Fewer divorces when married couples have date nights
Heart-to-Heart Marriage Mentoring Ministries is encouraging the community to observe International Marriage Week, which ends on Valentine’s Day.
The week commenced on February 7 with a proclamation read by Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, emphasising the value of marriage to the family and wider community.
Allan and Mildred Hunt, founders of Heart-to-Heart Marriage Mentoring Ministries, have been hosting International Marriage Week and advocating for the importance of marriage in Bermuda since 2012.
They are calling on residents, faith communities, businesses and community leaders to strengthen marriages through education programmes, enrichment seminars and public policies.
The Hunts advocate for marriage because they believe that it is an important component of community life and strong marriages help to build strong communities.
“Healthy marriages create healthy families. Healthy families create healthy and strong children who will perpetuate healthy communities for generations to come.” Mrs Hunt said.
“Research clearly demonstrates that married adults live longer, have better health and experience greater personal happiness. Likewise, children who are raised by a married mother and father have longer life expectancies, experience fewer addictions and teen pregnancies and are more likely to graduate from college.”
National Marriage Week was first observed in the United Kingdom in 1996. It then spread throughout Europe and was adopted in the United States in 2002. By February 2010 National Marriage Week had grown into an international campaign which encourages individuals and organisations to focus on the importance of marriage in the community.
Heart-To-Heart Ministries joined the bandwagon two years later when it began hosting International Marriage Week in Bermuda. Events range from workshops to vow renewals and gala dinners.
In 2020 the Hunts brought world renowned author and speaker Gary Chapman to the island for an exclusive lecture and breakfast event.
This year’s activities have been different from previous years. Instead of in-person and group events, the Hunts have been featured on Magic 102.7 with Jonathan Rodgers each weekday from 2pm to 3pm. Their final show will take place on Monday.
The organisation has also adapted a digital presentation from National Marriage Week USA, to share with couples.
The Couples Connection Plan is designed as a guide for people to use as they celebrate International Marriage Week together.
“The Couples Connection Plan is a nine-page digital presentation, or PowerPoint, that is featured on the National Marriage Week USA website. With their permission, a wonderful graphic designer has added Bermudians and Bermuda scenery and we have been able to share it via e-mail to hundreds of Bermudian couples,” Mrs Hunt said.
The plan includes daily topics such as a heart of thanks, marriage tune-up and the five love languages, for husbands and wives to reflect on during the week.
“This year in the US the focus is on the value of date nights. Authors at University of Virginia and Brigham Young University have found that date nights for married couples improve the quality of relationships and lower divorce rates. Regular date nights increase the quality of communication, romantic love and commitment in marriage,” Mrs Hunt added.
“Husbands and wives who continue to date at least weekly are three times more likely to say they are ‘very happy’ in their marriage compared with couples who do not.”
Mrs Hunt hopes that couples will take this time to focus on each other and reconnect.
“We sincerely hope couples will be better connected in 2023 and beyond as they intentionally and consistently have regular date nights, look over the responses to their Couples Connection Plan and incorporate the nuggets learnt from listening to our daily programmes on Magic 102.7.”
Although the marriage week movement is not explicitly faith-based, the Hunts are adamant that their faith has been a pillar of their own marriage over the last 50 years. Together they have been providing faith-based mentoring to couples for over 30 years.
For more information on International Marriage Week, or to request a copy of the Couples Connection Plan, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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