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Robin Wilkening – Times Correspondent

Just a few short days before the biggest lovers’ day of the year. I know some people may hem and haw about this day but I have always been a romantic. So much so, that in 3 days, it will be the 28th anniversary of my first date with my Valentine. Anyone that says St. Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, they better check their sources first. Valentine’s Day has always been the traditional day on which people express their love for each other by sending cards, candy, flowers or other tokens of affection. The holiday is named after 2 men, both Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. The earliest valentine dates from 1415. It was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife. The duke wrote the valentine because he was being held in the Tower of London following his capture in battle. So, if someone gives you a line about a Hallmark holiday, let them know you know for a fact that card companies were not around in the early 1400s. A few days ago, I read an article about the longest married couple in America. They will be married for 80 years this coming April. The husband’s advice for a long lasting relationship, in a world where nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, is give and take and compromise. Love is definitely in the air in Portage and there is an awesome opportunity for married couples in our area to strengthen those ties that bind with a fun evening out that is totally free. On Feb. 17, in conjunction with National Marriage Week, get out and get closer with the Date Night Challenge Event right here in your home town. This evening will help married couples discover what “doing dating differently” can do for your relationship. This event is sponsored by Focus on Family and is going to be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Portage United Methodist Church, 2637 McCool Road. Child care will be available. The evening will start with dinner with other married couples. Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley, renowned authors and speakers, will highlight on building healthy relationships. On to Jeff Allen, the comedian who will have us in stitches with the “Happy wife, happy life” message and the redeeming humor in life. You’ll hear the sounds of Michael O’Brien, lead singer of Newsong and hear words of hope and inspiration for great marriages and families from Rev. Sam Rodriguez. Come on out and be part of the National Date Night movement where the goal is 5 million dates for the month of February. Rekindle or enhance that bond that brought you together in the first place. Statistics prove when you strengthen your marriage, you reduce the divorce rate and build a stronger marriage culture which helps curtail poverty and benefits our children. Read more: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/love-is-in-the-air-in-portage/article_c6615482-2fb3-5473-9447-882b94561841.html#ixzz1mydQbKF4

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