A recent feature story at CNN.com chronicled the growing trend among engaged couples in their 20s and 30s to participate in premarital counseling that they hope will make it less likely that they are victims of divorce like their parents.
States have gotten into the act, too. Six states – including Florida – have passed legislation in recent years encouraging couples to attend premarital counseling by offering reduced rates on marriage license fees for those that do.
Dr. Alan Hawkins, a family life professor at Brigham Young University, was quoted in the story as saying that marriage prep education appears to be increasing nationwide. He says that no-fault divorce laws, changing gender roles and female economic independence have created a greater need for couples to work on their relationship skills in order for modern marriages to succeed.
In the past, engaged couples would usually participate in premarital counseling as a prerequisite imposed by their church. Today, however, many couples are taking a more thoughtful and planned approach to marriage, sometimes waiting years until well into their careers before tying the knot. Premarital counseling has become part of the landscape in their preparation for marriage, as many seek to avoid the divorce pitfalls that have befallen their parents or friends.