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February 14, 2013 Print
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National Marriage Week Concludes Today — Why Not Make it a ‘Date Night’?

by Bethany Monk

If you’re married and want to strengthen and honor your relationship — go on a date, or two. Or even more.

National Marriage Week USA, designed to help promote stronger marriages, began last week and concludes today. Since 2002, the annual campaign has been collaborating with organizations and leaders across the country to help marriages thrive.

Focus on the Family participated in the week by offering churches its Date Night Challenge 2013 DVD “Making Moments Matter.” The challenge provides a night of fun—music, teaching and insight — to inspire and encourage married couples.

It’s important for spouses to make time for each other.

“Any parents who think that they’re doing their kids a favor by only pouring into them are just sorely mistaken,” said Megan Gordon, manager in the Marriage and Family Formation department at Focus. “You have to take time out to laugh together, to connect, to enjoy your spouse and remember why you married in the first place.”

On its website, Focus offers a date night challenge opportunity encouraging married couples to go on three dates in three weeks. New dating ideas will be posted to the site each month.

“Of course, we hope you’ll see such a great value in having a Date Night that it becomes part of your life as a couple,” Greg Smalley, executive director of Marriage and Family Formation, writes on the Focus website. “We’re convinced that this new habit will powerfully work to strengthen and enrich your marriage.”

In fact, 92 percent of couples who prioritize date night increase satisfaction in their marriages, he said.

Sheila Weber, executive director of National Marriage Week, said the need is “greater than ever,” for positive campaigns promoting God’s design for marriage.

In 1970, nearly 80 percent of all adults were married, compared with only 52 percent today, she explained. More than 40 percent of U.S. babies today are born to unmarried parents, she added, calling this the “greatest predictor of poverty for women and children.”

According to The Heritage Foundation, the poverty rate for single parents with children in the U.S. in 2009 was 37.1 percent. The rate for married couples with children was 6.8 percent. Being raised in a family with married parents decreases a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 82 percent.

Children, overall, do better in homes with their married, biological mom and dad.

“They watch how mom and dad connect and relate and work together,” said Jeff Johnston, CitizenLink marriage analysis. “They’re listening to how mom and dad talk to each other and about each other — it’s a strong incentive to develop and maintain a healthy marriage.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about National Marriage Week USA.

Watch the Date Night Challenge 2013 Teaser.

Take the Date Night Challenge.

Read a series of articles about date night ideas.

Learn more about the Focus book, “Take the Date Night Challenge: 52 Creative Ideas to Make Your Marriage Fun.”



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