to marry. 

Consulting is only slightly better than for a man to ask his mother who he should marry or a woman to ask her father who she will marry.  And would you seriously trust the norms of the psycholigical profiles developed for testing or held by psychologist?  Beside the basic creepiness of being so dependent on others to be advised or influence on such an important personal  matter that can profoundly impact your life , your personal unique emotional, cultural, politcal, social and inter-personal needs are not being considered by third party advisers.  These third parties have no way of ever knowing who you are in crtically important ways.

It is crititical for you to find out for yourself and have a deep and certain sense of what you want and expect in another person usually by dating a fair number of people.  People who are compatiable recognize they are very compatatble with each other.   But a ompatable person needs to be found and mututally recognized without third-partoes getting involved.    

The problem with our society is that the person next door is likely not to be compatiable and would tend to be a very poor choice for a marriage.   We are definitlely not any longer one big happy village.  We live in a rapidly changing and a wildly diverse muti-cultural society.  A fair amount ot searching is usually needed to find someone with the same references,outlooks, expectations and positive chemistry you would be compatable with.   

A selection process that you are in charge of can find someone sooner or? ?l?a?t?e?r? without recourse to ?well-meaning but ineffective and likely misleading ?third parties.  ?
Alyssa Moirano
6 years 6 months ago
Prior to this article, I had never heard of the FOCCUS Inventory.  As a result, I did a little research and found some sample questions.  These questions included: 1. We are in agreement about the husband and wife roles each of us expects of the other in our marriage relationship. 2. There are qualities about my future spouse that I do not respect. 3. My future spouse and I have agreed we will not have children. 4. I am concerned that in-laws may interfere in our marriage relationship. 5. We are in agreement about how we will make financial decisions between us. 6. My future spouse and I agree that our marriage commitment means we intend to pledge love under all circumstances.  For each question, the person answers with an A (agree) D (disagree) or U (uncertain). (http://www.foccusinc.com/foccus-inventory-sample-questions.aspx)
From what I can see, the test touches upon important topics which definitely should be addressed before marriage (finances, children, in-laws, roles, etc.). Just like the scenario in the article displays, couples can engage in further counseling if need be. Divorce is such a common occurrence in today’s society.  “50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.”  Maybe implementing these types of tests will help divorce rates decrease.  I agree with (#3) in that couples can find out if marriage is right for them, before it is too late.
Samantha Young
6 years 6 months ago
I believe that young people today are not fully aware of what they are signing up for when they jump into a marriage. Being that people are always changing, it is difficult to put all issues on a table before two are joined together because not all young people are aware of the important issues that will arise. Also, as people grow older their views on issues may change. For this reason, divorce is so frequent in our society. Programs such as FOCCUS are fantastic because it brings important issues to the table so that couples can discuss and ensure that they are on the same page. If they aren't, do they really want to be signing on for thislifelong commitment?
Sue and Jim represent many American couples today in that the underlying issue in their relationship is finances. Many couples today start marriages in debt, or not in agreement with the way their partner handles their financials. If this issue is not resolved before the marriage then the marriage itself is inevitably doomed. Some people choose to settle this issue by having two separate bank accounts, and yet still share the same bed. This is irony at its finest. Others choose to help their partners to see money issues their way, and then resentment builts. What is the correct way to handle finalcial tensions in a relationship? I am not exactly sure. However, I do know that if a couple is not ready to deal with this pressing issue then perhaps they are also not ready for marriage.
ed gleason
6 years 6 months ago
We used FOCCUS for twenty years as family life ministers both in parish and weekend EE programs.  As mentioned it is not a TEST. It's is a communication inventory and  we spent a few minutes explaining it is not a test has pass /fail connotations.
We also used a very short Myers Briggs which can now can be found on the INTERNET. Both INVENTORIES gave the couples new and valuable insights. We never had bad feed back and very often very positive feed back. Our Program stopped some marriages by couples re-thinking; which we considered success. We even had one woman come back with a 'new' man and thank us for 'helping put on the breaks'. She latter came to be a marriage prep parish minister.  Finances were the biggest problem with couples, especially in the Bay Area with older couples in their late twenties/early thirties and an expensive area to start up in. . Some also  had un-acknowledged tuition debt until FOCCUS . . Nice surprise huh? Bad news is dioceses are closing/de-funding Family/Marriage Offices and instead putting their aim on same-sex marriages that happen in the basements of city hall. [Like who cares what happens in the basement of city halls. that's where you go to get an electrical/plumbing permit if you really think you need one.] Nice surprise huh?
Tom Mahar is under the false assumption that 'third parties' make decisions about marriages in the marriage prep program. he makes false claims and then says they are "creepy' .. That's creepy.
we vnornm
6 years 6 months ago
Ed & Peg:

Thanks for your feedback, which is first-hand, constructive, and has the ring of authenticity.

amdg, bill
we vnornm
6 years 6 months ago
Note to all students;

Thank you! I am learning from you. I certainly hope there are solid and stable marriages/partnerships etc. in your futures. I think it's good to think about this topic and I think the Church can play a helpful role. best, bvo
we vnornm
6 years 6 months ago
Note on Tests vs. Inventories (etc.): I got my information from a textbook (http://www.pearson.ch/1471/9780131835306/Psychological-Testing-Across-the.aspx). Perhaps the authors got it wrong! bvo :-)/:-(
Samantha Sciacovelli
6 years 6 months ago
It appears to me the FOCCUS Inventory has both pros and cons to it. It is extremely unfortunate that the divorce rate has gone up so much. In some ways by couples taking this inventory  it may prevent some future divorces however, I think it may also cause some break ups prior to marriage.

In my opinion there seems to be several possible benefits of this inventory. One good thing about the test is that it makes couples’ issues clear to them so they can work on them together. It is good they receive counseling while doing this process. Talking about issues such as finances and family is something that every couple should discuss before they make the decision to get married. Some people however do not think of these issues until they become too big and it ends up destroying their marriages. For couples who are able to face their problems and work on them together, since nobody is perfect, this inventory may be very useful during this process and help couples like these become closer and have a better marriage. However for the other couples who have a harder time admitting to their problems and compromising, this inventory may cause a lot of troubles.

During the results session with the counselor some people may have a difficult time hearing from their significant other certain things they don’t like about the other. It may just turn into a large fight with no productive solution. Whether couples like this should get married otherwise is an issue that involves many other factors. In addition, some people may not be able to handle the personality results about themselves. Another negative aspect of the inventory is it might cause healthy couples to doubt their relationship and not get married when they may have no reason not to. Even with the possible feuds the FOCCUS Inventory may cause, I think couples who can take it with an open mind and understand it is only meant to benefit them and help them create a healthier marriage, it can be very valuable.
Tom Maher
6 years 6 months ago
Ed Gleason,

The process you describe does make profound judgement of the individual couple chances of success at marriage which does superceed the judgement of the individuals couple.   But who's  judgement is better, the individual couple or the test?  You say the test is all-knowing predictor of success or failure of a couple's success in  marriage which then would superceed their judgment of their success?

This superceeding of judgement is very intrustive since it is doubtful that any test has the power to predict the future with any certainty.  It is destructive and creepy for an outsider test to pass uncertain judgment on a couple's future marrage.   

Who is the best judge of whom you should marry?  The test or your own considered judgement? 

Are you not saying the evaluation of the response of couple to the predetemined test questions is a definitive judgement on the couple likely success at marraige?  Or is the test given only for fun where the determination of the test results that indicate your marraige will fail just said in jest?  Clearly this process is done very seriously and comes to very dire conclusion whcih can not be taken back by saying "just kidding".  So where do you get such  confidence in the certainty of this testr from?
Rachel Bremer
6 years 6 months ago
The high divorce rate in the United States is a scary thing.  My parents just celebrated their 21st anniversary at the same time that my housemate’s parents were getting a divorce after 19 years.  As a young adult, I am used to being around people whose parents have gone through a divorce and it is no longer safe to assume people’s parents are still married.  As my parents say every year “they are the minority”.  I found a website that breaks down the divorce rates in the United States (I looked through several websites and they all have the same statistics as this one: http://www.divorcestatistics.org/).
                What is interesting about the breakdown of the divorce rates is that most divorces occur when people are relatively young, according to this website at least.  To me that could mean that once married the couple found differences that they did not know they had or could not solve.  I think a test such as the FOCCUS test could help shed some light on future problems a relationship may face.  The point of the test seems not to be to analysis and compute a relationship score but instead take a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses that exist.    If this were a test that measured for example a person’s professional strengths and weaknesses, a person would know how to better improve and market themselves to companies.  This same logic can be applied to these tests.  If a test can point out some of the things people can work on to strengthen the relationship then hopefully the couple works on it and the likelihood of divorce goes down.  One important thing to remember however is how/who analyses the results.  As mentioned in the article it is almost or even more so important than the test itself. 
ed gleason
6 years 6 months ago
Tom Maher; What's with your posting about 'predictions' 'dire conclusions' 'kidding' jests' "given for fun' ????
 I and the others users of FOCCUS say over and over it's not a test. IT"S AN INVENTORY. We do not, even cannot make marriage recommendations. If couples disagree about children, finances, in laws. lifestyle choices, debt etc.
We make no judgments .. Once when a man punched a woman outside on the sidewalk after a prep program , and other couples came to me to interfere,we did report that to the officiating priest. He refused to marry them, but they shopped the wedding to another priest.  At most we say at obvious problems  'wow 'you guys have a lot to discuss and resolve'.
Your insistence that there is a pass/fail test and couples are sent away with a no to their marriage  is so off base about marriage preparation I  wonder why you are posting.
Call your priest and ask if lay people can say yes and no to a Catholic marriage. He will laugh..  Call your diocesan Family Life Office [see if it still open] and resolve your numerous and mistaken opinions.
Stephanie Waring
6 years 6 months ago
            I have much opinion about this very interesting topic brought up in the article.  Yes, there is a high divorce rate in the country, but I do not feel that psychological testing will decrease the divorce rate. In my opinion, two people decide to get married after a few years of being together, knowing each other inside an out, having talked about the number of children they want to have, or about where their finances will go.  These two people must be deeply in love and accepting of their partner’s flaws in order to be ready to say “let’s do this, get married, and be together for the rest of our lives”.  In no way shape or form do I think it is necessary for a couple to go through testing; two people should realize the responsibility they are taking on, to enter into a marriage in which they are bonded to one another for the rest of their lives. Before psychological testing became so advanced, hundreds of thousands of millions of couples have “survived” and not gone through a divorce, without the help of psychological testing.
In today’s society, I believe many people may just be in a “rush” to get married, and don’t carefully plan out their future with the person before they make their vows.  I agree with Dr. Van Ornum’s statement, “My own bias regarding psychological testing is that it should only be done when it provides information that can't be provided by more direct means”. I believe that if a couple cannot live without this psychological testing for their marriage in order to steer away from a divorce, then all means, let them go through testing. The couples who are strong enough, in love enough, and planned out enough of their future together, while talking through obstacles and problems along the way, will not need the testing because they were able to work through their own dilemmas and realize that what mattered in the end is the love they have for one another, and their common interests towards their future together. 
            “Do you think psychological testing can add to, in Cardinal O'Connor's phrase, the sacramental resources of religion itself?” In my opinion, I do not believe that testing can add to or strengthen the sacramental resources of religion.  Couples will get married with our without therapy or testing.  Many of couples in today’s society that are planning to marry still get married in church because they are religious, or because it is tradition.  I don’t feel at all that in this case psychological testing will help reinforce religion; I believe that faith, love, and trust between these two people waiting to be wed, will strengthen their religious ties to the community and to God, on their own without the need for testing.
Sabrina Scanga
6 years 6 months ago
This article was an interesting one to read! I have never heard of the FOCUS test/process until just now. After reading the article I was curious as to what the divorce rate in America was this past year. I searched the internet and according to enrichment journal the divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%; the divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%; the divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%. Couples with children have a slightly lower rate of divorce than childless couples. Sociologists believe that childlessness is also a common cause of divorce. The absence of children leads to loneliness and weariness and even in the United States; at least 66 percent of all divorced couples are childless. According to some experts, however, divorce rates tend to go down primarily because more couples live together without marrying. Other researchers have documented what they call “the divorce divide,” contending that divorce rates are indeed falling substantively among college-educated couples but not among less-affluent, less-educated couples.
 
The statistics are quite upsetting, considering I am one of those people who wish to get married in the future. I believe that something needs to be done in order to keep these divorce numbers down. The FOCUS test seems like it could do the trick but at the same time, I am unsure about it. I believe that couples have their own way of communicating and I am not sure that a test of this sort can truly see if couples are compatible. Although the sample questions posted by Alyssa Moirano seem like important ones to discuss before marriage, I don’t know if the test can provide evidence of commitment and personalities. I would be interested to learn more about the FOCUS test!
http://marriage101.org/divorce-rates-in-america/
Nicole Weir
6 years 6 months ago
What a fascinating article! Because of the high divorce rate, I think it is a plausible idea to execute pre-marriage counseling and testing. Divorce often occurs from problems that arise during marriage that were not expected or anticipated prior to the marriage. The use of these tests, can predict future problems, as Sue and Jim’s experience showed. These tests can help to predict and avoid future problems so I think they are indeed a major help to possibly lowering the divorce rate.
After reading this article, I believe it is a very logical idea to take pre-marriage test because they assess personalities and desires of each member of the relationship and test future harmony or problems. In mentioning that there is such a high divorce rate, I think it only makes sense to take pre-marriage tests in order to avoid future problems, which may lead to divorce. Psychological testing, as we have learned throughout the entire semester can help predict future capability in many situations and I think applying it to marriage can be very useful. 
Margaret Frenzel
6 years 6 months ago
This blog post sparked my interest as well as many others, I see!  As a single second semester junior, I do not see myself getting married in the near or even semi-distant future.  My parents married later than most and I think that is part of the reason why they are still so happy together.  It is sad for me to see that many of my friends parents are either divorced or simply unhappy.  A few don't even really talk to each other around the house or spend time together.  I have asked my mom this question many times over the years- "How did you know Dad was the one?"  She always replies by saying that she just knew. It's one of those things that's tough to explain.  I think as a female, I am a little weary about the future -especially marriage and beginning a family.  I want it to be right.  Don't we all?

I had never really thought about couples taking a test before marriage to make sure they were in check with each other in ways they might not necessarily think about.  Considering the current divorce rate among couples, I think this particular idea is pretty smart.  If nothing else, it can't hurt to take it, right?  I like the concept of taking it individually, meeting individually about the results, and then finally coming together afterwards.  It seems like a fairly smooth process that might be surprisingly beneficial to couples before jumping into marriage. 
Christine Castellana
6 years 6 months ago
I think that the FOCCUS Inventory is a very good idea, as long as it is administered by a professional. I think that it can offer couples some perspective.  Marriage is a very special and serious committment, and you want to be absolutely sure that you are making the right decision.

If for some reason the inventory doesn't agree with you, I do not think that a couple should break up, though.  People still need to follow their hearts.  Hopefully the test and the test administrator can acknowledge this.

I have taken similar online tests like this before, but they have not been very reliable! It seems as if my "personality" changes along with my moods. Somedays it says I am introverted, other days I am extraverted.  I would MUCH rather take this sort of test with a professional who can explain the results to me.

Maybe it seems unnatural to do such a thing, to test couples for compatibility.  It's not like this has always occurred so I understand why people may be against it completely. From my perspective though, I think we should sometimes embrace what Psychology and technology has given us and use it to our advantage.  I do not really think that this could hurt people because if these test results hurt a couple so strongly, then maybe they shouldn't be together!  If test results make a couple SO bent out of shape, then they will not be able to withstand the trials of marriage, which can possibly be much worse than the score on a test.

I am one of those people out there who believes that much of society has changed for the worst because of the increase of the single mother.  Some people consider this a radical point of view, but it just makes sense. I won't get into it all now, but just think about it.  With inventories being used for pre-marriage counseling like this, women and men will be much more likely to stay with each other and raise a family appropriately, instead of realizing how bad they are for each other and abandoning their children, increasing the chance of emotional problems.

Thank you for informing us of this! It is something that I will be sure to look into using before I ever get married!
Kristen Kannengeiser
6 years 6 months ago
I agree with posts # 31 and #32. Today, marriage has become like a relationship than a true commitment. Even though divorce rates are more common it doesnt mean marriage should be trreated any less seriously. The focus has come to be more on the wedding than the marriage/ Maybe this is why many marriages are not working out?
A program like FOCCUS could help couples understand how truly compatible they are and where issues in their relationship may occur in the future.
ed gleason
6 years 6 months ago
When engaged couples gather for marriage preparation one of the best features is that they observe how the other engaged couples interact with each other. It's like having 12-30 mirrors set up to get this effect. They compare how they interact with each other compared to the other couples and the 'wow' effect is enlightening. Those with a good relationship are encouraged and those with a meager relationship are enlightened. Think football try-outs. This is why the EE encounter weekend is the gold standard of marriage preparation..  
Alyssa Cariani
6 years 6 months ago
Tom,

The great part about these tests is that they're not imperative (although in some cases i believe they should be).
In Christianity, isn't it looked down upon to get a divorce? (please correct me if I'm wrong). Therefore, why wouldn't couples moving in the direction of marriage be willing to take all necessary steps to avoid a divorce from occurring? It can only be helpful in my opinion-if you are fully fit to be together, the test will most likely reveal this. if not, it should be something to consider that may even strengthen the relationship in the long run.
Desiree Desaulniers
6 years 6 months ago
When it comes to marriage, my opinion may come off as pessimistic, as I think in many ways marriage is a rather pointless and potentially destructive force to a couple’s relationship. Just from my experiences, I have seen time and time again, two people getting married, and realizing that “forever” is just too long to be with the same person. As people go through each phase of their life, their opinions change, their desires/wants become different, and they themselves may become different. A couple that can endure these changes must have a maturity quality that from the very beginning can withstand obstacles that many people never think they will have to experience. Marriage is a great thing in theory, but for many will not survive time.
            To bring it back to the topic of psychological testing, I think that something like ‘FOCCUS’ is a great tool for pre-marital examinations. Even if it sounds ridiculous to test your significant other, I think it can pull two people out of the emotional aspect of a relationship and make marriage more of a logical decision that has a timeless element to it. The test brings a level of maturity to the table, and I think in order to prolong the survival of a relationship, a couple needs to understand that ‘love’ and ‘God’ are not always strong enough variables to sustain a relationship. 
Kate Conard
6 years 6 months ago
I think that this psychological testing for future married couples has some pros and cons.  I think that since the divorce rate is so high, it might be wise for some couples to seek this psychological "help" before they get married.  

The only problem I have with this, is that it's almost not real.  Those who think they are ready to get married should be able to handle marriage on their own without a psychologist telling them how difficult it is to stay married.  I think if you are taking the "risk" of getting married, you should already know the problems and obstacles you encounter as a couple.  Besides, if you do poorly on this testing, then that could seriously effect your relationship with the person you thought you loved.  I don't think it's a good thing to tell someone whether they will work well together in the future or not.  

The divorce rate today is unfortunate, and I think once couples are married and are going through a difficult time, then they should seek psychological couple help to try and fix and save their marriage by doing whatever it takes.  Sometimes, people just fall out of love, and I guess that is the purpose of performing these psychological tests before they get married, but what's the adventure in that?  When you get married, you are supposed to encounter new, scary experiences with the person you love, and yes it will be difficult, but that doesn't mean you should just give up.  That's not what life is about - you can't just give up on difficult task, you have to over come them.  So i think these tests have their benefits of showing new couples the obstacles of marriage, but I don't think it's okay to tell a couple whether or not they will do well together.   
Kailee Mcevoy
6 years 6 months ago
As mostly everyone has stated, premarital counseling has pros and cons. I personally believe that premarital counseling is generally a good idea as long as the couple remains honest. I think that using these tests and this form of counseling prior to a marriage can truly help the couple make sure they are ready for marriage. It is a good way to bring up some topics that couples may not have thought of and to make sure that couples are generally on the same page about major issues. According to a study done at Brigham Young University, premarital counseling increases communication between couples, though it probably does not increase a couple's satisfaction with the marriage because at this point in the relationship, couples are usually the happiest with the relationship that they ever have been. (http://lisakifttherapy.com/tools-for-therapists-counselors/notes-from-a-therapists-chair-the-therapy-and-counseling-blog/does-premarital-counseling-work-a-recent-study/) Overall, I believe it's a good way to increase communication and to ensure that  a couple is not rushing into marriage. 
Lynde Kayser
6 years 6 months ago
I found this posting to be very interesting.  I knew that there was some counseling process available for those planning marriage but never knew many details about the tests themselves.  From what I can see, the FOCCUS test can be very useful in determining where visions of the future lie between couples.  Although I think that couples considering marriage should have already discussed major life plans like having children and finances, the FOCCUS test helps to lay out the couples differences in similarities.  Disagreements on these subjects over time might feel like minor speed bumps, but when they are added up and laid out in front of you, you might realize that perhaps you are not as compatible as you once thought.  I think that the FOCCUS test can be helpful to this degree, but by no means should be a make or break aspect of a relationship.  Couples aware of their differences and willing to put in the necessary effort can work through seemingly unavoidable problems.
I also found the 16 Factor Personality Test to be beneficial in pre-marital counseling.  This test, unlike the FOCCUS, might help couples realize the roots of their relationship difficulties.  The test seems to probe less obvious issues, pointing out in the example why Sue does not feel the need to splurge financially because this need is fulfilled by other aspects of her life.  These realizations can help couples to better understand each other and work through potential problems. 
(http://web.ebscohost.com.online.library.marist.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=ead3adba-0a7b-47eb-a166-bc5c8299d6c2%40sessionmgr10&vid=2&hid=10)
This article found premarital counseling to be a beneficial process.  Through a random household survey, researchers investigated the possible benefits of premarital education such as marriage classes and counseling.  Results found that premarital counseling resulted in higher levels of satisfaction in marriage and lower levels of conflict, as well as lower levels of divorce.  
Katrina Ferrer
6 years 6 months ago
Psychological testing does have it's place in many forms of counseling and I do not believe that any kind of marriage, pre-Cana, or relationship counseling should be left out. While it should never be a first resort or a primary means of diagnosis, it should be positively considered as an option. Relying too heavily on testing can provide results that lack a "human factor" and may not be a true representation of reality simply by the nature of such tests. However, it is a strong tool that many who think it "impersonal" should consider.
Using testing to it's greatest potential, and handled in the right hands and with the right interpretation is highly profitable to the counselor, teacher and clergy. It is those who are ill-equipped and ill-prepared in using it as an effective tool that will ultimately give it a bad name. I found this article extremely helpful in showing the resourcefulness of psychological testing with relationships, both in and out of marriage:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703806304576242690486216416.html
Tom Maher
6 years 6 months ago
To get a more real-world view fell for how the FOCCUS test (yes test it is ) can be abused and be harmful  see the following entry inside  the following web reference :

FACEBOOK, WEDDING BUZZ BOARDS, Cultural/Religious Weddings, FOCCUS Catholic ScanTron test for couples ...

Entry by Barbara from Lindenhurst NY, June 14, 2010 said on the FOCCUS test she her future husband took:
"When we did our evaluation,  the [Church Repressentative] seemed to "get off" on some of our answers to sexual questions.  We were so disgusted with him we've decidded we're A) NO LONGER CATHOLIC B) NOT GETTING MARRIED THERE C) WILL RAISE OUR KIDS AS METHODIST."

You should be aware taht you take this very long test (yes everyone calls it a test) it appears the couples test results are then discussed with a third party. A third party involvement with highly personal information is the objection I had.  This entry shows the private information is abused.  Couldn't you jsut see the potential for abuse in sharing personal information with s third party?  Let get real not everyAmd the result of this invasion of couples privapriis that tNd the result   Let's get real sharing the 200 very personal questions of the FOCCUS with a third party for discussion opens a couple up for abuse. Not every third party will act professionally and responsibly with this type of sensitive information.  And the result is a horror. And the couple will no longer associate with the church.

Third party participation in evaluating the results opens the door for abuse of the very sensitve, private information revealed by the couple in answering the FOCCUS test questions.  The end result is the couple were harmed and not helped.

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Ginny Kubitz MoyerOctober 20, 2017
Protestors rally to support Temporary Protected Status near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 26. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Around 200,000 Salvadorans and 57,000 Hondurans have been residing in the United States for more than 15 years under Temporary Protected Status. But that status is set to expire in early 2018.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 20, 2017
At the heart of Anne Frank’s life and witness is a hopeful faith in humanity.
Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J.October 20, 2017
Forensic police work on the main road in Bidnija, Malta, which leads to Daphne Caruana Galizias house, looking for evidence on the blast that killed the journalist as she was leaving her home, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Caruana Galizia, a harsh critic of Maltese Premier Joseph Muscat, and who reported extensively on corruption on Malta, was killed by a car bomb on Monday. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)
Rarely does the death of a private citizen elicit a formal letter of condolence from the Pope.