- (Photo: Reuters/Susana Vera)
National Marriage Week, running from Feb. 7-14, aims to strengthen and increase marriage rates – while reducing divorce – through hundreds of events, classes, and conferences promoting the sanctity of matrimony.
“Marriage pays,” Sheila Weber, Executive Director of National Marriage Week USA, shared in a video clip. “Research shows that married individuals have far greater wealth and financial stability. They lead longer lives, have greater personal lives and better health.”
Studies also found that children raised in a two-parent household perform better in school, teen pregnancy and addiction rates are lower, and they also have less trouble with the law, Weber claims. However, the executive director says that Americans can do even better, citing that $112 billion U.S. tax dollars are spent on divorce and unwed childbearing.
According to Weber, 40 percent of children are born outside of marriage in America. Meanwhile, the head of the National Center of African-American Marriages revealed that 72 percent of all African-American babies are born out of wedlock.
“In 1970, 79 percent of all adults in America were married,” Weber stated. “But today that has dropped down to 57 percent.”
She urged, “Let’s work together, let’s strengthen marriage.”
The goals of National Marriage Week USA is to promote the benefits of marriage, elevate strengthening marriage as a national issue among policy makers and the media, and provide a new national clearinghouse of established, trusted marriage classes and conferences.
This year's initiative includes new features such as “Date Night Challenge,” a 2-hour webcast with Dr. Greg Smalley and comedian Jeff Allan. Weber has also asked citizens to appeal to members of Congress regarding their RSVPs to a reception about why strengthening marriage is critical to the nation's economy.
National Marriage week is part of an international movement – the vision of which is “to encourage the development and support of Marriage Weeks in 75 nations of World by 2021.”
Worldwide, 16 countries are participating in the event. It is a celebration of the “diversity and vibrancy of marriage as the basis for family life,” according to organizers.
According to the International Marriage Week website, Feb. 7-14 is a time to say “wake up. Marriage is a great idea.”
In 1996, Richard Kane first introduced National Marriage Week in the U.K. The initiative has since spread to the Czech Republic, Hungry, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Australia. Co-founders Brent Barlow and Diane Sollee of Smart Marriages introduced Marriage Week to the U.S. in 2002.
The event is spearheaded by a group of individuals and charities that believe a healthy marriage creates security and stability for the couple and any children that may come along.
“If you are fortunate to be in a marriage, you should look after it – and here are some tips to help you improve your relationship, and some signposts to organizations who can help you transform a good marriage into a great marriage.”