February is known around the world because of one very important holiday, Valentine’s Day. What many people may not know is that another celebration of love takes place at the same time each year. National Marriage Week, a collaborative effort to reinforce marriages and build a stronger marriage culture across America, occurs February 7 - 14. These two events provide opportunities for everyone to recognize the value that marriage brings to everyday life. Love Letters from Kansas, a public awareness campaign sponsored by the Catholic Charities of Kansas Marriage for Keeps program, encourages Kansans to learn about the many benefits of marriage this February and celebrate their own marriages by sharing their relationship success stories on the campaign’s Facebook page for a chance to win a romantic date night.
“Marriage is a pillar of strong communities and we are proud to educate individuals and couples on its importance throughout the year through our Marriage for Keeps program,” said Mike Burrus, executive director, Catholic Charities, Inc., Diocese of Wichita. “National Marriage Week serves as an opportunity to highlight the advantages a healthy marriage often brings: financial stability, good mental and physical health and a strong support system.”
Healthy marriages bring undeniable benefits to communities. In the book, Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences, Familyscholars.org lists 30 proven reasons why marriage is important in the areas of family, the economy, physical health and longevity, crime and domestic violence and mental health and emotional well being. For example, married couples typically have more secure finances, longer life spans and lower occurrences of alcohol or substance abuse than single individuals or unmarried couples. In addition, children raised by married parents oftentimes have better relationships with their parents and are more likely to attend and graduate from college.
There are many different ways a couple can celebrate their marriage during National Marriage Week. A simple date is always a great way for a husband and wife to reconnect and they don’t have to break the bank for it. Here are a few fun ideas:
- Learn a new dance together: Whether a couple have two-stepped for years or have two left feet, learning a new dance together can be a fun – and sometimes funny – way to reconnect.
- Make a meal together: Why fight the crowds at a restaurant when a meal at home is private and relaxing? Problem solving, whether it’s choosing a recipe together or fixing a burnt dish, can strengthen a couple’s communication skills and resolve.
- Hold a tech-free date night: Turn off your cell phones, televisions and computers and focus your attention on each other for an evening. Play board games, take a walk together or simply catch up to reconnect without distractions.
Catholic Charities of Kansas offers a variety of free support services through its Marriage for Keeps program to help individuals and couples learn how to connect and explore ideas to improve their romantic relationships. Relationship education and marriage enrichment workshops are open to singles and couples of all faiths who are looking for tips and tools to enrich existing or future relationships.
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