Inventories: Predicting Marital Satisfaction - 3/31/00
Fri Mar 31 12:56:37 EST 2000
from: Smart Marriages
My goodness! This article has to win the prize for most
errors per square inch. Yet, it's interesting and helpful.
Maybe we should have a contest and see who can find
the most mistakes. Of course, there are the clear
factual mistakes and then there are matters of interpretation.
Which would make it hard to determine the winner. So
I'll just list the factual mistakes I've spotted
and let you hash out
the others at the Denver conference in the workshop that compares
and contrasts the three major inventories -
FOCCUS, RELATE & PREPARE/ENRICH. The course developers
- Markey, Stahmann, and Olson - will be present to answer
questions in session, #307 "Premarital Inventories: A
User's Guide," chaired by Jeff Larson.
The piece closes with a quiz out of the Gottman/Carrere shop and
also gives a link to an on-line relationship quiz on
a site headquartered in Canada. - diane
March 31 2000
Julian Lee reports on the new PMT (pre-marital tests)
Compatibility: can you test for it?
TAKE THE RELATIONSHIP TEST
The age-old adage 'marry in haste, repent at leisure' could be
consigned to the dustbin if a clutch of new American-style tests
designed to evaluate a couple's chances of a happy marriage find
their way onto the Internet in the UK.
All couples have to do now, apparently, is answer a number of
multiple choice questions to find out if are they are truly
you score a high rating then your marriage is likely to endure,
your score be low then you've got some talking to do.
It's worked in America where the tests have, in some areas, reduced
the rate of divorce, which, according to the University of Wisconsin,
currently stands at more than 52 per cent of all first marriages. In
Modesto, California, for example, divorces have dropped by 40
per cent since such tests were introduced a decade ago. The state
of Louisiana has even gone so far as to make the exam compulsory
for couples intending to marry. (#1)
To date more than a million American couples - each couple paying
$10 for the basic questionnaire - have taken part and the method,
which involves couples answering more than 100 questions and
then analysing the results to resolve any potential flashpoints in
future, is gradually gaining ground in the UK. (#2)
The tests carry brand names such as Prepare, Enrich and most
recently Foccus, and were developed by American academics in
the 1980s. Barbara Markey, a psychologist, founded Prepare and
Enrich in 1985, and is a director of the marriage and family
Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska. The Foccus model is the
brainchild of David Olson, a professor of family social science at
Now the tests are being administered to British couples preparing
for marriage. Although it is early days (for the best results couples
have to do the test at the beginning of their marriage plans), church
groups are adopting the system.
Chris Grimshaw of the Totnes Community Family Trust has been
running Foccus for three months and the ten couples that have taken
the test (he prefers to call it an inventory as the word test
participants can either pass or fail) have resolved their differences
and proceeded with their marriage plans. Mr Grimshaw, who is a
trained counsellor, says the tests have saved him time that would be
otherwise spent directing questions to the couples directly.
Could such systems work online? Grimshaw says the tests work as
a good 'X-Ray' of a relationship and he would welcome the test
being available via the Internet.
Nick Gulliford, who checks scores for Foccus in the UK and acts as
the organisation's chief representative, said: "I think it's
such tests will be available online but nothing has been decided yet.
I think it would be a very popular idea."
The Rev Dr Peter Brown, the UK agent for Prepare, confirmed that
ways were being explored to allow people to take the test online.
"The problem is you have to ensure that people come to the
questionnaire fresh. Those people who have got the biggest
problems are quite likely to be those who will try to get a sneak
Only this week a new system developed by scientists at the
University of Washington, and available for trial to readers of The
Times today, claimed it too is able to predict 90 per cent accuracy
a relationship's chance of survival.
Yet, despite such results, some of Britain's best known providers of
pre-marital advice have expressed dismay or, in the case of the
Church of England, rejected such tests.
Mr Gulliford claims he offered to licence the system to the Church of
England's board for social responsibility two months ago but the
offer was declined. "The Church is not an organisation but a
federation and they cannot impose things. Each parish has to make
its own decisions but I thought it would have been a good idea to
have it recommended by Church House," he said. The Church of
England was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Meanwhile Julia Cole, a counsellor with Relate, the UK's largest
marriage guidance organisation, says she would be worried if
couples were simply given the results of the test, which could often
be quite disturbing, and then told to get on with it. She added that
would be a "worrying prospect" if such systems were to go online.
"If you are not prepared for the answers then you could be quite
devastated. People need support when they are trying to come to
terms with something. If a test just tells you that you've probably
three years [in your marriage] and you thought it was for life then
you'd be pretty flattened."
#1 - Louisiana does not make the tests compulsory for any one who wants
to marry. No state does. Covenants and Community Marriage Policies
suggest that the inventories be taken.
#2 - The tests aren't all $10. See the links below for prices which
#3 - PREPARE/ENRICH was developed by David Olson. Barbara Markey
FOCCUS. RELATE is out of Brigham Young University and there are plans for
it to be available on-line later this spring.
#4 - The article is confusing in that RELATE is both the name of the major
marriage counseling organization in England and is also the
name of one of the American inventories. The article didn't include
the link to the RELATE inventory. I'll add that.
A Canadian site that offers an online test with instant results
you to assess your compatibility. To date this is the only online
'inventory test': http://www.queendom.com/tests/rel_sat.html
For more information on the Foccus test: http://www.foccusinc.com/
For a sample of the Prepare test:
For the RELATE inventory:
Relate agency: http://www.relate.org.uk/
Take the relationship test:
Compiled by Sybil Carrère, Ph.D. University of Washington The following
questionnaire can help you assess whether you are developing unhealthy
communication patterns with your partner or whether the friendship in
your relationship is intact.
1 When you think back to the first time you met your partner you remember
all the details (time, location, what your partner was wearing ,what
2 The two of you are pretty independent and have many activities or
sports you participate in separately
3 It is hard to say exactly what it was that attracted you to your
4 There are some behaviors your partner has you wish you could change
5 Your partner loves to go on dates and do other romantic things
6 Your partner would remember the exact date and circumstances of when
you first met
7 The two of you have had some tough things happen in your relationship
that were not under your control
8 You find yourselves finishing each other sentences frequently
9 You could name the person your partner admires most.
10 Your partner is your very best friend
11 Your partner probably wishes you would wait longer to get married
12 Your partner frequently compliments you and tells you he/she loves you
13 You decided to get married because it was the logical next step in
14 When you and your partner argue you both can get defensive
15 You both think good communication is important and you emphasise it in
16 Sometimes when the two of you argue you can get sarcastic with each
17 Sometimes you have had to struggle to make this relationship work
18 You and your partner have pet names for each other
19 Sometimes things happened between you and your partner that make you
20 You and your partner have the same beliefs, values and goals
How to work out your score:
You get one point for marking True on each of the following questions:
1, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 18 and 20.
You get one point for marking False on each of the following questions:
2, 3, 4, 7, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17 and 19.
WHAT YOUR SCORE MEANS
Scores of 16-20. Congratulations! You and your partner are building a
strong friendship and bond with each other. Your feelings of affection
and admiration for each other, the emphasis you put on knowing about what
is important to each other and your sense of unity all will help you
through the rough spots in your relationship.
Scores of 10-15. You have some good things going for you in your
relationship but you need to work on building and strengthening your
friendship. Happy couples have a deep sense of fondness and admiration
for each other. This fondness and admiration helps them discount the
times when their partner may be grumpy or thoughtless. Happy couples also
tend to put the relationship first and really think of themselves as a
unit. Knowing about each others' world is a real priority for happy
couples. They tend to know and care about little details such as what
kind of day you had at work, how your relationships are going with your
family and friends and other things that matter to you. Take more time
with your partner to know about what is important to each of you.
Remember to make your relationship a top priority. When you argue, and
all couples argue, remember it is the relationship that should win the
Scores below 10. It is time to take a hard look at your relationship to
see what you can do to improve it. Your relationship needs intensive care
if you and your partner don't feel fondness and admiration for each
other, if you tend to feel negative and depressed about your interactions
and if you don't feel as if you both take the time to really get to know
what matters to each of you.
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