I don't want to counsel them. Can they do it themselves?
April 5, 2012 10:06 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find a worthy self-administered pre-marital questionnaire!

So, later this year I will be officiating at the ceremony of a close family member. In our state, the marriage license fee is steeply discounted if the minister provides a notarized statement that the couple has gone through some premarital counseling.

They would obviously like to drop the fee down for financial reasons, and for those same reasons aren't looking for any formal counseling. Mrs. Lips and I went through the standard Catholic gamut of personal and group meetings, which though it sounds cliche and boring on the outside, actually did give us some good food for thought and brought about some constructive conversations.

Because said family member isn't going through the church, there's no formal processes or requirements for counseling. However, I'm not really keen on signing off a notarized document under false pretenses. So I would like to find a self-administered questionnaire that I can provide to the couple that they can use to answer questions, compare notes and discuss. They're on the honor system on this one because a) I'm not a counselor, and b) there's topics in these that you just don't discuss with family. Eww. As long as they promise to engage in the activity and report back with a specific example of how it helped, I'll sign the forms.

This should be a legitimate, honest test or process aimed at asking and/or answering the right questions that engaged couples should be asking, but able to be administered / completed by the couple themselves. Shouldn't be based in religion, but questions regarding spirituality are fine. Bonus points if it involves some 'fun' element while retaining useful purpose, if nothing else than to increase the chances that they'll actually follow through on it.

Thanks all!
posted by SquidLips to Human Relations (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I can't help you but MrMoonPie (a MeFite) might be able to send you in the right direction, seems he knows all about the nuts and bolts of weddings, especially outside the mainstream type
posted by bebrave! at 10:24 PM on April 5, 2012

My mother is an Episcopal priest and what she tells people before she marries them is basically that the ceremony is not magic; if you're not already really, truly married before the wedding then nothing that is said at the service is going to change that. Would you consider asking them "Do you already believe yourselves to be married?" or something similar?

If they don't already have the relationship they want, getting married isn't going to fix it. If they do and the wedding is a way to celebrate that, fantastic! The best weddings are basically "We love each other. Other people love us. Let's have a party!" (note: this can be a solemn, traditional party, that's cool, as long as it's a genuine celebration of the love that the people getting married and their friends and family feel for each other).
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:28 PM on April 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Mrs. and I took the quiz in The Couple Checkup before we got married. It's pretty much what you're asking for, except for the fun part. Unless, of course, you find taking multiple choice tests with your girlfriend then comparing results fun, which I kinda do.
posted by Gilbert at 10:50 PM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think taking a formal inventory is worth it. They are pretty straightforward (ours was administered by the ELCA pastor who did our ceremony but it wasn't really religion-focused) but it does get you to really look in a low-drama context at where you stand on important stuff (kids, money, spiritual beliefs) and gives you a chance to talk frankly about anything you're worried about.

I know a commonly used tool similar to the one we used is the RELATE tool, you can take it online and it is inexpensive ($20 per couple). It should be noted that it was developed at Brigham Young University though it is supposed to be non-denominational and not push a particular religious agenda.
posted by nanojath at 10:23 AM on April 6, 2012

In addition to the spiritual and personality questions, I think you should point them to some financial counseling questionnaires. Here's one from GetRichSlowly.org (which is actually an article written by Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool) and Here's one from TheSimpleDollar.com.
posted by CathyG at 1:11 PM on April 6, 2012

Books by John Gottman, who has done a lot of research on how and why relationships work, or don't. The Marriage Clinic seems to have quizzes.
posted by theora55 at 2:55 PM on April 6, 2012

« Older What to do about a hit and run?   |   Restaurant/wine bar/lounge recommendations for two... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.