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Our faith in God has strengthened our marriage

Marriage mentors Mildred and Allan Hunt

Faith can play a huge part in strengthening a marriage.

Want proof? Just ask Allan and Mildred Hunt.

The couple said they have experienced many ups and downs throughout their 44-year union.

But clinging to their shared faith in God has helped them to get through bouts of illness and other family hardships along the way.

The Hunts say it’s their passion to counsel other couples so they can also get the most out of marriage.

As part of that, they hold annual Marriage Week in Bermuda events; this year they run from February 7 to 14.

They’re encouraging local churches to get involved by hosting a Renewal of Marriage Vows Ceremony at their place of worship.

“We want as many churches as possible to become involved with the renewal of the marriage vows,” Mrs Hunt said.

“Some churches do it, but according to statistics we’ve read only 28 per cent of overseas churches really do something to enrich marriages.

“We want more than that to take part in Bermuda. And it’s a perfect time because it’s Valentine’s month, a time where most churches have activities for newlywed couples or long-term couples.”

The Hunts feel they’ve personally benefited from the experience.

They renewed their vows on an Alaskan cruise in honour of their 25th anniversary; they had matching rings made to celebrate their 40th anniversary.

“It was most exciting and just so fantastic and invigorating,” Mrs Hunt said.

“It reminded me of our commitment and our unique love for one another and put things into perspective. It takes you away from the mundane, insignificant details of everyday and helped us to focus on why we got married in the first place.”

Mr Hunt said those acts were also extremely meaningful for him.

“No relationship is perfect and we all have our issues, but the fact that we honoured our vows and each other is important,” he said.

“I’ve said this time after time that honour in a relationship is like water in a desert. If you don’t have water and you’re stuck in the desert you will die of thirst because you need water to sustain you.

“In your relationship if you don’t have honour and you don’t value each other your relationship will die.

“The fact that I respect and care for her — all these things are wrapped up in a package called honour.”

They both believe that churches can play an important part in saving and strengthening marriages in Bermuda.

Mr Hunt feels that people don’t have to be Christian to have a beautiful marriage, but having a shared faith helps.

He said some Christian couples run into trouble when they are ‘Christian’ by name, but not by deed.

If those same couples were to live out those Biblical principles for loving and honouring each other, their marriages could be healed.

“For us, faith was our lifeline,” Mr Hunt said. “The first thing we did was we understood what the Bible meant by being unequally yoked up. We both had the same faith and that was first.

“Secondly we were originally from different churches, but we knew when we married we knew would have to go to the same church. It helped a lot.”

Mrs Hunt said she has found it useful to read the Bible and pray together.

“Our faith in God has been strengthened and has preserved us in the difficult times in our marriage,” she said.

“We have learned to love each other unconditionally by listening beyond the words, to each heart. We have also worked towards understanding each other’s point of view despite different opinions and perspectives, learned to forgive one another as we both have shortcomings and figured out how to communicate our deepest needs.”

She said there were many hardships they have overcome.

“Once I broke my arm and observing the tender, loving care that Allan gave me continually meant a lot to me,” she said.

“I had to stand by him recently when he was diagnosed with meningioma — a benign tumour. He had a growth attached to the covering of his brain between his skull and brain. That experience also brought us closer as we leaned on our faith. “Over the years we have had to collectively care for the needs of ageing parents, stand by family members with extended job loss and help both local and overseas families.

“We believe in honouring God first and foremost and then each other as a gift from God that should be loved, cared for and cherished.”

For more ways on how you can get involved in Marriage Week in Bermuda, see the story sidebar. To find out how you can host your own Renewal of Marriage Vows Ceremony at your church, e-mail: heart2heartbda@gmail.com.

<p>How you can get involved</p>

Here are some ways you can get involved with Marriage Week in Bermuda:

1) The Hunts will host a ‘love’ treasure hunt at City Hall on Saturday, February 7. Couples will need to draw on their communication skills to answer clues that correlate to five different locations in the city. The cost is $10. To register call 735-6920.

2) Churches across the Island are encouraged to host a ‘Renewal of Vows’ ceremony at their place of worship on Saturday/Sunday, February 7 and 8.

3) The first ‘Art of Marriage’ workshop session will take place at Pembroke Sunday School Building in St John’s Hall on Monday, February 9. Couples will watch several video seminars and also be treated to a light supper. The event costs $35 per couple and takes place from 7pm until 9pm.

4) Part two in the ‘Art of Marriage’ workshop will take place at the same location on Wednesday, February 11, from 7pm until 9pm. (An optional workbook for the series will cost $15.)

5) A Marriage Celebration Gala will kick off at Grotto Bay Hotel and Resort on Saturday, February 14. There will be special activities and a banquet dinner on offer to help people enhance their marriage. For more information e-mail: heart2heartbda@gmail.com.

Useful website: www.nationalmarriageweekUSA.org