How can a piece of paperwork do such wonders? Surprisingly, the piece of paper, and not just the personal relationship, matters a great deal. People who live together, for the most part, don’t reap the same kinds of benefits that men and women who marry do. Marriage as a social institution—a shared aspiration and a legal, public vow—gives wedlock the power to change individuals’ lives and eventually their perspective.
From increasing confidence and specialing men and women to developing an interesting social life, marriage provides one with numerous social security. Even childless married couples benefit from splitting up the work. Married households have twice the talent and time.
In order to highlight the importance of spousal relationship, World Marriage Day, the second Sunday of February, and National Marriage Week USA (February 7 – 14) is observed annually in dioceses and parishes throughout many western countries as an opportunity to focus on building a culture of love and life that begins with supporting and promoting nuptial ceremony and the family.
Various dioceses and parishes commemorate World Marriage Day and National Marriage Week in a variety of ways, but most importantly by incorporating prayers and blessings for matrimony by hosting various marriage-building activities in the parish.
History of World Marriage Day and National Marriage Week
World Marriage Day is a projection of Worldwide Marriage Encounter, an apostolate aimed at helping couples make good marriages even better. World Marriage Day began in 1983 and is celebrated every second Sunday of February in dioceses across the country. In 1993, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, imparted his Apostolic Blessings on World Marriage Day. This year it falls on February 14, coinciding with Valentine’s Day. The purpose of World Marriage Day is to highlight the beauty of marriage and to honor husbands and wives for their faithfulness and sacrifices.
The mission of its founding organization Worldwide Marriage Encounter is “to proclaim the value of Marriage and Holy Orders in the Church and in the world.”
The idea of celebrating marriage began in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1981, when couples encouraged the mayor, the governor, and the Bishop to proclaim St. Valentines Day as “We Believe in Marriage Day.” The event was so successful that later the idea was adopted by Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s National Leadership.
By 1982, 43 governors officially proclaimed the day, and celebrations spread to U.S. military bases in several foreign countries. In 1983, the name was changed to “World Marriage Day,” designated to be celebrated each year on the second Sunday in February. In 1993, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, imparted his Apostolic Blessings on World Marriage Day (WMD). WMD celebrations continue to grow every year and spread to more countries and faith.
National Marriage Week USA, launched in 2010, is part of an international event seeking to mobilize individuals, organizations, and businesses in a common purpose to strengthen marriage in communities and influence the culture. The Secretariat on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offers a full set of resources to bishops, priests, deacons, married couples, and laymen and women to help celebrate and live the great gift of married life.
World Marriage Day (WMD) honors husband and wife as the foundation of the family – the basic unit of society. It salutes the beauty of their faithfulness, sacrifice, and joy in daily married life.
Symbol and Theme
World Marriage Day Symbol speaks of the role and values of being in wedlock. Husband and wife are symbolically seen as two candle-like figures, reminding us that married love enlightens the world. the theme for WMD has been permanently adopted as “Love One Another.” This phrase is the commandment given by Jesus in John 15:12.