Celebrating Healthy Marriages and Relationships During the Month of Love

Catholic Charities of Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. – February is known around the world because of one very important holiday, Valentine’s Day. What many people may not know is that another celebration of love takes place at the same time each year. National Marriage Week, a collaborative effort to reinforce marriages and build a stronger marriage culture across America, occurs February 7 - 14. These two events provide opportunities for everyone to recognize the value that marriage brings to everyday life.

Love Letters from Kansas, a public awareness campaign sponsored by the Catholic Charities of Kansas Marriage for Keeps program, encourages everyone -- not just Kansans -- to learn about the many benefits of marriage this February and celebrate their own marriages.

“Marriage is a pillar of strong communities and we are proud to educate individuals and couples on its importance throughout the year through our Marriage for Keeps program,” said Mike Burrus, executive director, Catholic Charities, Inc., Diocese of Wichita. “National Marriage Week serves as an opportunity to highlight the advantages a healthy marriage often brings: financial stability, good mental and physical health and a strong support system.”

Healthy marriages bring undeniable benefits to communities. In the book, Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences, Familyscholars.org lists 30 proven reasons why marriage is important in the areas of family, the economy, physical health and longevity, crime and domestic violence and mental health and emotional well being. For example, married couples typically have more secure finances, longer life spans and lower occurrences of alcohol or substance abuse than single individuals or unmarried couples. In addition, children raised by married parents oftentimes have better relationships with their parents and are more likely to attend and graduate from college.

There are many different ways a couple can celebrate their marriage during National Marriage Week. A simple date is always a great way for a husband and wife to reconnect and they don’t have to break the bank for it. Here are a few fun ideas:

  • Learn a new dance together: Whether a couple have two-stepped for years or have two left feet, learning a new dance together can be a fun – and sometimes funny – way to reconnect.

  • Make a meal together: Why fight the crowds at a restaurant when a meal at home is private and relaxing? Problem solving, whether it’s choosing a recipe together or fixing a burnt dish, can strengthen a couple’s communication skills and resolve.

  • Hold a tech-free date night: Turn off your cell phones, televisions and computers and focus your attention on each other for an evening. Play board games, take a walk together or simply catch up to reconnect without distractions.

Love Letters from Kansas wants to hear marriage secrets from couples across the Sunflower state. Kansas couples are encouraged to enter a photo of their relationship and an answer to the question, “What makes your marriage work?” on the campaign’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ksloveletters) before 11:59 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. The winning couple will win a free date night package including a gift certificate for two to a local restaurant.

Catholic Charities of Kansas offers a variety of free support services through its Marriage for Keeps program to help individuals and couples learn how to connect and explore ideas to improve their romantic relationships. Relationship education and marriage enrichment workshops are open to singles and couples of all faiths who are looking for tips and tools to enrich existing or future relationships. Find more information on upcoming workshops, as well as other resources to strengthen relationships, at www.KansasLoveLetters.com.

About Catholic Charities of Kansas and the Love Letters from Kansas campaign:
In October 2011, Catholic Charities of Kansas received a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance to provide free relationship education workshops and services to meet family needs throughout Kansas. This grant expands current Catholic Charities of Kansas Marriage for Keeps workshops and services offered in Dodge City, Garden City, Great Bend, Wichita, Pittsburg, Salina, Manhattan, Junction City, Ft. Riley, Topeka, Lawrence, Emporia and Kansas City. These workshops and services include relationship (Within My Reach) and marital (Within Our Reach) education, assistance with accessing community services, employment and career development and parenting classes. Spanish-speaking workshops are also available. The Love Letters from Kansas public awareness campaign educates Kansans on the value of marriage and relationship stability for communities across the state as well as encourages enrollment in local relationship education workshops offered by Catholic Charities of Kansas. For more information, visit www.KansasLoveLetters.com.

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