Budget cut could hurt Utah Healthy Marriage Initiative

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 8 2013 6:35 p.m. MST

The program's goal is to help people learn the skills to maintain healthy relationships.

"We can document that our programs can prevent bad relationships so we'd love to see continued support to try to prevent people from falling over the cliff," said Higginbotham, a marriage commission board member.

"The amount of money that goes toward preventing bad relationships is a drop in the bucket compared to what the state's paying for in terms of divorce and all the ramifications because of that," he said.

The commission has provided marriage and relationship education to about 238,000 Utahns over the years, though for many, the dosage was small and the effectiveness unknown, Hawkins said.

Studies show such programs have "positive effects."

"They're not whopping, usually, but modest positive effects," he said.

Participating individuals and couples generally report stronger relationships, better communication and problem-solving skills, and more commitment, Hawkins said.

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