Celebrating National Marriage Week
February 7 – 14
French political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in his book Democracy in America that “There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America, or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated.” De Tocqueville’s book was published in 1835 after he had spent nearly two years traveling throughout America observing our culture, our politics, our way of life.
De Tocqueville captured pretty well the importance of marriage and family in America’s early years. Unfortunately, he probably couldn’t honestly write that statement about 21st America. However, social science continues to show that strong marriages and strong families are in everyone’s best interest. If you interpolate the data, what you find is you don’t get a strong, prosperous and free Wisconsin or America without strong and independent married mom-and-dad families. And strong, independent families start with strong marriages.
It is that truth that National Marriage Week recognizes each year from February 7 through February 14. National Marriage Week seeks to elevate and celebrate marriage, to strengthen individual marriages, to highlight the importance of marriage and to encourage states, communities and churches to do all they can to strengthen, preserve and promote this foundational, bedrock institution.
We are proud that for the fourth consecutive year, Governor Scott Walker has responded favorably to Wisconsin Family Council’s request that he issue a Marriage Week proclamation for Wisconsin. A portion of this year’s proclamation contains the following: “marriage creates new families, binds men and women together in a network of affection, mutual aid and mutual obligation, commits fathers and mothers to their children and connects children to a wider network of relatives; and…a healthy, loving marriage deserves special respect because it provides irreplaceable personal happiness, and creates the safest place for children to flourish and to enjoy the full emotional, moral, educational, and financial benefits of both parents.”
That’s a pretty succinct statement about how important it is that people marry and stay married. Fundamentally, marriage is about the next generation. Providing strong families for children is in the best interest of communities, churches, states and nations. We need to do everything we can to encourage people to marry, have children and yes, stay married.
There are some practical things we can do to get this message out. For instance, I was encouraged to learn that in the month of February my church will have a special emphasis on marriage and family. We start with an Engaged Couples Seminar on a Friday night, led by our senior pastor. Then, three consecutive Sunday nights there will be a marriage seminar for married couples, with a special banquet the first Sunday night.
And, then—and I love this idea—we are having a “Get-to-know-a-Bus-Kid” Sunday, as well in February. The whole idea behind this special event is to have the children who come to our church through our bus ministry see what life looks like with a Christian family. We know the vast majority of kids who ride our buses are from single-parent homes or completely dysfunctional homes. We want to model for these children God’s Gold Standard for marriage and family so that they see another way to do family and life. Our hope is they will one day make the decision to marry, have children and stay married—rather than perpetuate the only cycle so many of them know.
All of these events are designed to celebrate marriage, promote marriage, strengthen marriages, encourage couples, and show an example to the next generation. That’s powerful. And it is absolutely appropriate that it is being done by the church.
So what can you do to promote and celebrate marriage in the next month? Make some suggestions to your church leadership about recognizing marriage in your fellowship. If you are looking for ideas, call us at 888-378-7395. We’d be happy to help. On a personal level, invest some time and money in your own marriage and take the Couple CheckUp offered by Family Life. For details visit familylife.com. Have a special family dinner celebrating your marriage and your children. Talk to the teens and young adults in your life about the beauty of marriage and family. Make sure they don’t buy the lies of the world.
We’ve just scratched the surface with ideas. The main thing is to take some time over the next month to proclaim the truth about marriage and family and to strengthen your own marriage. Maybe we can’t completely rewind the clock to the 1830s, but we can certainly individually determine that we will do all we can to strengthen, preserve and promote marriage right here in the Badger State.
For more helpful ideas, you may also visit National Marriage Week’s official website HERE.
The National Organization for Marriage also has information on this year’s March for Marriage in D.C. HERE.