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Men are like microwaves, women like crock pots

When it comes to romance, men are like microwaves; you push a button and they’re ready in 20 seconds. Women are more like crock pots, it takes time for them to cook.

This is some of the typically frank and friendly marriage wisdom from Allan and Mildred Hunt.

“Sometimes men have to learn to take their time and have patience,” said Mr Hunt. “We have to learn how to L-U-V, love.”

They have been married for 41 years and have been counselling other couples and promoting the institution of marriage for about half of that time. They have organised International Marriage Week Bermuda, an event first started in the United States with the message that marriage works as an institution and that people in stable marriages are happier, live together and are more economically secure.

The Hunts first became interested in helping other couples when they noticed a lot of their married friends were breaking up.

“We began to see them failing and falling off,” Mr Hunt said. “We always had an interest in keep our relationship vibrant, and bringing our two children [Owen and Dante] up in a very healthy home. We did a lot of research.”

They are fans of two well known marriage gurus and authors Gary Smalley, author of ‘If Only He Knew, What No Woman Can Resist’ and Gary Chapman author of ‘The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts’. They attend marriage conferences and have taken courses with Dr Smalley. They are members of the Association of Marriage and Family Ministries in the United States and also the Black Coalition for Healthy Marriages in the United States. They are the only couple outside of the United States to be a part of that.

“We do marriage 911s,” said Mr Hunt. “People call us all the time to talk about their problems. Often they are on the point of divorce. Sometimes they aren’t speaking to each other or communicating. Sometimes they can’t figure out what the other person wants. Sometimes their problems are sexual.”

Mrs Hunt said most of the couples they deal with think their problems are unique to themselves and try to keep everything a secret, when the reality is that all couples have issues at some point.

“There is a succession of things you have to learn as a couple,” she said. “If you don’t learn them it can spell disaster for a lot of people.”

The Hunts aren’t clinical psychologists. Their wisdom is often of the homespun variety. They advise couples to communicate, to have fun together and to give their marriage priority.

The plight of the black family is one of their particular concerns.

“Black families, especially in the United States, have their challenges,” said Mr Hunt. “One of them might be incarceration. That can be very hard on families.”

Mrs Hunt said one of their concerns was that black families have some of the lowest marriage rates. According to the Hunts, out-of-wedlock births account for 73 percent among blacks in the United States, 53 percent among Latinos and 29 percent among whites.

“I wish we had the figures for Bermuda, but I don’t think it is too far out as far as percentages go,” said Mrs Hunt. “Thus the reason for the social catastrophe. I was reading a Time magazine report and this gentleman Rich Lowry said we are casting aside the institution of marriage and with it the notion that children should be raised in stable, two-parent homes. He considers that a social catastrophe.”

Mrs Hunt was once a teacher. She said statistics say that children from stable two parent homes are more likely to do well in school than children that haven’t. She said she witnessed this in the classroom.

She said there were stronger campaigns around smoking cessation and the need to recycle than there were campaigns to promote marriage.

“The decline of marriage is our most ignored national crisis,” she said. “Thus the reason for the International Marriage Week initiative. It was started in the United States about three or four years ago and has spread around the world. We were initially approached by the founder who saw that there was a declining interest in marriage. Of course, marriage is not for everyone, but we are saying this institution exists. The children are suffering. There are more divorces than ever before. In the United States, $112 billion a year are being spent on divorces and unwed mothers.”

Mr Hunt said when he heard about the recent school shooting in Connecticut that left more than 20 children and adults dead, he asked whether the shooter was from a stable, two-parent home. The answer was no.

“It is the issues that lead up to the divorce that cause trauma for children,” said Mr Hunt. “Divorce is only the finality of the relationship. If you don’t address the issues [in troubled marriages] with relationship building, of course you will create a very unhealthy situation in the home.”

Said Mrs Hunt: “We are not saying every marriage is healthy, but a lot of time couples are not thriving and happy because of lack of knowledge.”

The Hunts are looking for inspirational stories of couples in Bermuda for International Marriage Week couples who have been married for many years or couples who married later in life. They are also looking for sponsorship for the event from local companies who want to show their support for marriage.

International Marriage Week will be observed from February 7 to 14. There will be a date night challenge on February 8 from 8pm to 10pm at the Crawl Gospel Hall Auditorium. Couples will learn how dating can strengthen their marriage. There will also be a couples treasure hunt at Whitney Institute on February 9 starting at 3.30pm. Registration is $10. In the evening there will be a barbecue and karaoke from 6.30pm to 9.30pm, also at Whitney. Tickets are $30 per person or $60 per couple. To register, call 293-3903 or 293-1482 or e-mail heart2heartbda@gmail.com .

Useful website: www.heart2heartbermuda.com .

The Hunts: Allan and Mildred

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Published January 15, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm)

Men are like microwaves, women like crock pots

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