No, a brief class to instruct couples on the principles of good marriage won’t spin them around on a dime. But let’s not discount the value of education either.
Laws can support good social institutions or they can allow those institutions to deteriorate. Laws can safeguard the building blocks that strengthen that society. State legislatures across the US are wrestling with innovative ways to strengthen marriage. Smart Marriages has been encouraging them to do even more. I asked my “Counseling and Law” class at Dallas Theological Seminary to write a paper describing what’s going on in this area currently. Elaine Charles did a good job, I think, so I share her paper with you. It’s an informative read.
STATE MEASURES THAT STRENGHTEN MARRIAGES
With an ever increasing divorce rate and the need to support the vow that is made between a man and a woman, many states have taken measures to support the marriage relationship. These measures will be introduced, examined, and discussed including their potential strengths and weaknesses. In addition to the measures that states have put forth up to this point, suggestions will be made concerning action that the great state of Texas can take in fighting for the marriage relationship.
The state of Florida is one of the leading states that have implemented measures to support marriages. In January 1999, Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, became the first governor to sign a Community Marriage Policy. This Community Marriage Policy is focused on saving marriages at every part of the marital cycle. In addition, Governor Bush signed a bill that became effective May 1, 2003 which replaced the Florida Commission on Responsible Fatherhood with the Commission on Marriage and Family Support. The goal for this is to strengthen families, including marriage relationships.
The Florida Legislature decided that a law was needed to recognize how important marriage is to families in the state. In 1998 lawmakers passed that law based on a multitude of factors including: divorce rates accelerating, ability to implement effective coping skills, learning relationship skills, and so forth and implemented the Marriage Handbook, which was produced in 1999. The Marriage Handbook of Florida fell Read the rest of this entry »