by Bethany Monk
Feb 7, 2013
A week-long campaign dedicated to strengthening and honoring God's design for marriage begins today and will conclude on Valentine's Day — just in time for date night.
National Marriage Week USA has been uniting organizations and leaders across the country since 2002, to help marriages thrive.
Marriage not only helps provide children with a loving, stable environment, it also helps reduce poverty.
"It has been long proven that children fare best at every level if they can grow up with both their mother and father," said Sheila Weber, the campaign's executive director. "More than 40 percent of U.S. babies today are born out of wedlock — this is the greatest predictor of poverty for women and children. We also have an alarming drop in marriage rates."
In fact, nearly 80 percent of all adults were married in 1970, compared with only 52 percent today, Weber explained.
"The need is greater than ever for a positive campaign to strengthen marriage," she added.
Myriad organizations across the country are participating in the campaign. A Sweetheart Dinner and Dance in Ohio will offer a vow-renewal ceremony. In Louisiana, an organization is searching for the state's top 10 longest married couples. And husbands and wives in Illinois can receive free marriage counseling at a Kankakee mall.
Focus on the Family is participating in the national campaign by offering to churches its Date Night Challenge 2013 DVD "Making Moments Matter."
"The most important relationship in the world is going to be between you and your spouse," Focus President Jim Daly said. "Focus on the Family has created date night to spur couples along in this hectic life that we have. Can we spend a little time investing in each other to talk and communicate? If we do that, it will be the best investment you make."