CENTER, TX (KTRE) - Yolonda Neal and her husband Steven were married just two months ago. They haven't even had their first fight as a married couple. "No I'm waiting," laughs Yolonda. Thanks to marriage education instructor Barbara Cloudy the couple will know how to handle that first spat. Her advice, "Just don't hold stuff in. Just best to talk it out because if you haven't told anybody or your spouse how you're feeling...they can't read your mind."
Just a fraction of the advice the Neals learned in the Twogether in Texas marriage class. During 8 hours of free instruction couples learn how to handle finances, confrontations and even sex. After 30 plus years of marriage, Cloudy tells classes, "I know they're young and the hormones are kicking, but believe me as you get older they start settling."
Twogether in Texas began in September. Lawmakers wanted to lower the state divorce rate, something happening anyway in Texas. Hard to tell at most district clerk offices where divorce files fill up bins. Couples completing the skills based course pay $12 for a marriage license instead of $72. So far, Nacogdoches County has issued only 2 rebates. "I think the low numbers may be due to the people not knowing about it or not wanting to sit through the classes, " said county clerk Carol Wilson.
Couples prefer planning the wedding. Attendance at the 2009 Bridal Fair in Lufkin on Sunday is expected to be very well attended. Brides will see dresses, cakes, china and all the other finery that goes with a wedding day.
Yolanda and Barbara say it's important to make time for what comes afterwards. Cloudy knows, "People are happier. They do a better job. They communicate better." Yolonda will follow the advice. "When I come home we try to make it our business to ask each other about each others day. That's a goal we are going to try to keep thorough out our marriage."