Mandatory Pre-Marriage Classes?

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GloriaInTX's picture
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Mandatory Pre-Marriage Classes?

What do you think? Good or bad idea?

A California group has proposed a ballot initiative in Colorado that would require couples who want to get married to take mandatory pre-marriage education classes.

The Colorado Marriage Education Act would require potential spouses to complete 10 hours of pre-wedding marriage education. Twenty hours would be required for second marriages and 30 hours for third marriages, reported Monday.

A re-marrying widow would be be treated as a first-timer under the proposal, which would not apply to civil unions, according to The Denver Post.

David Schel and Sharon Tekolian of California-based Kids Against Divorce told the newspaper 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."

The group, which is dedicated to supporting children of divorce, will need to gather 86,105 valid signatures by Aug. 4 to put the initiative on the November ballot. The organization plans to propose similar bills across the country, according to The Denver Post.

"Education is the key to success in every aspect of life. This will have a positive impact on marriage," Tekolian said.

Alyx Reese-Giles, who was married for the third time in November, told the newspaper that despite completing six months of marriage counseling through her church, her second marriage lasted less than two months.

"This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard," Reese-Giles said. "The government has no business deciding what education people should or should not get before entering into marriage. Marriage is about communication and being ready to commit, and no class is going to teach you that."

The Denver Post reported that the ballot initiative also includes a tax cut for couples who voluntarily complete continuing marriage education each year to "reduce the billions of dollars taxpayers spend annually on divorce."

Colorado proposal would require pre-marriage education classes | Fox News

Spacers's picture
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Bad idea. I'm all in favor of really knowing who you are marrying, which is why I advocate a background check first and living together second, but I don't care what other people do. Their marriages, their decisions. People make stupid mistakes all the time. We can't legislate stupidity out of anyone.

And I'm LMAO that a California-based group is trying to do this in Colorado. Do as we say, not as we do, I suppose. :biglaugh:

AlyssaEimers's picture
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I think the person doing the marrying (Pastor or whatever) can impose rules about a couple they will marry. Most pastors I know will not marry a couple without first meeting with them and offering some sort of counselling first. I do not think however, you can make a blanket law for everyone about this and I think 10-30 hours is a little excessive.

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Hilarious and preposterous.

elleon17's picture
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I don't think anything should be mandatory, but I do think that pre-marital counseling should be strongly encouraged.

Our state waives fees if you take an approved premarital class. DH and I had been together 6 years when we got married and I learned ALOT about him in those classes. Best thing we did by far.

KimPossible's picture
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Can't get behind something mandated no. I mean, how would the curriculum be determined? Who gets to decide what is sage marriage advice. And really...if people aren't going to prepare themselves for marriage, i think thats a mistake they should be allowed to make, even if other people don't like it.

That being said, i actually think a lot of people would really benefit from some pre-marriage counseling and wish more people would choose to do it. Its mandated in the Catholic Church and when we took it, a lot of what we had to discuss and do was not religious based at all and it was good stuff that i think a lot of people don't even think about when they decide to get married.

Alissa_Sal's picture
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I also LOL'ed that a California group is trying to impose this on Colorado. Why us? What did we do wrong? LOL!!!!

I'm with everyone else - pre-marital counseling may be a good idea (I don't know, we never did it, so I'm not entirely sure what would be covered) but it's ridiculous to try and mandate it. Seriously, why do people think it is the government's job to interfere in the love lives of consenting adults? So ridiculous.

I just read more on this at the Denver Post, and here are some more great points:


As proposed, the prenuptial curriculum would be created and overseen by the Colorado State Board of Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners. The board would then validate completion and issue a "Marriage Course Completion Certificate." The couple would pay the cost associated with the education.

"It's another attempt to say who can and can't be married," said Reese-Giles, "so if you are poor and you can't afford the class, then you can't get married."

The increase to wedding budgets wasn't the only thing firing up brides.

"Right now I am kind of mad I have to take off work just to get a license," said Rodgers, of the limited hours of the Office of the Clerk and Recorder, which issues marriage licenses. "People work and have jobs. When would they do this (the education)?"

Colorado ballot measure proposes education classes to marry - The Denver Post [/LEFT]

ange84's picture
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We had to do a course before getting married. We were the only coupl,e at the time so the minister sent us home with the book and a return date to go through it at home then when we went back go through it with him. It was easy enough and promoted some good discussion.
Our federal government is proposing to bring in a package where newly weds are provided a $200 voucher for marraige counselling. I don't agree with it specifically because they have put in cuts to welfare to the most disadvantaged and also our prime minister has a religious agenda which I am sure will be put through in the sessions. Access to affordable counselling if desired and needed is more so the answer.

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Like Kim, we did mandated pre cana in order to get married in the Catholic church. I was hesitant as I wasn't sure what we cover. It was run by a couple who had been married for 40 some odd years. They had a set curriculum but a lot was discussion amongst the group. Then we would get questions to reflect on our own about and come back to our partners to discuss answers. It wasn't just basic money, how many kids etc. (we had talked about that), but things like plans for future, letters to each other and how we felt that day to reflect on. I ended up loving it and we made some friends there as well.

I wouldn't say I would make it mandatory. I would like to see it encouraged for those applying for a marriage license.

mom3girls's picture
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Do not think government needs to be involved in anything surrounding marriage.

But I have to say our pre-marriage counseling was the BEST thing we could have done. We did 6 classes with the guy that was marrying us (he was a youth for Christ minister that Dh had gone on some missions with) and most of the stuff we focused on were not necessarily religious in nature, but we learned so much during that time that we still use 16 years later. We also went to financial counselor, and that was huge! I see so many of our friends that fight about money, we never really have because we layed our goals out with our counselor before the wedding and see him once a year to see if we are on track