As wedding nears, Darin and Molly answer questions

By: Part of a continuing series

GENESEO — Darin Ries and Molly McKean knew they had a vocation to marriage long before he asked her to marry him and she said “yes,” so they didn’t shy away from talking about the issues involved in building a life together.

Even so, they found it beneficial to take the pre-marital inventory required of all couples preparing for marriage in the Diocese of Peoria. More than “he said, she said,” these instruments are designed to help couples learn more about themselves and their relationship, said Tim Roder, director of the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family.

“It is not a test for compatibility or to see if you qualify for marriage,” Roder told The Catholic Post. “It is a profile that identifies issues unique to the couple.”

The most commonly used inventory in the Diocese of Peoria is FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study), which includes 156 questions in 19 categories. Each person answers the questions separately and then comes together with a trained facilitator after their inventory is scored to talk about areas where they agreed and areas where they might need more discussion.

“The instrument begins to work immediately as it raises issues for the individual and the couple when they first discuss it — ‘What did you put down for . . .’ or ‘How did you answer that,'” Roder said. “It helps couples uncover attitudes they may have overlooked or never thought of or discussed before.”

Darin proposed to Molly through an ad in the June 15 issue of The Catholic Post. Their wedding is scheduled for next Saturday, Nov. 8, at St. John the Baptist Church in Bradford.

As they started to prepare for their marriage, they invited The Post and its readers to follow their progress. Previous stories have covered their plans for their wedding liturgy and their decision to study and use natural family planning as “marriage insurance.”

After taking their FOCCUS inventory, they had one follow-up session with Deacon Robert and Kathy O’Rourke, who serve at St. Malachy’s Parish in Geneseo.

“I actually felt pretty good about taking it,” Molly said about FOCCUS. “When we got through I felt like most of the questions were things we had already talked about. That was good.”

Editor’s note — The final installment in the series about the marriage preparation process for Darin Ries and Molly McKean comes in the next issue of The Catholic Post, when they talk about their decision to participate in an Engaged Couple Encounter weekend.

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