Counseling Could Affect The Cost of Marriage

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The Texas Legislature wants couples planning to get married to put the same amount of effort into making their marriage last as they do into the wedding details.

With the stroke of a pen, Governor Rick Perry could increase the cost of marriage licenses from $30 to $60 if the couple applying for the license has not completed any type of marriage counseling. If the couple successfully completes a counseling course, the state would waive the fee completely when they applied for their license.

Some Brazos Valley residents said counseling is a good way to ensure the bliss of marriage last long after the ceremony. One of those residents is Jill Plemons, co-owner of Blissful Wishes Bridal.

"I think some of these girls think that it's just the most marvelous thing in the world and they don't realize the severity of it," Plemons said.

She said from what she has seen recently, it is a good idea.

"This year, we've had a lot more cancellations of weddings," Plemons said.

Bride-to-be Kathryn Herzig is in the middle of marriage counseling, and believes the state motivating couples to seek counseling would initiate conversations on those topics that could end a marriage.

"It's a good thing to realize that sometimes you might have forgotten something that you might need to go over -- financial situations -- or just realize that it's a big step in your life," Herizg said.

Should Governor Perry sign the bill, the state would accept counseling completion certificates from the following organizations and professionals: marriage educators, licensed mental health professionals, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, and members of the clergy or their designees.

Living Hope Baptist Church Pastor Butch Smith said like some other clergymen, he refuses to marry a couple which has not benefited from the goal of marriage counseling.

"It forces you to deal with some issues and understand how you're complimentary as a couple and so that you can work issues out where there are definitely inevitable disagreements," Smith said.

Smith said it's very possible the bill could prepare couples "I Do's" for the long haul.