The law inside your marriage. Mandatory counseling in Wyoming?


The law inside your marriage. Mandatory counseling in Wyoming?
Does it make sense for it to be mandatory to have counseling prior to divorcing?

Just imagine your marriage has gone horribly wrong. You want a divorce. But to get one you have to sit through hours of counseling with the partner you love to hate.

Welcome to Wyoming, at least if Ed Buchanan has his way. Buchanan is putting a new bill through the state legislature of Wyoming. If passed, it would require couples in that state attempting to get married or divorced to go through counseling together—and have to pay for it themselves.


“Mandatory counseling for couples contemplating divorce maybe a great way to salvage a relationship on the rocks, and avert behavior that poses a threat to an already fragile marriage” says Tim Atkinson, Executive Director of Imago International. “Take Scarlett Johansson’s husband Ryan Reynolds, for example. Right after their split he was seen cavorting with Sandra Bullock, his co-star of the film 'The Proposal.' That’s bound to have added another lead weight to his sinking marriage,” Atkinson commented.

“But just a few hours in therapy isn’t enough to foster change, and would have to be incredibly well targeted to have a significant outcome. Therapy can’t merely focus on communication tools,” Atkinson noted. “Communication without connection just helps people argue better so that unresolved problems remain on the surface.”

Imago therapists teach couples to connect by learning ways to talk to each other, where the pain and frustration can be put on hold for the moment, so they can reconnect and rediscover their underlying love for one another through effective listening, and developing empathy for their partner.

“It could really change lives if the counseling framework required by law included a way for couples to discuss their emotional needs, and begin to understand the underlying causes of their issues,” states Atkinson. “If not, the chances are high that they will just find a new partner and repeat the same story.”

Once Imago skills are learned, couples are able to switch from blame and criticism to becoming more understanding of their partners emotional needs. Building emotional connection and passion is what makes a relationship strong. “What if couples left their period of mandatory 'divorce' counseling with a new way of relating to each other, which they could use to make their marriage stronger than ever?” says Atkinson.

Article contributed by

Imago Relationships


Imago Relationships International helps couples have the conversations they need to change their lives together.  We've been saving relationships for 30 years, ever since our co-founder Harville Hendrix, PhD wrote the best-seller "Getting The Love You Want".

Today you can find an Imago weekend workshop in 25 countries, or get help from over 1200 Certified Imago therapists.  We give you the communication skills and understanding you need to forge a deeper and more loving connection.

Try our some free relationship help online at

Location: New York, NY
Credentials: MA
Specialties: Communication Problems, Couples/Marital Issues, Dating/Being Single Support
Other Articles/News by Imago Relationships:

Schwarzenegger, Divorce, And An Old Joke About Directions


The break-up between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver reached such epic proportions of tragedy this week, that I prefer to start this post with a joke. I was visiting Washington, DC , and got horribly lost. I asked a passer-by directions to the White House. He looked me up and down and finally said "Well, I wouldn't start from ... Read more

Why Being A Parent AND A Spouse Is So Hard...


Sophia stirs in her sleep as she hears the insistent whine from her daughter Jenny’s room. “Mommy, take me to the bathroom please…Mommy”. By this time Marcus is already wide awake. “Take her, please” he says “I have to be up in an hour”. It’s 4 am. Now Sophia is wide awake. “She’s seven. She ... Read more

We Love Each Other. How Can We Stop Fighting?


Lisa settles into the couch, rests her hand to her stomach, and smiles when she feels a tiny kick. Late afternoon sunlight filters across gleaming tables, and the neat array of family photos, and spotless ornaments. Minutes later she’s on her feet screaming abuse at Geoff. How could he come home like that, dump his coat onto the chair, grab a beer, ... Read more

See More

Latest Expert Videos
Must-see Videos
Most Popular