Reaching Out to Other Couples

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Marriages don’t exist in a social vacuum. Each couple’s relationship is influenced by their family and friends, their religious community, the broader culture, and many other things. In other words, marriage is not just a private relationship; it is strongly connected to people and institutions in our communities and our society. Despite this, our day-to-day actions don’t usually recognize the public nature of marriage. Think for a moment of how common it is to ask friends or work colleagues about their health or how their kids are doing. Now, ask yourself: When was the last time you asked a family member or friend how his or her marriage was going? You might even think that such a question would be inappropriate or intrusive. The fact is that most of us are far more familiar with our friends’ and loved ones’ birthdays than we are with their wedding anniversaries. Despite how important marriage is to our own lives, to our loved ones, and to the health of our communities and society, generally we think of marriage as only a private and personal thing. Instead, it is one of the most important parts of healthy communities and societies, and it should be a valuable way we connect with other people.

Marriage Moments provides you an opportunity to strengthen your own relationship as you prepare to be parents. As you do this, we encourage you to think of other couples you know who can benefit from your support of their relationship. Here are just a few suggestions of things you can do to reach out and help others to strengthen their marriages:

❖ Ask friends when their wedding anniversary is and then give them a greeting card congratulating them on their accomplishment.
❖ Tell friends what you admire about their marriages; be as specific as possible.
❖ Ask co-workers about the most important lesson they have learned from marriage that has helped them to be a better employee and person.
❖ Form a “Marriage Enrichment Reading Group.” Pick a book on strengthening couple relationships to read and discuss. (See MORE RESOURCES for some good book suggestions.) The purpose of the group is not to disclose very personal information; rather, the purpose is to learn and support each other in the important work of keeping their marriages strong and vital. Include couples you know and those you would like to get to know better. Include those with different backgrounds than your own.
❖ Sponsor a marriage appreciation day in your neighborhood, religious congregation, or community. Recognize and honor a special couple that has gone through many hardships but kept their relationship alive.

This is just a start of some of the things you could do to strengthen marriages in your little corners of the world. With a little thought, you could add many more items to the list. And when your communities place more value on strong marriages, you will find it easier to keep your own marriage strong.
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