National Marriage Week USA (www.nationalmarriageweekUSA.org) announces an initiative in the Central Virginia area for the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, and is putting forth a call to mobilize hundreds of organizations to plan for marriage building activities for February 7 to 14. The goal is to elevate attention on the need to strengthen marriage and ways to do it, and initiate new efforts to reduce the divorce rate and build stronger marriages, which in turn helps curtail poverty and benefits children.
National Marriage Week USA provides a “Tool Kit” for local outreach, a clearinghouse of trusted curricula, and a national calendar of events at www.NationalMarriageWeekUSA.org. (Please POST your event for free.)
Chuck Stetson, chairman of National Marriage Week USA says “The alarming drop in marriage rates in America combined with high divorce rates are costly to the nation—financially costly to taxpayers and individuals, and emotionally costly to children. We all need to work together to turn the tide.”
“Marriage works,” says NMWUSA executive director Sheila Weber. “Research shows that marriage makes people happier, live longer, and build more economic security. Children with married parents perform better in school. There are proven ways to repair and restore marriages—but most folks don’t know where to go to get the help they need.”
Recent statistics are alarming. A Marriage Index, released jointly by the National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting (NCAAMP) and the Institute for American Values in October 2009, reveals a huge decline in national marriage indicators. One indicator shows 78 percent of adults were married in 1970, while only 57 percent of adults were married in 2008. Another indicator shows 40 percent of all children in America are now born out of wedlock in 2008; and 72 percent of African American children are now born without married parents.
“We want to get the word out about how anyone and everyone can participate in National Marriage Week USA,” says Weber. Resources in the NationalMarriageWeekUSA.org “TOOL KIT” include:
- Pastors and churches can launch new marriage classes, sermon series, or host a major weekend marriage conference,
- Mayor and Governor Proclamations for National Marriage Week USA,
- Free webinars featuring national leaders. Go to marriagewebinar.org
- Marriage tips brochures. Place them in doctor’s offices, hair salons, and other businesses,
- Community Marriage Policies, where local clergy work together (cities with CMPs have lowered divorce rates),
- Public Service Announcements (PSA) you can record for local radio
- Advertisments for “Penny Savers” or local newspapers.
- Schools can sponsor assemblies on healthy relationship skills.
- Renewal of Vows ceremony
- Most importantly, work on your own marriage—with lots of ideas and resources for where to go for help at nationalmarriageweekUSA.org.