Together in Happiness, an advocacy group committed to strengthening marriage and family values in Israeli society, will on Wednesday hold a Knesset meeting hosted by MK Yehudah Glick (Likud).
The meeting is intended to promote understanding within the Israeli government and public of the importance of pre-marriage education, which has been proven to reduce divorce rates and marital strife.
Susan Barth, Founder of Together in Happiness, said, “Marriage Education is about providing couples, both while dating and after marriage, with the tools to confront the obvious challenges that will come throughout life/ Divorce is a national crisis in Israel that can be significantly addressed through marriage education and it is therefore essential that we embrace this approach through increased awareness and funding.”
After making aliyah in 2003 and following the death of her parents, Barth searched for a way to memorialize them. She had always been inspired by the strength of their 52-year long marriage, and chose marriage education as a meaningful way to perpetuate their names.
She began by producing a wedding guide through the Givat Sharett Chesed Committee Simcha Gemach (of Beit Shemesh) in memory of her mother. The guide, published in Hebrew and English, resonated strongly among couples preparing for marriage. She then created forums which focused on prenuptial agreements and premarital education. She soon founded Together in Happiness, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to advance marriage education in Israel.
The daughter of parents whose strong marriage spanned half a century, Barth hopes to motivate couples to explore different ways to sustain healthy, fulfilling marriages and to inspire increased understanding of marriage education and the training of marriage educators.
“Together in Happiness was started because in memory of my parents, so all that I do is in their memory,” she told Arutz Sheva. “They were married for 52 years and my mother had Alzheimer's for 18 years. So it was a marriage that had certain trials, but they were the best role models in the world. They were total soulmates, so I saw firsthand what a beautiful marriage can be, and so I wanted to memorialize them by doing something that could give couples the same kind of confidence and skills.”
MK Glick said ahead of Wednesday's meeting, “Our children are being educationally prepared for employment but when it comes to the most important life decision we will ever make of marriage and life-long couple-hood, we are thoroughly under-prepared. I firmly believe that if every couple is equipped with marriage education and if the State of Israel encourages this trend, we can help foster a healthier and more productive society while also sparing the national coffers from the very high costs associated with divorce and marital strife.”
The meeting will feature presentations from Israeli experts on marriage, divorce and family values approaching the issue of marriage preparation from the legal, financial and ethical perspectives.
“There is no doubt that as a society we need to take on new approaches to making marriages healthier and longer lasting,” Barth said. “This session will present innovative ways to promote that conversation which I am confident will lead to new changes for our society.”