Is your marriage on the rocks?
The benefits of marriage are to be extolled as part of a weeklong initiative that launches today.
International Marriage Week Bermuda, aimed at strengthening husband and wife unions on the Island, is based on existing initiatives in the US and the UK.
Husband and wife Allan and Mildred Hunt, founders and coordinators of Heart-to-Heart Marriage Mentoring Ministries, are behind the events.
The pair were approached by the organisers of International Marriage Week UK and National Marriage Week USA to host something similar here Families Minister Glenn Blakeney agreed to launch and endorse the idea.
“We are asking the public to join this campaign by hosting an event for couples with the idea of looking at ways and means to strengthen marriages their own and others,” said the Hunts.
Mrs Hunt recalls getting an e-mail in late November asking if Marriage Week was in Bermuda and would they be interested in starting it.
In the ensuing weeks the groundwork was laid to bring the event to Bermuda.
“I’m an educator and my husband’s an engineer but our passion is helping couples,” she said. “We’ve been asked so many times to help them.”
Richard Kane founded Marriage Week UK in 1996. His website reads: “Too many couples just drift apart and marriages, which could be fantastic, tragically come to an end.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. Marriage Week is about saying ‘let’s wake up and be intentional about our marriages, just as we were intentional about making the decision to marry in the first place’.”
Said Mr Hunt: “Since he started International Marriage Week in the UK it has now spread to 16 countries.
“Germany has had a phenomenal response to it, Australia is doing extremely well, and they had a conference in Switzerland for people from all over the world.
“Even though the [marriage] figures are down in some countries there is a commitment to marriage, the institution of marriage ... solid marriages, solid families, solid communities. This is the whole idea that Richard Kane came up with.”
The Hunts agree that a strong marriage takes both hard work and commitment.
“He [Mr Kane] found in his experiences that people are giving an undue amount of time to everything else ... their career, buying a house, making money, but they were not investing in their marriage,” said Mrs Hunt. “So he said for one week of the year, the week leading up to Valentine’s, let’s do that.”
Added Mr Hunt: “The fact that we were requested by the international groups to coordinate this means a lot.
“In our group we have couples in their late 70s and we have younger couples and the younger couples glean from the older ones. We don’t cast the older couples away, we use their wisdom.
”This is the inception but we see this growing by getting more people involved, more groups involved and more clubs, schools and churches involved.
“In fact one of the plans we have at Heart-to-Heart is to establish across the Island a town-hall meeting and talk about the various aspects of marriage enrichment.”
The week of celebrations will include a date night challenge, a pre-recorded webinar/webcast and a gala celebration banquet on Friday at Fairmont Hamilton Princess.
Tickets for the five-course banquet are $150 per couple and must be purchased by Wednesday on 293-2903 or almil[AT]northrock.bm.
Useful websites: www.nationalmarriageweekuk.com, www.nationalmarriageweek.usa.org and www.heart2heartbermuda.com.
Marriage is good for your children
Children feel more stable and settled living with their married parents and therefore are healthier, do better in school, are less likely to be involved in risky behaviours like drugs or sex, demonstrate less behavioural problems, and are less likely to be raised in poverty.
Marriage is better than just living with someoneLiving together causes a volatile and unstable environment. Couples who live together report more conflict, more violence and lower levels of satisfaction and commitment.
People who live together are generally less committed to the relationship.
Marriage is good for your sex life
Married couples report having better and more frequent sex than single people. Married couples are more faithful and committed which leads to a safer, more satisfying sex life physically and emotionally.
Marriage makes you happier
Although there are ups and downs in any relationship, married couples over time tend to experience more of the “ups” in life. They are less likely to suffer from depression or commit suicide.
Marriage is good for your pocketbookMarried couples generally make more money over time. There is something about being married that encourages healthy, responsible, productive behaviour and wealth accumulation.
Men who are married tend to take the role of “provider” a little more seriously, increasing their earning power by around 15 percent.
Marriage is good for your health
Married people, especially men, live longer and experience better health. It helps to have a spouse encouraging you to visit the doctor and have healthy eating and exercise habits.
Single, divorced or widowed men are two times more likely to die before age 65 as married men and unmarried women are about one and a half times more likely to die than married women.
Marriage keeps you saferMarriage appears to reduce the risk that adults will either commit a crime or be victims of crime. Spouses can keep you from getting into trouble.
Single and divorced women are four to five times more likely to be victims of crime in a given year than married women. Unmarried men are about four times more likely to become victims of violent crime.