Marriage is a hugely important institution in most every part of the world and it symbolizes the formalization of a relationship between two people. World Marriage Day celebrates everything about marriage, and is a great day to propose to your partner, get hitched, or celebrate the one you are already married to!
History of World Marriage Day
Originally created by an American organization by the name of Worldwide Marriage Encounter, World Marriage Day is also associated with what is known as the Catholic Marriage Movement. It is meant to be celebrated on the second Sunday of February, so the exact date changes each year.
The goal of the day was originally set out to celebrate the “husband and wife as the foundation of the family and the basic unit of society”. The idea is also to bring honor to the idea that marriage is meant to embody faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in the daily-ness of life.
The origins of World Marriage Day began in Baton, Rouge, Louisiana, in the United States in the early 1980s. It was a grass-roots movement of couples who requested that the mayor of the city, the governor of the state, and the Bishop of the church to honor married couples by declaring St. Valentine’s Day as “We Believe in World Marriage Day”.
Within just one year, the idea had caught on, and 43 out of the nation’s 50 state governors had proclaimed the legitimacy of the day and some celebrations even spread throughout the world onto different US military bases. By 1983, the name had changed to “World Marriage Day” and changed to the second Sunday in February (which sometimes falls on Valentine’s Day).
A decade or so later, in 1993, Pope John Paul II of the Catholic Church had placed his official blessing on the day. The celebrations of the day continue to grow and spread through different countries and in people of different religions all over the planet.
The symbol of World Marriage Day (WMD) uses two people as candle-like figures that are meant to show that the love of a marriage is often used to help bring light to the world. The symbol then joins the couple with a heart, representing the power of love and unity that can give life and inspiration to others.
How to Celebrate World Marriage Day
All kinds of fun and meaningful ideas can be implemented in the observance and celebration of World Marriage Day! Try out these get creative with some of your own:
Go On a Date with Your Spouse
Married people still need to date each other! Sure, it can be difficult with a passel of kids or work responsibilities. But it is certainly important to take time to invest in each other and the marriage relationship. Try out these ideas for having a date with your spouse:
- Get Away for the Weekend. Enlist a babysitter and book a couple of nights away from home for the two of you to connect on a deeper level. Go on a hike in the woods, get a couple’s massage, visit a new city and get away from the daily stresses.
- Take a Picnic in the Park. Even if the budget is tight, a picnic in the park can be almost completely free (since you have to eat anyway). Grab some sandwich food, a bit of fruit or some veggies to munch on. Don’t forget the picnic blanket and perhaps a bottle of wine.
- Enjoy a Botanical Garden or Museum. Simply wandering together and discussing artwork or plants can be a delightfully relaxing activity. Hold hands, point out things you like, and appreciate the simple company of each other.
Congratulate a Long-Time Couple
A great place to begin is by celebrating the marriages that exist within your family or friend group. Have parents or grandparents or other friends who have been married for a very long time?
Give them a call or send them a card to tell them what a great example they have been of going the distance. Ask them to tell stories of their relationship or see if they will offer some tips on what keeps their marriage continuing to work after so many years. Tell them how impressive their long-term marriage is and celebrate that accomplishment with them!
Join a World Marriage Day Event
Hosted by various organizations all over the world, World Marriage Day events can be large or small but their focus is always to honor the commitment and benefits of the institution of marriage. Make a quick search online to find out what events might be held in the local area whether through various clubs, non-profit organizations, therapy groups or churches.
Read a Book About Marriage
Those who are already married understand that relationships take work and there is always more to learn. And those who are single but would like to be married someday can also benefit from learning about how to be a better person (which can translate into being a better spouse).
Reading books (individually or together as a couple) is a great way to continue on the journey of learning about how to improve married life. Talk about them together or perhaps start a book group with other couples or singles to discuss the concepts. Try out some of these suggestions for reading in honor of this important day:
- The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. This best seller breaks down the various ways that different people communicate and receive love. Not only good for marriage, these concepts are able to be applied to almost any relationship.
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John M. Gottman and Nan Silver. This practical guide from one of America’s foremost relationship experts offers key points and exercises that can help a marriage grow and be sustained even during tough times.
- The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm. With the foundational idea that a person can actually work to increase their love for others, this book teaches ways that individuals can learn “the art of loving” better in marriage, family, parenting, and self-love.
- Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away by Dr. Gary Chapman. Another more recent book from Chapman that is worth a mention, this one speaks to the very real struggles that married people face. And it gives tools for making a positive impact on both partners in the relationship and changing the emotional climate of a marriage.