Administering Romance: Government Policies Concerning Pre-Marriage Education Programs
Recent policy objectives surrounding the institution of marriage are based on strategies aimed at sustaining a stable and morally cohesive society. Policy-makers disapproving of marriage breakdowns often focus on the behaviour of individuals to explain the breakdowns. Policy initiatives seek to 'cure' individuals to overcome the problem of marriage failure. Pre-marriage education programs encourage self-help and depend on individuals solving their own problems. I argue in this paper that this rational view of marriage is flawed because it does not engage with the issue of romance. This is an important concern to administrators because romance often plays a central role in partner choice and people's expectations of marriage. Policy-makers either ignore romance or treat it as a myth to be countered; they rarely discuss how it influences a couple's decision to marry in the first place. I argue that romance should not be dismissed so easily as it plays a significant role in gender relations. Acknowledging romance ought to be a significant part of administering marriage education programs.
Australian Journal of Public Administration
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