Mandatory Marriage Counseling – Good Idea or Unnecessary Interference

Recently Representative Ed Buchanan (R) introduced a bill in the Wyoming legislature that would require couples getting married or divorced to attend counseling (and pay for it themselves).  To me this idea is both intriguing and disturbing.  Intriguing in that a wee bit of counseling could go a long way in helping engaged couples get off on the right foot, and help couples considering divorce thoroughly consider their options, as well as continue the discussion in a healthier, less destructive fashion.  Disturbing in that it puts roadblocks in front of couples that could discourage good marriages, and make it harder for those wishing to leave truly destructive relaitonships.  Since divorce, and unhappy marriages are costly to the community as a whole in many ways, making quality, inexpensive counseling options available to couples certainly does make sense to me.  For example, the Imago Start Right Stay Connected Workshop for engaged couples is inexpensive and time efficient.  The only question in my mind is the legitimacy of requiring such programs.  For more thoughts on this topic you may wish to read further:

Posted by Laura

Laura Marshall, LCSW, is the founder and director of the Sagebrush Center for Relationship Therapy. Her experience spans thirty years of supporting couples and individuals to create healthy and meaningful lives and relationships. She is also adjunct faculty for the New Mexico Highlands School of Social Work. She lives with her husband Steve and five sons in Farmington, New Mexico.

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