Published February 19, 2004
On Feb. 7, couples from the Marriage Encounter organization celebrated their marriages at the World Marriage Day Valentine Ball, held at the Chamblee-Dunwoody Holiday Inn. This year’s event was the 19th annual such event celebrated in Atlanta to honor the institution of marriage.
World Marriage Day, the second Sunday in February, focuses on the uplifting of marriage in society. In February 1985, the Marriage Encounter group held a parade down Peachtree Street and a rally at the State Capitol to commemorate the occasion.
Because of the inclement weather, the Marriage Encounter organization decided on an indoor event for 1986, and the World Marriage Day Valentine Ball was born. The dance was first planned as a way for all married couples to celebrate their relationships in a joyous, happy atmosphere.
As part of the festivities, the group recognizes the “couple of the year,” using the criteria of service to family, church, and community as a couple, demonstrating love for each other and inspiring other couples to a deeper relationship.
The Marriage Encounter organization also honors Georgia’s longest married couple. One special couple honored in the past was Fred and Bess Hull, who were 102 and 100 years old, respectively, at the time. They had been married for 79 years and still loved each other dearly and touched everyone who knew them. On their 80th anniversary, the Marriage Encounter group was invited to celebrate with them at a party the nursing home held for them in the dining room. The room was full of friends and five generations of Hulls, as well as the flower girl from their wedding, who was over 80 years old.