By Julene Reese
The Utah Marriage Commission (UMC) has been providing relationship and marriage resources to Utahns for more than two decades. Originating in the office of Governor of Utah in 1998, the Utah State Legislature transferred oversight and hosting of the commission to Utah State University in 2021.
UMC’s mission is to help Utah residents form and maintain healthy, lasting marriages and relationships through education, classes, conferences, and other resources. He specializes in populations at high risk of family instability.
David Schramm, professor of family life at USU Extension and faculty member of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), said it made sense for the commission to be housed at USU because of the wealth of resources already available.
“Over many decades, our outreach programs have improved the lives of tens of thousands of individuals, couples and families,” he said. “We recognize the value of bringing the 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 at HDFS, provide faculty leadership as the board’s USU hosts and manage the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families contract with the Department of Workforces Services. The funds provide three services to Utahns, free of charge. They understand:
- 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 assess and better understand their relationships.
- ePREP, a six-hour online marriage preparation course designed to help couples improve their relationship through principles and skills. Upon completion of the course, couples are eligible for the $20 marriage education rebate on their marriage license.
After the establishment of the UMC through the office of the governor, it was placed in the Department of Workforce Services in 2004 and then in the Department of Human Services in 2013. The commission was recently transferred to USU as host through House Bill 55.
For more information about the Utah Marriage Commission and to access free resources, visit www.StrongerMarriage.org.