Six weeks till Marriage Week USA - 1/1/03

Smartmarriages ® cmfce at
Wed Jan 1 23:01:03 EST 2003

subject: Six weeks till Marriage Week USA - 1/1/03

from: Smart Marriages®

Happy New Year everyone! Let's make this a great year.

We have six weeks till Valentine's Day and Marriage Week USA - the perfect
opportunity to promote healthy marriage initiatives in our communities and
to put marriage on the map.  NOW is the time to contact the media, civic
leaders, clergy, your neighbors and family - and to lay plans.

February 7 ­ 14, 2003

The purpose of Marriage Week USA is to celebrate the importance of marriage
to our communities. We acknowledge an observation made over two thousand
years ago: "The first bond of society is marriage." - Cicero (106-43 BC)
Here are some suggestions:

- Distribute the booklet "Strengthening Marriages in Your Community: 101
ideas to Get You Started".  The ideas listed here are a sample of those in
the booklet.  To order go to
Bulk as low as 50¢ a copy.

- Publicize your marriage and relationship education classes. Offer free
previews during Marriage Week.  I've directed several DC area couples this
week to local classes - a PAIRS semester class that begins Feb 14th and a
Relationship Enhancement weekend Feb 8 - 9th.  I'm sure many of you have
similar classes scheduled during Valentine's Week. Let the media and
churches know about the classes. TV and newspapers are hungry for good
features stories for Valentine's Week - invite them to attend the classes.
Offer special classes for police, fire, military.

- Use Valentine's Day and Marriage Week to get a whole year's calendar of
Marriage Strengthening classes and events in your community published in the
paper, on community web site bulletin boards, etc.  Make up a schedule right
now if you haven't already of your own upcoming events.  Check with groups
like Retrouvaille, Marriage Encounter, etc to flesh it out the list.

- Publicize Marriage events.  Bill Doherty will be the featured keynote
speaker at the Utah Marriage Week celebration.  Michele Weiner-Davis
will speak at the Growing Great Marriages celebration in Alberta, Canada.
David Olson will be the featured speaker at Marriage Week in the UK.
Who else is speaking?  Where? Find out and promote these - you can
piggy-back on these events in your communities.  Get the invited speakers to
go on TV with you while they're in town.

- Write a letter to the editor about why your community should celebrate
Marriage Week.  Include marriage, divorce and other statistics for your
county/state and surrounding counties/states and information about marriage
strengthening initiatives.

- Ask your mayor or governor or clergy to issue a proclamation in support of
For language, see the Louisiana proclamation -
or, the Higland Park, NJ mayor's proclamation -
(Send me examples of others.)

- Celebrate your own marriage. Teach by example! If you're not married,
offer to babysit so someone else can go celebrate.

- Create "Ten Most Affordable (or best, or most romantic, or most creative)
Marriage Dates" list/contest for your community. Get these to the media -
radio, TV, newspapers, community newsletters.  Ask radio stations to promote
such  a contest  - keep the focus on Marriage - not just any old date, a
Marriage Date.  And/or, create lists of the best Marriage Strengthening
Resources - Retrouvaille, How to Avoid Marrying A Jerk, Couple Communication
workshops, etc and publicize these in Valentine's Day Service Announcements.
Media will get in the spirit of things if you give them the resources.   See
the archive for articles and the Directory for resources.

- Honor members of your extended family whose marriages have had an impact
on your life. Organize family members to participate.  Make it a surprise

- Hold a "How this marriage has had an impact on my life" or a "Why I think
this is a great Marriage" essay contest for children in the community
(lessons learned, examples set, why they want a marriage like this when they
grow up, etc.)  Award prizes, get the media involved.  Marriages described
could be of their parents, relatives, ancestors or of couples of local,
state or national significance.

- Organize a Community Marriage Policy and get it signed during Marriage
Week.  See to get started.

- Encourage civic, community and religious leaders to acknowledge Marriage
Week with an endorsement, announcement or declaration and activities.

- Ask judges and divorce lawyers to declare a moratorium on divorce - NO
Divorces filed or granted during Marriage Week USA.  Ask them to "schedule
vacation" that week if that's what it takes.

-  Ask media to include a Strengthening Marriage Tip, Marriage Article,
Marriage Quiz ­" Of the Day" for the full week.  Send them plenty of
material!  It's only seven days......

- Celebrate couples who have reached marriage milestones - 25, 40, 50. etc..

- Launch a Marriage Hall of Fame for those married for 40 years or more.
Post their pictures and their tips for success in a prominent public place
like the marriage license office, schools, library or places of worship.

- Ask religious leaders to acknowledge the importance of marriage and/or
Marriage Week USA in their sermons and services.

- Recognize the couple in your community, region or state who has been
married the longest. For suggestions on how to run a Couple Married Longest
(CML) Contest in conjunction with World Marriage Day (Second Sunday in
February - Feb 9th) see "Sample Press Releases' on their web site at

- Ask your congregation or daycare to sponsor a date night.

- Organize childcare for activities planned during Marriage Week. Use
Marriage Week to publicize the idea of starting year-round Child Care
co-ops and services.

-  Offer to speak/teach at civic groups, high schools, factories, day care,
etc.  They all are especially eager for our expertise around Valentine's
Day.  Organize a marriage strengthening seminar in your civic or religious

- Ask employers to hold a marriage seminars or brown bag lunches. Encourage
them to sponsor a Valentine's dance, picnic, etc.

- Organize a fundraiser - dance, walkathon, race, bake sale - to purchase
marriage education books and tapes and donate them to your local public or
congregation library.

- Organize a "Husband/Wife or Marriage of the Year" essay contest.

- Don't overlook the wisdom in assisted living facilities - tap into these
couples.  They make for great media.

- Include activities for engaged couples and dating couples - emphasize
helping them create strong, healthy marriages for the future.

- Include couples separated by military service - organize a media
Valentine's event around them - a contest, a TV hook-up from around the
world, etc. 
- Offer to teach one of the marriage skills school curricula listed at - PARTNERS, PEERS, CONNECTIONS, BUILDING
RELATIONSHIPS, Loving Well, etc.  Or, offer to teach students about marriage
customs and traditions.  Show the video "Marriage: Just a Piece of Paper?"
which does just that and use their discussion guide.

- Encourage local television and radio stations, movie theaters or drama
companies to celebrate Marriage Week USA with appropriate programs, films or
productions. Organize a Marriage Film Festival at your own community
organization.  Movies to get you started: Town and Country, Story of Us, and
Family Man.  Use the great study guide on the web site for "The Story of

- Ask local stations to run Public Service Announcements about marriage.

- So far, Utah has done the most to celebrate Marriage Week USA. For
information on their efforts see:  or contact
Brent Barlow, chair of the Utah Governor's Commission on Marriage.
801-378-1293 - brent_barlow at

- For information on National Marriage Week in the United Kingdom, see their
web site at

Please share your ideas and plans.  Let's put Marriage Week USA on the map.

We can do it if we -
       care more than others think is wise...
       dream more than others think is practical...
       expect more than others think is possible...

And, row like crazy.

Diane Sollee, Director CMFCE

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7th annual Smart Marriages conference/RENO, Nevada
June 26-29, 2003

Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, LLC (CMFCE)
Diane Sollee, Director
5310 Belt Rd NW,   Washington, DC 20015-1961
202-362-3332 FAX 202-362-0973
cmfce at

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