On February 14, we celebrate romantic love and friendship on Valentine’s Day. But there’s an equally important ideal to celebrate on February 7-14: National Marriage Week. It’s a time to strengthen our marriages and build a stronger marriage culture.
We don’t need to get married to be happy, but I truly believe that being in a loving, supportive, committed relationship has made me happier. I have a partner and a friend; I have someone to share special moments with, to share the bills with, to keep me grounded, to challenge me, to laugh with me, and to raise a child with.
Marriage is not just about romantic love. It is also about our emotional and physical well-being, contributing to a strong society, and raising children who thrive. The Center for Marriage and Families compiled research on “Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from Social Science.”
Here are some ideas to express your love and appreciation:
* Show your love with a sweet text, a second “first date,” or a picnic. SheKnows.com suggests 100 romantic ways to show your love.
* Go out on a date night. Honolulu Magazine suggests “50 Great Dates in Honolulu” grouped into themes like foodies, the budget-conscious, outdoorsy, playful, sporty, and more. OpenTable.com chose 10 Hawaii restaurants in their Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in the US, including La Mer at Halekulani in Honolulu and Tidepools at the Grand Hyatt Kauai in Poipu.
* Get daily marriage inspiration. ForYourMarriage.org offers daily marriage tips and advice to help keep your relationship strong.
* Practice 7 caring habits. We are happiest in relationships where we are able to satisfy our basic needs, feel supported and loved, and feel that the other person is not trying to control us. Dr. William Glasser, creator of choice theory and reality therapy, identifies 7 relationship habits that can build stronger relationships:
Supporting (being there physically, mentally, and emotionally for your partner);
Encouraging (reminding your partner of their strengths, past successes, and positive qualities);
Listening(being actively engaged in listening);
Accepting(accepting who your partner is even if there’s a specific behavior you don’t approve of);
Trusting(trusting your partner and working to be a trustworthy partner);
Respecting (treating loved ones with dignity and affirming their worth); and
Negotiating Differences (openly discussing what you are and aren’t willing to compromise for the sake of your relationship).
During National Marriage Week and on Valentine’s Day, how will you show your loved ones that you care? If you are married, how do you keep your marriage strong? What could you do to strengthen your relationships?