SHSU Offers Marriage Education Classes In Response To New State Law


Sam Houston State University, in partnership with the Twogether in Texas program, will offer a premarital education workshop for couples Saturday, Nov. 8, at the New Waverly Public Library.

The workshop, which is free, will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and includes lunch.

Janis White, chair, and Paula Tripp, assistant professor and teacher educator, both of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at SHSU, received a $50,000 grant this summer to implement the Twogether in Texas program in Walker, Montgomery, Waller, and northwest Harris counties.

The grant is funded by Family Services of Greater Houston and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Twogether in Texas is a state initiative created in response to Texas House Bill 2685 that became effective Sept. 1. The new law increased the cost of the marriage license fee from $30 to $60. However, the fee will be waived for couples who complete an eight-hour premarital class, which would allow couples to forgo the 72-hour waiting period to get married. Counties many continue to charge up to $12 in local fees for a marriage license.

“Couples who complete a class will receive a certificate that they can take to their county clerk when they apply for their marriage license,” said Tripp. “The certificate is good for one year and serves as proof that the couple is eligible for the discounted marriage license fee. “

Both the prospective bride and groom must attend in order to receive a certificate. The sessions cover communication, conflict management, financial management, managing stress, providing mutual support, and parenting, among other topics.

Texas is the first state to encourage premarital education through legislation. However, other states are looking at drafting similar legislation, according to Tripp.

“A state’s economy benefits from solid marriages,” White explained. “In addition, a healthy home environment has a positive impact on children, both financially and from a health standpoint. In many ways, the state benefits from that as well.”

Although Twogether in Texas is designed for couples who are about to get married, the program is open to all couples, even those who have been married for many years.

Classes will be offered at least once a month in various locations. Other workshops scheduled this month will take place on Nov. 8 at the Conroe YWCA and the Cy-Fair College Library (Spanish language only at this location), and on Nov. 15 at First Baptist Church of Waller.

For more information or to register, call 936.294.4129.


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SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May
November 4, 2008
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