Are they still married? That was a question I asked a friend last week when we were talking about other friends I haven’t seen or heard of for years. I was happy to hear that the answer was, yes, they are still married. However, how many times the answer is no? How many people do we know that went or are going through a divorce?
This month I am thankful because I am celebrating with my dear husband, the love of my life, our 24th wedding anniversary to which I also have to add seven years of dating. Yes! seven years of dating, which make 31 years together. That deserves a big celebration, not only because of the number of years but most importantly because of everything we have done, built, and learned together during those years.
Have you ever thought about all the things you should celebrate the day of your anniversary or is it everything about the gift?
Anniversary Gift Tradition
We all know it is a tradition that spouses give to each other a gift. Did you know that evidence of the tradition of anniversary gift-giving happened in German culture by the 18th century? A couple’s friends might give the wife a wreath made out of silver to celebrate the 25th anniversary or a gold one to commemorate the 50th anniversary. If you are curious about how gifts became an anniversary tradition, I recommend you read, “Why are there Special Gifts for Each Anniversary Year.” You will find out how modern time has changed the original tradition.
Sometimes we decide to follow a tradition without questioning why, so we keep doing what the majority do. Today’s anniversary tradition is something like this: A wife expects her husband to surprise her with a beautiful bouquet, a lovely and expensive gift, and dinner in a fancy restaurant. The husband prays not to forget the day, and that his wife likes the present he bought last minute so they can enjoy dinner and have good sex. The gift that a wife gives to her husband is important but a lot less significant than what the husband should give to his wife. If the husband forgets the date, he most likely will be sent to sleep to the dog house for who knows how long. Do you relate to this wedding anniversary tradition?
The problem with this tradition is that we forget to give importance to what really is important. We end focusing on the gift instead of focusing on us as a couple. So year after year we celebrate our anniversary the same way. But, what if we create our own tradition and celebrate our anniversary in a more meaningful way?
5 Meaningful things to do to celebrate your wedding anniversary
A few years ago, my husband and I decided to celebrate our anniversaries in a more meaningful way with the intention to get us closer. Here are five meaningful things to do to celebrate that special day.
1. Give each other memories instead of gifts:
We all like gifts, but if we have to choose between a gift or having a great time, we should always choose having a great time. This means having space and time to talk, laugh, dance, have fun, and reconnect with each other. We should invest our money in creating memories that last forever.
2. Remember together the old good times:
Go back in time and remember how you both met, what you liked about each other, how and why you got in love. Talk about all the things you loved to do together and all your favorite memories. Look at pictures or even watch your wedding video, if you have one, to bring back memories and feelings of good times.
3. Have an annual performance review:
When I got married, my mom wrote a card to my husband and me, saying:
Today, both of you begin a new life full of great responsibilities and difficulties as it corresponds to a big enterprise. To be successful, make sure to protect its most important assets that are and always have to be love, respect, understanding, and also forgiveness, that is a way to love with high interests.
As my mom said, marriage is like a big enterprise, and it requires much more than love to succeed. Like a big company, it has several departments which we need to take care of: values, affection, communication, finance, chores, and parenting, among others. The best way to know what is going on in each department is to sit down and talk. The month of your anniversary can be a perfect time to reflect and review your marriage. This review should cover values, needs, accomplishments, areas of improvement, goals for the following year, and so on. If you want to learn more about Marriage Performance Review, take a look at this article: The Annual Marital Performance Review.
Identifying and comparing our needs is another exercise we have done in our marriage performance to know and understand each other better. It consists of identifying our six strongest personal needs from a list and then identifying what we believe are our spouse’s six personal needs. You can download the list here.
4. Have a sleepover away from home:
If the budget allows it, plan a whole night out. Book a hotel room far away or in your city and create a space to reconnect with each other away from kids, work, and problems. Intimate connection is an essential part of marriage, so it has to be special for both of you. If you can’t afford to go out, make it special at home, and send away kids, work and problems.
5. Have fun and enjoy every minute:
Always pick to do something both of you enjoy doing. Don’t always go with the tradition of a nice and fancy restaurant. Think out of the box and choose to do something different. It doesn’t have to be a surprise. You can plan it together. Just be sure to be adventurous and inject some excitement to that day. Do everything with the intention to make your spouse happy, just like you did it at the beginning of your relationship.
We all know that being married is not easy. During our 24 + 7 years together, my husband and I have been through a lot of things. Just like any company, we have had excellent years and bad years. We are not the perfect couple because neither of us is perfect. We fight, we sometimes hurt each other, and we say or do things that we regret later. We try our hardest to understand each other, which sometimes is almost impossible. Most importantly, we practice and protect our marriage values or assets, which are the ones who keep us together.
Each anniversary we talk about ourselves and our relationship to be better for each other and our kids. Every year we celebrate us and all the things we have built and learn together while reminding ourselves that it is not about the gift but about us. We created our own tradition:
“Our anniversary is a celebration of the two of us for the two of us”
If you are married, here is a question for you:
What has been the best anniversary celebration you have ever had?
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Get this FREE Printable Design to remind yourself that ANNIVERSARY is a celebration of two for two.
Easy to download, high resolution image to print at home or favorite local or online print shop in any of the following sizes: 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 11 x 14, 16 x 20 and 18 x 24. To download, click the green bottom bellow.