Bill would require couples to read ‘marriage guide’ before saying ‘I do’
Need tips before getting hitched?
Soon you might be forced to read a “marriage guide” before getting a marriage license in Florida.
Lawmakers think this would cut down on our divorce rate.
HB 1323, which was filed by Rep. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, would cover topics ranging from parenting responsibilities to communication and even domestic violence.
Lawmakers hope making this guide a prerequisite for a marriage license would lower the divorce rate, which in Florida has steadily decreased over the years.
The proposal mandating couples in Florida read a guide to a healthy marriage before they can wed cleared the first of its three committees.
Additionally, the guide would offer marital advice and resources for extra premarital education or for potentially failing marriages.
“I don’t think a pamphlet created in some room is going to make a difference,” says Susan Shinnick.
Others like Johnny Moody say other otherwise.
“Yes, I think it would help me or anyone else that would read the book,” says Moody.
We spoke with psychologist Stacey Scheckner about this. She helps couples in premarital counseling cope with the hardships of marriage.
“I think that it’s a start. I think as a professional psychologist that people, if possible, in this country, in this world should be mandated to have premarital counseling. I think that we fall in love and we have this vision of what marriage is and I think the reality is quite different,” she says.
The guide would be written by the Marriage Education Committee. That newly formed panel would include six marriage education and family advocates: two picked by the Governor, two by the president of the Senate, and two more by the House speaker.
It would be paid for with private funds.
If passed, the act would take effect on July 1.