1. People & Relationships
Cathy Meyer

Should Premarital Counseling be Required by Law ?

By March 20, 2011

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Research indicates that premarital preparation can be an effective strategy in supporting healthy marriage and reducing the risk divorce, in some cases as much as 30 percent. Some states have created an incentive in state law to encourage couples to participate in premarital counseling or some form of premarital eduction.

For example, in Minnesota a marriage license cost $100. Couples who have taken part in premarital counseling get the license at the reduced rate of $30. Here is the issue, the couple must spend 12 hours in counseling at their own expense to save $70 dollars on their marriage license. One has to wonder how much of an incentive that really is.

The premarital counseling can cost up to $500. Would you spend $500 to save seventy dollars? I didn't think so. It is commendable that some states are offering the incentive but couples in love and heading to the alter are blinded by love, spending money on flowers, dresses and receptions. Their hearts are full and the last thing on their mind is the fact that they may become part of the nearly 50% who divorce.

It's just a wee bit too early in the relationship for these couples to understand the importance of counseling. Heck, the majority of them don't even know what marriage is yet.

I have a better idea! Why not make premarital counseling a part of state law, a requirement for anyone who marries and regardless of how many times they marry. If legislators are so concerned about marriage and families the fact that counseling reduces the risk of divorce by 30% should be enough of an incentive for such a law to become law that requires counseling.

The state is more than willing to become involved in our marriage should we file for a divorce, shouldn't they be just as willing to become involved beforehand if it could possibly keep down the cost to the state once a couple with children enter the Family Court System?

Comments
March 29, 2011 at 11:13 pm
(1) Mod_mom says:

Well my ex and I spent a year in premarital counseling as it is required by the Catholic church, and we ended up divorced 12 years later. Premarital counseling will never cover all possible issues. Sure it forces you to talk about how many children you want and how you plan to handle finances, but no amount of counseling can predict the roller coaster you may experience. My ex stopped giving anything back. He got comfortable and I took care of him. He didn’t support me and the kids. For whatever reason, he stopped trying and he didn’t make an effort anymore. No one could have predicted this path for us. We were the couple that everyone thought would last forever. So no, I don’t agree premarital counseling has any effect on whether a marriage will last or not. And let’s be honest. The government couldn’t care less if your marriage lasts, this is a dollars and cents issue.

October 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm
(2) Jacob says:

Your husband sounds like a real jerk…That doesnt mean premarital counseling shouldnt be requierd.. so many marriages could be saved if permarital counseling is mandatory…many people dont know how to handle finances and what it takes to run a partnership..husband and wife comes from 2 environements and they need some guidance and I would say they should go back to a counselor for the first 1 or 2 years

February 14, 2014 at 12:02 pm
(3) Jaime says:

I like both of your arguments. I concur most with Jacob however. It should be required, and incentives that make sense could be introduced, such as covering the fee, etc.

What I don’t understand, and won’t ever… is how in the heck our world has come to think that marriage is disposable? This MUST be addressed before the knot is tied, before children are introduced into the relationship. You cannot just give up. Marrying implies the fight you are willing to take FOREVER, not until you’re tired or simply uninterested.

Sorry for your situation Mod_mom. Sounds unfortunate for both you and your spouse, as well as your offspring. Hopefully he didn’t forget his father vows as he surely forgot his husband ones. (MY opinion: Catholics are among the WORST individuals to date. They believe any bad choice can be rectified through prayer, not taking that issue up with the one they love, or care for…. )

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