National Marriage Week is underway! Beginning today and culminating on Valentine’s Day, hundreds of organizations, community groups, and religious institutions will spend a week celebrating the benefits of marriage and encouraging married couples across the country to remain committed to lifelong love.
With national campaign ads outlining the social and economic benefits of marriage, counseling and group study resources for couples and churches, and creative ideas to keep love alive, National Marriage Week seeks to strengthen marriage and promote the institution’s advantages to the next generation.
The week isn’t just about fun date nights and carefully crafted Valentine’s Day poems, however. With 41 percent of all births occurring outside of marriage, an increase in non-married cohabitation, and the persistence of no-fault divorce laws, marriage has taken its share of knocks in the last few decades. In addition to the emotional stress and financial strain on men and women, the collapse of marriage threatens the future success and happiness of thousands of children. A child born to a single parent is six times more likely to experience poverty in his or her lifetime than a child born to married parents. As the decline of marriage begins to creep into middle America, the message of National Marriage Week is integral to effectively battling poverty and maintaining civil society.
It is not simply the responsibility of local communities, however, to help strengthen and promote marriage. Policymakers can also encourage matrimony by eliminating marriage disincentives in the U.S. tax code and welfare programs and by using TANF funds to promote healthy marriage campaigns in low-income communities. Through grassroots efforts like National Marriage Week and carefully crafted marriage policy, organizations and policymakers can help remind society of the benefits of marriage, support couples in building and keeping healthy relationships, and provide more children with the opportunity to grow up in stable families.
To learn more about National Marriage Week and find a community event near you, visit nationalmarriageweekusa.org.