Celebrating Love and Connection: Marriage Happy Hour at Church of the Ascension
Church of the Ascension, a vibrant parish in Overland Park, KS recently hosted a delightful Ongoing Engagement event that celebrated the beauty of marriage and fostered connection among couples within the parish. The Marriage Happy Hour, held at The Kingdom Bar and Grille, was a resounding success, with 25 couples in attendance, creating an evening filled with joy, laughter, and meaningful interactions.
The atmosphere at The Kingdom Bar and Grille was infused with live music, courtesy of the talented Mikey Needleman. The church’s commitment to creating a warm and inviting environment was evident, as couples enjoyed free appetizers and engaged in
enriching activities designed to strengthen their relationships. A highlight of the evening was the presence of Fr. Colm Larkin, the parochial vicar, who bestowed a heartfelt blessing upon all the couples, adding a spiritual dimension to the event.
The Marriage Happy Hour wasn’t just an ordinary gathering; it was a unique opportunity for couples to connect on a deeper level. The organizers thoughtfully incorporated fun discussion cards with various exercises, providing couples the choice to engage in activities either at the bar or take them home for a week of shared reflection. This approach allowed couples to tailor their experience to their comfort level, fostering a sense of inclusivity.
One of the heartwarming aspects of the event was the presence of couples at different stages of their journey. A particularly touching story emerged from a couple where the wife actively participates in various parish ministries, while her husband had not been actively
practicing the faith. His willingness to attend and his positive experience at the Happy Hour became a testament to the event’s success in bridging connections within the parish.
Another couple, on the brink of becoming empty nesters, expressed their desire to venture out more as a couple. They found the Happy Hour to be a perfect starting point—a “zero” entry event that was comfortable and non-intimidating. Their hope to meet other couples navigating similar life transitions was realized, making the event a valuable platform for building new connections.
A different couple, where one partner is more active in the church, found common ground at the Happy Hour. The husband, who typically attends only Mass, appreciated the opportunity to socialize in a more casual setting. Meanwhile, the wife was delighted to enjoy an evening with church friends and her husband, emphasizing the event’s role in creating spaces for shared experiences among couples.
The diversity of attendees, from newlyweds to those celebrating over 40 years of marriage, showcased the universality of the event’s appeal. It became evident that the Marriage Happy Hour had successfully brought
together couples from different walks of life, all bound by a common commitment to their marriages and their faith.
The overwhelming success of this event has prompted Church of the Ascension to make it a regular feature, with plans to host Marriage Happy Hours every month. As the church continues to nurture these connections, it is clear that events like these play a vital role in strengthening the bonds within the parish and fostering a sense of community among its members.
Why does marriage matter so much? We are, as Aristotle taught, social animals. We are hardwired to connect. That’s why our ties with others— family and friends—end up being so much more crucial to our welfare than things like the size of our bank account or the degree on our wall.
Couples who are on the fence about tying the knot may want to consider new research from the Institute for Family Studies. People who are married are happier than those who are not, based on Gallup surveys of more than 2.5 million U.S. adults collected between March 2020 and November 2023.