Strengthening marriage by candlelight

"Men and women just don't fit together": More and more divorces with fewer and fewer weddings at the same time seem to prove Loriot's insight. Is salvation now coming for the institution of marriage that has been declared dead so many times?? An action week, which starts this Saturday and lasts until Valentine's Day, is intended to pamper married couples.

Candlelight dinners, wedding ring polishing, movie nights, dance classes or "romantic church services" are offered everywhere in Germany, but also courses for communication training or an information evening with a lawyer for family law. In Eutin in Schleswig-Holstein, married couples get discount percentages on shoes during the week according to the number of years they have been married. A network that now includes more than 100 partners has emerged in recent months, reports Andrea Fleming in Munich, national press spokeswoman for "Marriage Week". "What they all have in common is that they want to highlight why marriage is important."Marriage Weeks are already celebrated in Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Switzerland. In 1996, the English businessman Richard Kane had reflected on how married couples could be supported. He therefore declared the week before Valentine's Day as Marriage Week. Kane was even able to win the then head of government Tony Blair and his wife Cherie as patrons. Patrons of the first German campaign this year are ZDF Director-General Markus Schachter and his wife Veronika, who tied the knot 33 years ago. "

We want to get our marriage enthusiasm across" Graduate theologian Rolf-Dieter Braun from Hurlach near Landsberg am Lech once met Richard Kane. Since then, he has been enthusiastic about its idea, Braun tells epd. When a nationwide association "Marriage-Week" was founded last year, his wife Doris and he were right on board. "We want to get our marriage enthusiasm across," says Braun, who has been married for 27 years. Marriages are not only confining. Their importance as pillars of society is underestimated, he says.From the environment of Christian initiatives come the main actors of the "Marriage Week" in Germany. For example, "Team F" from Ludenscheid, which offers marriage and family seminars, the "Youth with a Mission," to which the Brauns belong, and the Catholic "Community Spirit and Mission" are leading the way. But press spokeswoman Fleming stresses that "Marriage Week" is "not a Christian fishing expedition". Rather one wants to bring also restaurants, cinemas and trade, educational facilities and municipalities in the boat.

Romance is the trump card In Landsberg in Upper Bavaria, a cinema operator, the Workers' Welfare Association and the city, as well as several church congregations, are all on board. Mayor Ingo Lehmann (SPD) says: "Two people who publicly profess their faith in each other and promise to share their lives deserve our recognition."Therefore it wants to receive married couples on coming Sunday with champagne and music in the historical city hall.Romance is also the trump card at the numerous "candlelight dinner" evenings that married couples can spend during "Marriage Week". Among them are also some private initiatives, such as that of the Suchers near Augsburg, who invite three friendly couples to a cozy evening. Karl-Otto and Regina Sucher, married for 25 years, know what it means to take care of a relationship. "There have been hard times for us, too," says Regina Sucher. Her advice to all married couples: "You have to listen to each other.

"Marriage lasts 13.7 years on average these days The Bavarian Protestant Bishop Johannes Friedrich said "I do" to his wife Dorothea almost 40 years ago. In his greeting to the campaign week, his marriage tip is: "Attention, rituals, time for and with each other, and also spiritual depth." According to "Marriage Week" in Germany, 40 million citizens are married. A marriage nowadays lasts on average 13.7 years.To the 15 or so.000 same-sex relationships, which according to the Federal Statistical Office are legally registered as life partnerships, are not commemorated during the German "Marriage Week. "We have a Christian position and start from the community of man and woman," says Andrea Fleming. But if a homosexual couple wanted to attend a dance class or a candlelit dinner, "they would certainly not be excluded."

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