Compulsory marriage vouchers
If the State want to cut down the divorce rate, let them provide ‘marriage vouchers’ that must be cashed in before a couple can be legally married.
I think the Government should give ‘marriage vouchers’ to all married couples prior to their wedding, the same as they give vouchers for national health glasses and early years’ schooling. These vouchers should contribute to the cost of:
1/ A relationship coaching session – ideally one that teaches communication skills and a vision board for the shared future, to make sure the couple want the same things.
The vouchers should, in my opinion, definitely NOT be valid for Relate or other forms of ‘counseling’ – there is much confusion over counseling and coaching. Coaching is focused on the future and taking proactive responsibility, irrespective (whilst not in any way ignoring) what has gone on in the past. The choice of which relationship coach the couple uses should be down to them – not from some prescribed government list.
2/ The voucher should also entitle the couple to some sessions with a trained mediator, to create a living together or pre-nup agreement. In a grown up responsible relationship, a couple should be able to agree on how they would split finances and share parenting should the relationship end. It may not sound romantic, but fighting over the spoils in a divorce court lacks romance too.
I think the State has a responsibility to support couples in marriage prior to legally marrying them – especially as the State bears such a high financial cost when marriage breaks down. If you start a new business you can get free help from Business Link – if you start a new marriage you get nothing.
Why should the use of these vouchers be ‘compulsory’ prior to being eligible for a legal civil wedding?
Because I think making the use of the vouchers compulsory would be as sensible as making seat belts compulsory. The State spends a great deal of public money on courts blocked up with fighting couples – and 10% of children from those broken relationships show suicidal tendencies according to recent reports.
The UK divorce laws are a mess and need changing, but changing the law alone will not solve the problem. We need to support couples getting married in the same way we support new businesses.
What do YOU think?