Marriage Week 2013 gets underway
Christians in the UK are joining with others around the world in celebrating marriage this week.
Marriage Week UK was launched last night in Westminster, London, and sees the start of a week of special events across the nation.
The week is also celebrated globally, with around 1.5 million people taking part in a Marriage Week event worldwide last year.
At last night's launch event, organisers unveiled plans to attempt a world record in the number of couples reaffirming their marriage vows at the same time.
The BIG Promise initiative will form a central part of next year's celebrations.
Richard Kane, founder of Marriage Week, said: "Marriage Week is always finding new ways to encourage couples in their marriages.
"The BIG Promise will allow the whole nation to stand up and celebrate the value of marriage both to the couples taking part, and to society as a whole."
BIG Promise project coordinator Dave Percival said he wanted to see hundreds of thousands of couples across the UK taking part.
"The occasion will be both serious and huge fun – a bit like marriage really," he said.
Guests at the launch heard how divorce rates during the first ten years of marriage have fallen since 1993.
Harry Benson, Communications Director at the Marriage Foundation, said: "After ten years of marriage, there's the same chance a couple who marry in 2013 will keep the vow 'death do us part' as there was forty years ago."
Although more couples today are opting for cohabiting, Mr Kane said it was still important to recognise the importance of marriage.
"Marriage chimes with generations before us who have mustered the same courage, to make the same promise, in the same way and in so doing bless each other, any children and the wider community," he said.