Colorado Wants To Require 10 Hours Of Marriage Education Before Wedding And I Say ‘Why Not?’

53328962A proposed ballot initiative in Colorado would make 10 hours of marriage education classes  necessary for those who wished to wed. It’s being called the Colorado Marriage Education Act. While I adamantly believe that as an adult I’ve earned my right to make horrible relationship decisions without the state intervening – this may be a good idea.

Ten hours is bumped up to 20 if it’s your second marriage and 30 if it’s your third. From the Denver Post:

Proponents David Schel and Sharon Tekolian of California-based Kids Against Divorce say the intended purpose of the act is to “better prepare individuals going into marriage to fulfill their new roles as spouse and potentially as parent, to furthermore protect children given that marriage is the foundation of a family unit.”

What is this class going to cover? I’m intrigued. If I was teaching it, this would be my syllabus:

Hour one: Learning to nod your head in agreement when you really disagree; the key to a peaceful breakfast.

Hour two: How to replace the empty roll of toilet paper without having a rage-stroke; not everyone is equipped to handle paper products.

Hour three: Your mom bought me queen sized panty-hose for Christmas again, and it’s making me feel anger; effectively complaining about in-laws.

Hour four: You need boobs to get into the grocery store and other myths of marriage.

Hour five: I don’t shave my legs from October – March; revealing your true self to your partner without fear.

Hour six: I never found that sexy; dismantling untruths without hurting feelings.

Hour seven: That shirt looks like it came from a European Male catalog; effective and ineffective criticism.

Hour eight: I had no idea you had to wax that much; appearances vs. reality.

Hour nine: I’ll never wear a sexy French maid outfit in the kitchen again; the difference between courtship and commitment.

Hour ten: Your second spouse will be just as annoying; the laws of probability.

(photo: Getty Images)

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  • brebay

    Most states require a court-ordered “How not to fuck up your kids when you get divorced” class for anyone seeking a divorce with children or a custody action. People may show up to avoid court costs, but they still manage to go straight home and fuck up their kids. I don’t think this will make a bit of difference in the long run, and I don’t think more state control over who does and doesn’t get to marry is going to change the divorce rate. Marriage hasn’t been around forever and has evolved to meet societal uses. If this type of traditional marriage has outlived its purpose, it doesn’t mean the downfall of a nation.

    • nikki753

      I don’t think that it’s a matter of the state dictating what couples are compatible enough but rather helping people learn how to be half of a married couple. Such as learning how to compromise, when to compromise, when not to compromise, and how to communicate these things in a fair, non-inflammatory fashion. I think most adults could learn a lot about just plain relationships (including friendships and business) through such counseling. We would have done premarital classes but everything we looked into was extremely cost-prohibitive.

    • AlbinoWino

      Sure, but should it be the job of the government to dictate what the key points to a marriage are? Relationships are just as distinctive as people so what might work for one couple might not work for the next. Marriage means different things to different people.

    • nikki753

      True but I guess I’m looking at this less as a dictation and requiring that people come to certain agreements but as time set aside with a mediator and a framework that gets people to spend just a fraction of the time between engagement and the wedding on planning their marriage. And, from the state’s perspective, divorces are very expensive.

    • Toastlette

      Exactly! That is one of the first things that popped into my head- whose definition are they going by? Followed shortly by thoughts of time, money, logistics, etc. This is not a good idea for a law, in my opinion…

    • Kheldarson

      It does, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t same basic things that can help a marriage succeed long term. One of the things that my Engaged Encounter retreat had was several communication sessions where we talked about, well, how to talk, argue, compromise. They never said any one way was right, but it was more an opening for us as a couple to start discussing how we wanted to communicate with one another and reflect on that. These classes aren’t here to say, “If you do X then you’ll last forever” but instead to say “We’re here to help you to stop thinking solely as individuals but give you a chance to start considering how you want to act as a unit.”

    • brebay

      But even the idea of an equal unit will be very offensive to some fundamental Christians/Muslims who believe their religion dictates that marriage has one leader, not a unit of two, so then you’re getting into religious issues as well.

    • brebay

      Sorry, but the government isn’t “here to help” anybody to stop thinking anything. You’re missing the point. Whether or not it’s a good idea is legally irrelevant, it’s a question only of whether the government has the POWER to mandate this. It’s a constitutional issue. A state act must have a legitimate power source in the constitution and the means must be reasonably related to the constitutional end (power source), it’s sort of the tenet of America.

    • Kheldarson

      They kind of do have the power to mandate this. Which is the only part I’m really confused about with the whole article is that they want to put this on marriages but not civil unions. Technically, the only thing the state is concerned with is the civil union: that’s what you’re agreeing to with the marriage license. The religious wedding is just the icing on the cake, so to speak.

      So frankly speaking, the state CAN make it a requirement for their license to have X whatever prep, just like they can for getting a driver’s license, medical license, teaching license, etc. That becomes part and parcel.

      Whether they should or not is a different question, just as what effect it would have is yet another. And, of course, this still hasn’t even come up for vote yet, so it may all be moot as is.

    • brebay

      I don’t know where you went to law school, but you’re just plain wrong here. The driver’s license and professional licensing are from a completely different state end, and are a public health and safety issue. You just don’t get it, but it doesn’t matter, it cannot and will not pass.

    • brebay

      Exactly. I think pre-marriage counseling is a great idea, I think state-mandated pre-marriage counseling is an obscene abuse of state power.

  • Kheldarson

    My hubs and I did a premarital retreat weekend offered by our dioceses. We did that to cover the fact we couldn’t meet up with the priest who would be officiating our wedding (we were getting married in my previous church where my parents still lived which was in another state) for the require premarital counseling the Church requires.

    While the retreat wasn’t going to necessarily change our minds about getting married, it did provide an opportunity and framework to talk about things we hadn’t really thought about before, like finances, child rearing, blending families, etc. So just for the extra bit of thought this type of class provides I can see it being helpful. It makes you consider what you’re about to step into.

  • jan

    I did pre-marriage counselling. Compulsary for our church.

    I went into it with a fairly closed mind- I wasn’t sure what to expect- but hellooooo- we were getting married. Of course we loved each other- that’s all you need!

    Sometimes when you’re in love- you try to avoid talking about the hard truths- and yes- sometimes that is as simple as who has to replace the toilet roll. And especially how you will handle the in laws and friend (for me socially family is first, for him it’s friends).

    And combine all of those little inconsistencies together- you realise that you might not be so compatible after all which leads to marriage breakdowns.

    With pre-marraige conselling we really got down to the nitty gritty. And honestly it worked for us. An example is – I don’t take advantage of the fact he likes a clean house- and he appreciates it more when I go out of my way to clean when he’s not home so he has something less to worry about.

    I actually recommend pre-marital counselling to all my friends who are getting married. I think its awesome.

  • Mel

    I wish there was something like this for people who are going to have kids. Not as an insult, and it should apply to all parents. I think it could provide lots of helpful tips.

    • nikki753

      It does say something about our culture when it’s easier, cheaper, and not only socially acceptable but somewhat expected to go to dog training than to go to parenting classes. I really think a lot of people (both from the parent side and the side of the children and the adults they’ll be) would be way happier if parenting classes were more common.

    • Harriet Meadow

      Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.

    • Katherine Handcock

      My husband and I have said for years that there should be a free course you have to take before you become a parent. No exams, no studying, but you have to attend all classes. It would help everyone, and for the parents who ARE deliberately abusive or neglectful, it would streamline the process of getting the kids in a better home, because no one could ever claim that they didn’t know about X, Y, or Z.

    • Mel

      Yes! I agree fully. It should be free of charge and required for everyone. I think society would more than get its money’s worth out of a program like this. Just like a license to shoot or drive – you never know what you don’t know until you take the class. I also think it’s a really good point about making it more efficient to help kids out of dangerous homes.

  • LiteBrite

    I can sum up marriage instruction in five words: happy wife equals happy life.

    In all seriousness, we did marriage counseling prior to getting married. It wasn’t as in-depth as others are describing, but it was still enlightening. I believe Catholicism has a good process. Several of my friends were married in the Catholic Church, and they had to do extensive pre-marriage counseling and a weekend retreat. Most said it put their marriage into perspective.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Yep. We did that. I was super annoyed and saw it as “just another thing to get done before the damn wedding.” But….we quickly realized it was very valuable, and I wish I hadn’t dreaded it so much. Sometimes I would like to go back there for a little review session.

    • Kay_Sue

      We actually do periodic counseling. I have to check in with my counselor anyway, thanks to my brain, and we also schedule a session every year or so, sometimes more often if we’re going through stuff. It can be helpful to refresh.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Alas, we looked into it a while back and since it’s not through the church anymore we can’t afford it….

  • AlbinoWino

    Ugh, I hate this idea. I just find it rather insulting and I don’t see if having the effect that they would really want. I think one huge reason for divorce is people growing and changing. No ten hour class is going to have an impact on that years down the line. If people want to have marriage counseling before the wedding I say go for it. But the state mandating it? No. Also, they don’t make people in CO with civil unions get it because hey everyone, remember they don’t matter and it’s not a REAL marriage in the eyes of God. Plus, they can’t even reproduce!! I’m engaged and my partner was with his ex-wife for twelve years. That marriage was a mistake for a lot of reasons but it took years for them both to really realized that. And the divorce was very good for them and for their daughter in the big picture. I don’t anticipate knowing everything about marriage going into it but I don’t think a class is going to better prepare me.

    • Mystik Spiral

      Not to mention all the people who happily have long term-relationships (sometimes having kids) WITHOUT getting married.

      I think this kind of counseling can be a good idea for many couples, whether getting married or not, but compulsory, mandated by the state? Hell to the no.

    • lezbehonest

      Just a friendly reminder that not just gay and lesbian couples have civil unions. There are just as many if not more hetero couples that get civil unions for whatever reasoning.

      And I think that the point of the class(es) are to give you a better understanding of what it means to be married. Several people get married without any real thought or because they want the big party. Divorces that occur within 2 years of marriage is generally not because the two people “grew and changed.”

      Just some thoughts. :D

    • Shelly Lloyd

      I agree, I do not see it helping most marriages.

  • AlbinoWino

    Also, it just seems very classist as it’s just one more thing a couple has to pay for and possibly take off work for. You know, because poor people shouldn’t be getting married anyway.

    • LiteBrite

      This is an excellent point. Our pre-marriage counseling was free through the church, but if you’re not getting married in a church (or if your church does not provide it), who is going to pick up the tab? As someone said in another comment, she had looked into pre-marriage counseling, but it was cost-prohibitive.

    • AlbinoWino

      Very true. My fiance and I are atheists so there we wouldn’t be pursuing any religious sort of counseling. I just think asking people to pony up more money to protect marriage or make it more sacred or something is pretty silly.

    • Kheldarson

      The state I got married in did a trade-off: you got a discount on your marriage license if you went through premarital classes. Maybe with this law the state could look at lowering the license cost?

    • Emil

      That sounds like a good idea to me. Making these things compulsory is problematic but I could definitely support some sort of discount if you go through the process.

    • K

      Yes, I could back making classes an option and in return discount a marriage license. I don’t they should make it a requirement.

    • JLH1986

      In my state my marriage license was $30…so…that wouldn’t work.

    • ted3553

      I had friends do pre-marriage counseling through their church. At one point, the leader asked them to bow their heads and hold up fingers for how many children they wanted. They then had to raise their heads and look at their partners response. My friend said it was surprising how many couples disagreed not just on 2vs 3 but 1vs none. They said it was shocking how many couples didn’t talk about essentials like raising kids in a faith, discipline, money etc before getting married. If pre-marriage counseling covers this and is cheap or reasonably priced, it seems to me like it would be a good thing.

    • Tea

      Off topic, but I wanted to say that as a person with albinism and a brewer, you have the best user name.

    • Jallun-Keatres

      Really off topic, but I think people with albinism are some of the most beautiful people there are.

    • Tea

      I have OCA1B, so aside from some awesome heterchromia (one silver eye, one green and brown), I pass as sighted pretty well. I just look like a very pale blond.

    • Jallun-Keatres

      You’re not gonna believe this, but I love heterchromia so much that I made it a key feature in a race I created. Their right eye is blue and their left eye is brown. I feel like such a nerd right now hahaha

      I am glad you’re sighted; the guy at school I knew with it had pretty good vision too but had some nystagmus going on which creeped out the common folk.

    • Andrea

      I didn’t think of that, but I am hoping cost won’t be an issue.

      I know a lot of churches require it (for free of course), but that won’t work for people that don’t want to have anything to do with churches.

      I hope they work it so it isn’t a money thing.

    • AP

      Some religions make people pay. I stopped entertaining even the IDEA of a religious wedding when I saw how much cost it would add.

    • Emil

      I bet it’s a lot cheaper than a divorce.

    • jendra_berri

      A lot of poor people aren’t marrying anymore as it is and are living together and starting families in co-habitation.

  • Audrey

    I don’t know, I’ve been happily with my SO for nearly 8 years now (since I was 18 and he was 17), so the idea of the state needing to instruct us on how to make a relationship work kind of offends me.

  • CoastieWife

    Wow, this will suck for military couples. My husband worked all sorts of strange hours and would be called out at a moment’s notice (Coast Guard). We could not have anything written in stone…time off to get married had to be approved during one of the two periods of the year they did not go out for two weeks because they were doing work on their boats. There was no way we could find 10 hours for marriage classes!

    • thebadlydrawnfox

      I hear you. If you both worked long and conflicting hours, if one of you travels a lot for work, if you have young children and little access to childcare… this would be difficult to organise.

      I am genuinely concerned by this, because my partner lives in Colorado and I live in the UK. We already have to jump through ridiculous hoops in order to get one or the other of us a visa, and now if we want to marry in his home state I could be required to do 10 hours of classes first? It wouldn’t be feasible.

      There are hundreds of reasons why it might not be feasible for couples to do this. Heavily suggest classes, sure, but *require* them?

  • Momma425

    Let’s say it’s my fiance’s 3rd marriage, but it’s my first. Do I have to go to 30 hours of premarital counseling because he made marriage mistakes in the past?
    I wouldn’t want to have to take time off of work to do this. I have had really bad experiences with couple’s counseling stuff in the past with my daughter’s dad (who I did NOT marry, thank the Lord) and prefer to do counseling as an individual thing. I don’t think making people do something that they don’t want to will be effective.

    • Kay_Sue

      That’s a really good point, and as a second wife, I would not want to attend twenty hours because he and the first couldn’t sort things out.

  • Kay_Sue

    I do think that pre-marital counseling is great, but let’s face it, the government can’t really figure out how to balance a budget and settle disagreements amongst themselves, so are they really the ones to preach right now?

    I also don’t like the idea of focusing on what if people become parents. What about people that NEVER want to be parents? Do they have to go through this requirement also?

    And I’m pro-smaller government in 90% of cases. This seems like a huge overreach to me.

    • Kay_Sue

      I would, however, sign up for the Maria Guido counseling session in a heartbeat. :D

    • Kheldarson

      I’m also pro-small government, so I get where you’re coming from on the overreach.

      At the same time, I like the idea of having the requirement, not for the sake of becoming parents, but simply for added societal stability. There’s a number of benefits to having stable connected couples in a community of any orientation from economics to civics. So I can see why the government would want to encourage longer unions in this way.

      And very much agree on the government needing a communications class as well :)

    • Rachel Sea

      It’s not a government initiative though, it’s a private initiative put forth by a charity.

    • Kay_Sue

      But there are societies that have no concept of marriage, or different constructions of it, that do just fine.

      There’s a society within China, for instance, where men and women live separately, screw like bunnies as they will, and men raise their nieces/nephews and women raise their children with their brothers as a male influence.

      With something that’s so far ranging, how do they effectively teach a class on it? Who pays for it? Taxpayers? Couple themselves? What if the couple can’t afford it? What if the couple can’t take time off of work for it? What if the couple does take time off work for it and has financial disruptions because of it?

      Not only that, but marriage is different for different people. What you and your partner face isn’t what I face with my partner. What someone in the upper echleon of society faces isn’t the same as what someone in the lower “ranks” faces. Do we differentiate based on social class then?

      And all of this is without ever delving into religious versus non-religious versus different types of religious…There’s just entirely too many variables for me. I can honestly see offering a discount like someone mentioned above–waive part of the marriage license fee for those that attend classes. But you have a very good chance of actually destabilizing marriage among the lower classes with a requirement like this.

    • Kheldarson

      That discount suggestion was mine, btw. SC has some weird marriage requirements, but I did like that initiative.

      And I do get that you’ve got all different models of marriage; I was just saying I get why the state would see this as a good idea. The idea of premarital counseling is NOT to teach what technically makes a good marriage and what a marriage will be but is more an opportunity to learn about the challenges couples face in general (first question we had in my retreat was about our families and how we interacted with them and how we planned on engaging them as a couple). These are things that tend to be leading causes to communication break downs later.

      I do agree that their needs to be some sort of financial system to compensate for any kind of payment you have to make: like if this is required to get married, then the license fee should cover paying for the class or vice versa (because we both know the government ain’t going to let us get away with not paying them somehow).

    • Kay_Sue

      I’d say they’d also need to offer a very wide range of classes. Pagans have a different of marriage from Christians; Christians have a different view from atheists. Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Protestants.

      This is the good part about of being able to pursue it for yourself if you and your partner decide to do so–you can seek out the program that works best for you. If there’s a statewide curriculum, essentially, I just don’t see it working, to be honest. Too many variables that the government can’t control unless they are willing to really reach in and standardize things.

      I thought that was yours, but I wasn’t sure, actually. I saw it mentioned multiple times, and wasn’t sure who said it first.

    • Kheldarson

      I think the key there is in the “reach in and standardize” things. We already know they like to do that: see our education issues.

      But that’s another rant for another time.

      And I do like the idea of having a variety of classes, but at the same time, marriage, at its core, isn’t that different among any culture. Yes, we may view it differently in some aspects, but, to be honest, our retreat weekend really only had like maybe 3 or 4 class topics that were particularly religiously oriented (we talked about living together before marriage as Catholics, prayer as a family, marriage as a sacrament, and then my hubs and I went through Natural Family Planning. There may have been one more, but I can’t recall right now). The rest of the weekend was mostly addressing communication with your partner and covering topics like preparing financially for your future, and how to deal with quirks, and discussing kids (yes, no, how many, how you want to raise them).

      These are all things that every couple (or triple, or common law, atheist, religious, tribal, whatever) faces. The specifics may change, but we can still help by looking at the generics.

      But looking at the article, I see that it’s really only applying it to those who get “married” but not to “civil unions”. What’s the difference in Colorado besides going to a judge vs. going to a church?

    • Kay_Sue

      I can’t get behind it. It’s one thing when you and your partner choose to go to counseling, because that counselor is able to tailor it to your needs.

      The fact is though, there are very different experiences this discounts. For instance, if you have someone who is very conservatively Christian–someone who strictly believes the wife is to submit to the husband–versus someone who believes that less strictly, or not at all, that impacts everything from how couples handle conflict to how they make decisions to how they handle finances. There’s no core experience to marriage. Every partnership involves different ways of communicating, combined with different backgrounds and life experiences. There’s a million different nuances that would need to be addressed that can’t be easily outside of individual sessions for couples.

      I really get where you are coming from and what you are saying. I do. And I do believe that premarital counseling is a great asset. But I definitely don’t think it should be mandated. The government needs to stay out of our bodies, out of our bedrooms, and out of our marriages. They have no business being there.

    • footnotegirl

      The way our state does it is nice. You aren’t required to do anything, but you can get a huge discount (50% when I got married) off of your marriage license if you brought in proof that you had had 8 hours of pre-marriage counseling either from a licensed couples counselor or from a properly trained member of clergy. In our case, that boiled down to three long dinners and chat sessions with our officiant where we talked about marriage, expectations, decision making styles, children, money, etc. etc.
      Carrot is so much better than stick.

    • Whatwhatque

      That’s how they do it in my state, too, but we’re not religious and all the nearby counselors that they recommended mentioned being faith-based. So we just paid the full price but we were open to it since I thought it might be cool. I feel like 10 hours would be insane but I have no problem with a encouraging people to address the big topics in marriage before the state sanctions it. I wouldn’t want a class to teach me what my conservative state makes a great a marriage, but I think an unbiased person just facilitating a conversation about marriage goals would be great.

      Also, I wonder if she meant International Male which had the most amazing catalogs featuring all the European mesh thongs one could dream of!

    • Kay_Sue

      This way makes sense to me. It’s not that I don’t see the value in it–I really do. It’s the “stick” that I take issue with.

  • Emily Wight

    I think there should be an 11th hour where you learn to identify the difference between general fatigue and outright contempt, with coping mechanisms/solutions for both,

  • Rachel Sea

    I’d be in favor of practical skills classes. Getting Knocked up Won’t Fix Him, Getting Married Won’t Make You Mature, Bills: How to Pay Them, Retirement: It’s Not Just a Good Idea…

    But I’m very suspicious about the curriculum, because the Kids Against Divorce website reads a little nutty. They’re basically advocating always staying together for the children, except in cases of domestic violence, and that is just incredibly naive. The founder is the child of divorced parents and I think some serious counseling is called for…but for him, not everyone in Colorado.

    • brebay


    • AlbinoWino

      Yeah. While I understand that divorce can be hard for a kid I also realize that staying married to someone when there is lots of conflict can damage a kid just as much if not more. My fiance’s ex had a lot of mental health problems that made her unstable. She also identifies as a lesbian so I don’t really see how them staying together would have benefited their daughter. Now my fiance has full custody of her and she’s doing quite well.

    • MerlePerle

      I’m the child of two very happily divorced people. Them staying together would have made them miserable…no way that could have been good for me.

  • NotTakenNotAvailable

    Off-topic, but I wonder how the passage of such a bill would affect Colorado’s common-law definitions? Currently, all two opposite-sex, non-related people need to do to be married under those statutes is move in together and declare themselves as being married, and there’s really no set definition for how one can declare a marriage. By this standard, I’ve technically failed at marriage twice!

    More on-topic: I really wonder how they think they’d make this work. I agree with some of the commenters here about making counseling a way to offset marriage license costs, but since you can currently get officially married by showing up at the DMV and having them print out your marriage license (no witnesses needed!) FOR FREE, that solution is off the table. And we’ve got enough card-carrying NRA members and sheeple-decrying libertarians outside of Denver and Boulder that compulsory marriage counseling would never pass anyway.

    • Kay_Sue

      Wow. Is there a time limit on the common law? Our state requires you to be in the same residence for three days before you can declare. ;)

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      I’d heard that it was 3 days for us, too, but apparently all you need is a lease with two signatures on it. :X

  • jendra_berri

    Mmm… it could be useful, as in a household finances crash course and a birth control refresher, stuff people sometimes plain don’t learn and which are directly related to sharing a life with someone. But every marriage functions differently and a regulated marriage course from the state seems overly reaching. Not to mention, it’d be challenging to merge the secular with the religious.

    • carosaurusrex

      How is it merging secular and religious? From how the article reads, it seems like the initiative would require the ten hours of counseling in order to get a state-issued marriage license, which is totally separate from a religious marriage ceremony.

  • DatNanny

    I think this is an excellent idea in theory. If it’s offered for free, it could help a lot of couples. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening, which would be a hardship for too many couples.

    I also think it can be difficult for a couple with particular values to accept a state-run marriage class. If this were in effect, I would hope there could be an option to fulfill the requirement through an equivalent church or other privately run class.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      I think your last paragraph is exactly why it’ll never fly in Colorado. We might have legalized weed, but we’re also home to at least two of the top twenty most conservative counties in the nation. One of those is headquarters to Focus on the Family and several megachurches, all of which will get their undies in an wad over the government intruding even farther into the institution of marriage.

    • Muggle

      This is why I don’t support state-run or state-sponsored marriage classes, period. Sure, they might be great in a more liberal state with more diversity… they’d be terrible in the redder states because couples with “particular values” would have no problem fulfilling the requirements through a church OR through the state… but couples without those values would have problems.

  • Muggle

    Yeah, let’s implement this in all the Southern states that still have abstinence-only sex ed policies. That’ll be just fucking BRILLIANT. Actually, NC doesn’t have one anymore and Virginia has never had one, and I would still never trust either of those states with marriage counseling.

    I like the idea, but if the state can’t tell me I can’t marry another woman, it shouldn’t be allowed to tell me how I should conduct my marriage, or where to seek counseling.

    • arrow2010

      Do you honestly think hating on the South helps matters?

    • Muggle

      Oh hey, I thought I was finally agreeing with all my conservative friends and family on saying that the government should stay out of my goddamn business.

  • footnotegirl

    I think this is going a bit too far, but in our state what they’ve done is cut the price of a marriage license in half if you show that you’ve gone to at least 8 hours of pre-marriage counseling with a licensed couples therapist or trained and approved clergy. Since this was something our officiant already insisted on before he’d perform a marriage ceremony (he’s clergy, though as a friend was officiating our completely nonreligious wedding), it was a bonus half off discount for us.
    I think some sort of incentive to get people into counseling or at least get them to ask the right questions of themselves and eachother ahead of time is a great idea. Soooo many couples I know (mostly ex-couples now) did no such thing and paid the price for it in either divorce, misery, or big bills for couples counseling later on. Of course it can’t solve everything, but better to go into such a big decision eyes open and fully aware of possible obstacles, right?

  • Elizabeth Licata

    10 hours?! Ugh. I’d rather just keep living in sin.

  • TngldBlue

    Pfff. My first marriage was in a Catholic church that required a day long marriage class plus pre-marital counseling. I can’t remember much from the class because our best couple friends were in it to so we goofed off the whole time (which considering all of us are now divorced that might’ve been a good indication that our maturity levels were lacking). I’m pretty sure we glossed over most of the personal stuff with the Priest-I was very, very anti-Catholic and was being forced into getting married in the church so I’d be damned if I was discussing my private business with clergy. My ex had the marriage annulled in the church last year. So yeah, like any type of therapy, unless you go into it intending to truly get something out of it it’s just a waste of time and money.

  • AngeloF

    Funny and true…

  • Paul White

    I’ve known a couple of people on their third and fourth marriages. I’d have to say that they needed wasn’t marriage counseling, but life skills…how not to make bad choices on impluse, how not to be a stubborn ass, stuff like that. Not so much marriage specific really.

  • jsterling93

    Who decided what to teach and what makes “marriage.” My husband (number 2) and I do not have a conventional marriage but it works really really well for us. What exactly would they be teaching in these “marriage classes?”

  • Drea

    WI requires a 1 hour marriage counseling session. Luckily, my husband and I were college students at the time and the county allowed us to use a therapist from the student health center (so it was free). The therapist felt that we honestly didn’t need the session, since we lived together for a couple of years already and had honest talks about what we want for the future and from the marriage. I can’t even imagine having to do ten hours of that and having to pay for it.

  • Mike W

    This is exactly why Guys (speaking for myself) do not make a commitment, too much hallabaloo and exposure. I prefer to go to Vegas and elope. Some things you just have to learn from experience (reality) not education ( maybe supposed to work) Either it works or not. All people change in time, so tomorrow is not always a sure thing. Live and learn is an absolute. Enjoy your life it is the only one you will ever get.

  • Katherine Handcock

    I would wholeheartedly support an idea like this! My husband and I were excessively prepared for married life – we had lived together, we’d talked through issues like how we wanted to spend money, how many children we wanted/when we wanted them, what we would do regarding careers that could take us in different directions, etc. — and it’s still a big adjustment. There are so many things you just don’t necessarily think to talk about with someone you’re in love with, but the day to day things can really grind on a relationship.

    As long as the course is free and easily accessible, I think it could be very valuable.

  • NYCNanny

    Only if one can be super high during the classes. #legal.