By Julene Reese
The Utah Marriage Commission (UMC) has provided relationship and marriage resources to Utahns for over two decades. Originating through the Utah Governor’s office in 1998, the Utah State Legislature moved commission oversight and hosting to Utah State University in 2021.
The UMC mission is to help Utah residents form and sustain healthy, enduring marriages and relationships through education, classes, conferences, and other resources. It specializes in serving populations at higher risk for family instability.
David Schramm, USU Extension family life professor and faculty member in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), said it is logical for the commission to be housed at USU because of its wealth of resources already available.
“Through many decades, our Extension programs have improved the lives of tens of thousands of individuals, couples and families,” he said. “We recognize the value of offering the very best research-backed resources to Utahns, most of which are free.”
The UMC is made up of volunteer members appointed by the governor. Schramm and Brian Higginbotham, also a USU Extension faculty member in HDFS, provide faculty leadership as the USU hosts of the commission and manage the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families contract with the Department of Workforces Services. Funds offer three services to Utahns, free of charge. They include:
- Bi-weekly webinars from relationship and marriage experts on a variety of topics.
- RELATE, an in-depth relationship assessment that offers a comprehensive report on how couples view the relationship. With over 40 years of research, RELATE is a helpful resource for people to evaluate and better understand their relationships.
- ePREP, a six-hour marriage preparation online course designed to help couples improve their relationship through principles and skills. Upon completion of the course, couples qualify for the Marriage Education Discount of $20 off their marriage license.
After the UMC’s origination through the governor’s office, it was placed in the Department of Workforce Services in 2004, then in the Department of Human Services in 2013. The commission was recently transferred to USU as the host through House Bill 55.
For more information about the Utah Marriage Commission and to access free resources, visit www.StrongerMarriage.org.