EL CENTRO – IVROP Project Juntos held their Marriage Week EventÂ to celebrate the international event and to spread awareness about their program on Tuesday at the Eagles Lodge in El Centro.
The event was for the declaration of International Marriage Week, a worldwide celebration of the institution of marriage that runs from February 7th to the 14th. Â El Centro Mayor Benjamin Solomon proclaimed the week-long event open for the both the city and the Imperial County at the beginning of the evening.
The week got its start in the United Kingdom in 1996 as a way to raise awareness of marriage and promote healthy relationships.Â Currently it is celebrated in 17 different countries including the United States.
Activities were held for attendees at the lodge with raffle prizes going out for everyone.Â A competition for the longest married couple was also held for any couples who brought their marriage certificate with them. Â First prize would receive tickets to the upcoming Dancing With the Stars Gala in April.
Dr. Jorge Espinoza, a psychologist from San Diego who specializes in relationships, was also present to give the attendees a presentation on marriage, its values, and what is considered “love.”
“To me, love is not just saying ‘I love you’ ,” said Espinoza, “Love is not just talking, it is also acting.”
Several of the couples there were a part of the Project Juntos classes.Â Some couples, newlyweds Ramiro and Katelyn Leon, were there to gain more knowledge on the institution of marriage.
“The in depth knowledge was really good,” said Ramiro Leon, “Everyone should have classes like this.”
“I’ve been referring it to my friends,” said Katelyn Leon, who had brought a few friends along to the event.
The Project Juntos program is used in the valley to educate couples on the importance and benefits of healthy marriages and relationships.Â Whether or not a couple is married or not, the program is meant to give insight and tools that will aid in creating relationships that will benefit both the adults and, if there are any, the children.
Though project coordinator Edwin Obergfell stated and stressed to the audience that the program does not offer marriage counseling.Â However it is there to help couples with information that will benefit all parties in a relationship.
“The trend is that if you are in a healthy marriage or relationship, you will do better as a person, financially, physically, emotionally,” said Obergfell, “and your spouse will do better and so will your children.”