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Frequently Asked Questions

The FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory is a comprehensive, user-friendly tool for use by lay individuals, couples or professionals who are helping couples prepare for marriage, and who become trained as FOCCUS Facilitators.The FOCCUS© Inventory is designed to help engaged couples appreciate their unique relationship, learn more about themselves, and discuss topics important to their lifelong marriage.

Choose a topic below:

What is the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory?

As a key step in their marriage preparation, The FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory is a 156-item questionnaire used by engaged couples with a trained FOCCUS Facilitator. Taking the inventory results in a personalized FOCCUS© Couple Report that helps target discussion on topics important to marital success. While FOCCUS is not a test and is not used to label couples or predict marital outcome, the report is used by the Facilitator to help couples celebrate their relationship strengths and talk to each other about topics warranting further attention. FOCCUS assesses nineteen categories to help couples sort the challenges and strengths they are bringing into marriage.

How does the Facilitator use the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory?

FOCCUS Facilitators are trained to administer and score the FOCCUS© Inventory one of two ways:
  • Online Answer Entry by the couple (with any computer that has an Internet connection)
  • QuickScore entry of couples' written responses by the FOCCUS Facilitator (with any computer that has an Internet connection)

Each process results in a FOCCUS© Couple Report, which helps the Facilitator target topics for the couple's discussion. A detailed FOCCUS© Facilitator Manual provides Facilitators with supplemental questions that help elicit optimal, positive couple discussion. Facilitator training prepares facilitators and mentor couples to administer, interpret and discuss FOCCUS Inventory results with couples.

In what languages is the FOCCUS© Inventory available?

The FOCCUS© Inventory is available in English, Spanish (including an Abridged format), Chinese, Portuguese, Korean and French Canadian. The inventory is also available on Audio CD and in Sign Language on video in some countries, and can be obtained in Braille (please call our office toll-free at 877-883-5422 for details).

Does the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory address specific faiths?

The General version of FOCCUS refers to issues of spirituality and decision making regarding the practice of religion. However, several FOCCUS versions are tailored for specific religious faiths: Christian Non-Denominational edition, Orthodox Christian edition, and Catholic edition.

What relationship areas does the FOCCUS© Inventory assess?

The FOCCUS© Couple Report presents scores and graphs of couples' agreement based on five major content areas, representing 19 separate scales:
MATCH: Life Style Expectations, Friends and Interests, Personality Match, Personal Issues

SKILLS: Communication, Problem Solving

BONDERS: Religion and Values, Parenting, Extended Family, Sexuality, Finances, Marriage Readiness, Marriage Covenant

SUMMARY CATEGORIES (combining category-specific items with relevant items from the rest of the inventory): Key Problem Indicators, Family of Origin, Dual Career

SPECIAL GROUPS: Interfaith Marriages, Remarriages, Cohabiting Couples

How can I become a FOCCUS Facilitator?

FOCCUS Facilitators can be pastors, lay individuals, mentor couples, or health care professionals, who participate in a 1-day training regarding how to use the FOCCUS© Pre-marriage Inventory with couples. In order to become a FOCCUS Facilitator, New FOCCUS trainees must attend a one-day workshop provided by a Certified FOCCUS Trainer, purchase a FOCCUS© Facilitator Manual for use during facilitation, fill out a Facilitator Attestation form agreeing to appropriate use of the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory, and register on-line with FOCCUS, Inc. USA. Want to become a FOCCUS Facilitator? Get started now »

How can I become a FOCCUS Trainer?

FOCCUS Trainers are experienced FOCCUS Facilitators who become certified to teach others to use the FOCCUS© Pre-marriage Inventory with couples.

To become a FOCCUS Trainer, a trained Facilitator must participate in a one-day workshop provided by a FOCCUS National Trainer, have facilitated at least 10 couples using the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory (or have commensurate experience), provide letters of recommendation from two couples, complete an application form, and participate in an individual discussion with a FOCCUS Certified National Trainer. Want to become a FOCCUS Trainer? Get started now »

How can I find a FOCCUS© Facilitator in my area?

Couples are encouraged to ask whether their pastor, counselor, pre-marriage educator or organization uses the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory. Organization and individuals offering FOCCUS facilitation can also be searched on the FOCCUS website. Looking for a FOCCUS Facilitator? Find a Facilitator in your area.

How is the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory Scored?

Online Scoring can be done two ways:
  • Online Entry by Couple-Couples take the FOCCUS©?Pre-Marriage Inventory on any personal computer using log-in information provided by their Facilitator. Once it is completed, the Facilitator can immediately view and print the confidential FOCCUS© Couple Report.
  • QuickScore by Facilitator - Facilitators who administer the paper-pencil version of the FOCCUS© Inventory can then input the couple's responses into a QuickScore screen on the FOCCUS, Inc. USA website, immediately obtaining the FOCCUS© Couple Report.

On-line scoring provides the following advantages:

  • Faster and less expensive than mailing in answer sheets
  • Convenient report management by Facilitators
  • Excellent report features not available in other formats:
    • Full-sentence items printed on the report
    • Responses clustered according to category
    • Detailed graphs of agreement of the couples' responses
    • Free, colorful FOCCUS© for the Future forms with each report!
    • Free Questions by Category with each report!

 

What does scoring cost?

  • Online Scoring - $15 per couple (or as low as $10 per couple when purchased in bulk).
    • Applies to Online Entry by couple or Quick Score entry by the Facilitator.
    • Includes free download of FOCCUS© for the Future for use by the couple and Questions by Category for use by Facilitator (a grouping of inventory answers by category with corresponding goals and inspirational quotes - to assist Facilitator in discussion with couples).

Why should couples take the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory?

The FOCCUS© Pre-marriage Inventory was designed for couples preparing for marriage or seriously considering marriage. It provides them with a personalized profile of their relationship, its strengths and challenges. Overwhelmingly, couples give as their top response to the FOCCUS© Pre-marriage Inventory, "It helped us to talk about what we didn't know we needed to talk about." FOCCUS actively involves the engaged couple in the marriage preparation process,

The FOCCUS© Pre-marriage Inventory is ideal for use by professionals or trained lay persons who help prepare couples for marriage. It gives a unique profile of the couple so that the preparation work can reinforce the strengths in the relationship and concentrate discussion or problem solving on the particular challenges the couple may face. FOCCUS can be readily adapted to marriage preparation programs, skills training or facilitation by mentor couples.

Can I use the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory as part of a broader marriage preparation program?

Yes! The private discussion of the FOCCUS© Couple Report with a trained FOCCUS Facilitator, can provide an essential "first step" in a marriage preparation program. It allows couples to identify their strengths and needs, while readying them to move further into marriage education, skill trainings or work with a mentor couple. To get a sense of the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory, view the 10 Sample Questions taken randomly from the 156 basic and 33 optional items in the Inventory.

Why does discussion of the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory require a trained FOCCUS Facilitator?

Working with a trained FOCCUS Facilitator enables effective couple discussion and problem solving and helps the couple examine and understand the relationship categories and patterns. FOCCUS Facilitators are trained to encourage each partner's private reflection, as well as the couple's shared discussion regarding the items and topics on the inventory.

Which categories in the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory are most predictive of future marital challenge or quality?

The 1995 study by Williams and Jurich indicate that the FOCCUS© Pre-marriage Inventory categories of Problem Solving and Personality Match provide the strongest indicators of the future for couples. All the categories have good predictive validity but these two areas warrant special attention by FOCCUS Facilitators and couples. View Research Articles.

Why does the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory work so well in so many different countries and cultures?

Every category of the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory calls for the couple to examine what each partner brings from his/her family, culture or environment. This includes attitudes and expectations about money, sex, communication, household roles, etc. that they are likely to repeat or react against in the new marriage. Emphasizing these aspects of the relationship allows a great diversity of patterns and messages to emerge and tailors the inventory not only to the couple, but also to their specific cultural background(s) and setting.

Why are there multiple editions of the FOCCUS© Pre-Marriage Inventory?

Many religions and cultures share the goal of encouraging healthy, successful marriages, and FOCCUS, Inc. USA seeks to provide a pre-marriage inventory that can be used by marriage educators worldwide to promote positive communication and understanding for engaged couples. For this reason, the following editions of the FOCCUS© Pre-marriage Inventory differ primarily in the wording used in questions related to values, spirituality and religion.
  • General Edition: generic language on values and beliefs (no reference to a specific religion)
  • Christian Non-Denominational: terms and language specific to Christian groups
  • Christian Orthodox: terms and language specific to Christian Orthodox groups
  • Catholic Edition: terms and language specific to Catholic groups
  • Alternate Edition: generic language on values and beliefs, written for those with a lower level of reading and learning skills (full number of inventory questions)
  • Abridged Edition: generic language on values and beliefs, written for those with lower reading level and/or learning skills, or with limited experience taking questionnaires (reduced number of inventory questions/ available in Spanish only)

Note: The editions are written for those who read at a 6th grade reading level (except for the Alternate and Abridged Edition, which are more simplified)

Is there an Inventory for Married Couples?

The REFOCCUS© Marriage Enrichment Inventory is a packet of five separate research-based questionnaires that married couples can take on their own or through a Facilitator. REFOCCUS guides a couple's private discussion at home, as part of a weekend retreat, or in five weekly evenings of discussion with other couples. Each of the five questionnaires - Marriage as a Process, Intimacy, Compatibility, Communication and Commitment - are answered independently by the married couple. A self-scoring process compares the couple's answers to each other and to the inventory's preferred responses. Scoring the REFOCCUS© Inventory highlights the areas warranting celebration and/or further discussion, and provides discussion questions specific to each of these areas on the inside of the questionnaire. For group use, the REFOCCUS© Guide to Individual and Group Discussion offers suggestions regarding format, content and handouts to guide and enhance each couple's conversation. REFOCCUS© is especially useful to couples willing to devote time and energy to their relationship but who desire direction and skill building assistance in doing this. Find out more about the REFOCCUS© Marriage Enrichment Inventory