Bloke and I are getting married in the Catholic church, and part of that process is taking part in a FOCCUS premarriage course. I made the terrible mistake of searching FOCCUS and reading some of the posts people have made on various wedding sites. This was a bad idea, all these women talking about the arguments, tears and doubt it had all caused. I was now terrified. What had i signed us up for. I have enough problems with the politics of the Catholic church as is. What kind of questions were they going to ask us?!(FOCCUS also comes in a number of versions for various of denominations as well as a religion free version.)
Bloke tried to reassure me. He'd been the one to set up our appointment and the lady from Scottish Marriage Care had sounded lovely he said. And you know what? He was right. They have been lovely so far.
And FOCCUS itself? Its at least 150 very common sense questions. We had to do a few more because Bloke isn't Catholic and we live together, so we had two extra little blocks of about 15 questions apiece. Questions isn't quite correct, statements is more accurate actually and you have the option to agree, disagree or uncertain. And there shouldn't be anything that will shock you assuming you've both talked about money, the prospect of children, careers, the place of your social lives. That you're aware weddings don't magically fix any of your problems, that relationships are hard and that people are flawed and you might encounter problems. Some questions might be a bit shocking for more conservative types, you will be asked to think about the prospect of your partner cheating, statements on your own sexuality and if their is a pregnancy or other aspect that is pushing you into the marriage. And you have to think about how the relationship you have with your own as well as your partners parents might impact on your own relationship.
Once you fill the quiz out separately, its sent away to be computed and after about a week and a half you go back to discuss the results as a couple with a counselor.
See? Nothing to be afraid of. At all I promise. The only thing to be wary of is the smug feeling you'll get from being sure you are complete agreement over everything. More on that come part two...