During the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, a national campaign to strengthen marriage is stirring up nearly 1000 events nationwide to help couples. The first collaborative National Marriage Calendar is now being used by marriage education groups nationwide, provided by National Marriage Week USA. Marriage tips and stories are also at www.NationalMarriageWeekUSA.org.
“Small town stories across the nation are exciting!” says Sheila Weber, executive director of the national campaign. A group in Kankakee County, Illinois is setting up a booth in a shopping mall from February 7 to14, offering free marriage counseling services. A team in the Chicago area is mobilizing hundreds of Date Night events. A Louisiana group is seeking its state’s top 10 longest married couples to be publicized as was last year’s honoree couple, who were married for 81 years! A Sweetheart Dinner and Dance in Ohio will offer a renewal of vows ceremony.
“It has been long proven that children fare best at every level if they can grow up with both their father and mother,” said Weber. “Since more than 40 percent of U.S. babies today are born out of wedlock, which is the greatest predictor of poverty for women and children, and we have an alarming drop in marriage rates — nearly 80% of all adults were married in 1970, only 52% today — the need is greater than ever for a positive campaign to strengthen marriage,” she continued.
The Brookings Institution says that if the U.S. had the marriage rate today that it had in 1970, there would be a 25 percent drop in poverty. The Heritage Foundation says that marriage drops the probability of a child living in poverty by 82 percent, cites Weber.
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The NYC Human Resources Commissioner was recently reported to be planning a local campaign about the benefits of marriage “for the outcome of the child,” motivated by the fact that 70 percent of all babies born in the Bronx are to unwed moms — news Weber cited as “quite an extraordinary development.”
“We encourage citizens, organizations, and houses of worship to launch marriage strengthening classes and events, list them on the National Calendar at www.NationalMarriageWeekUSA.org, and for individuals to find an event near them to help their own marriage, or help others,” explains Weber.