Let's talk anniversaries. Why? Well, because anniversaries are a big deal.
A big deal.
Your anniversary is the birthday of your marriage, and it deserves a big celebration. Notice, I didn't say costly or extravagant, rather, BIG.
We have found that couples who are struggling in their marriages usually don't do a lot of the little things, and they certainly don't have routines and rituals in place surrounding anniversaries, Valentine's Day, birthdays, and other big events. That's okay, because today is a new day and a new start and it is never too late to put meaningful rituals in place in your marriage.
One thing we've noticed is that healthy couples are great at celebrating important events together. (That obviously isn't the only determining factor to their healthy relationship, but it helps!) They are really good at remembering their anniversaries and being intentional in how they choose to celebrate them. It isn't necessarily the fact that they plan the most amazing dates or getaways, but the fact that they choose to remember those dates and to make them a bigger deal than any other ordinary day.
That intentionality is what nurtures their marriage - they are mindful about their marriage, and want to keep it as their top priority.
One obstacle a lot of couples face is that one spouse wants to celebrate their anniversary and the other spouse doesn't really care to (Not that the spouse doesn't care about the marriage, but they just don't think their anniversary needs to be celebrated.). Now, if you are the spouse that doesn't care, we're not here to get on your case, but rather to try and help you see how important your anniversary is, and how celebrating it will nurture your marriage.
Celebrating your anniversary will not only help your spouse feel loved and appreciated, but it will help him or her to feel secure in your relationship. Making your anniversary a big deal will strengthen your marriage by giving you time to reflect on how you have grown together through the years, by giving you an opportunity to bond over special dates and getaways, and by giving you a chance to express your love in a bigger way than you may normally do.
So how do you actually make your anniversary a big deal? How do you make things happen?
Here are 3 practical tips for making your anniversary celebrations more successful.
1. Talk about your expectations.
Sit down together and talk about what you would both love to do, and to receive, for your anniversary. She may want a simple dinner at home. He may want to go to a fancy restaurant. She may not want flowers, but instead a mani-pedi. He may want an overnight vacation away from the kids. Figure out what you want and then decide how to make it happen.
READ: 10 REASONS YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE NEED A ROMANTIC GETAWAY
2. Take turns planning.
It would be wise to either divvy out specific responsibilities or to switch off planning your whole anniversary every other year. For example, you may decide that she will plan and reserve the romantic getaway location and you will plan the itinerary of daily activities. Or you may sit down and plan the whole date/getaway together. Some couples enjoy taking turns planning either Valentine's Day or their anniversary each year, which can make for some fun surprises and adventures together.
3. Set a budget.
Finally, set a budget together. Be clear about how much money you would like to spend on gifts, or if you don't want to spend any money at all (homemade gifts rock). If you decide to make a trip out of your anniversary, set a budget and put aside the money now. Make sure you both are united on how much money you want to invest in celebrating your big day together (Yes, money spent on anniversary celebrations is an investment in your marriage, peeps, and will be worth every penny!).
Now that you have a better idea for how to make things happen for your upcoming anniversary, here are 25 fun ideas to help get you brainstorming! Please remember that there is no set protocol for a successful anniversary celebration, except that it happens - year after year after year.
You don't have to follow the typical "themed gift," for your anniversary unless you want to (That sooooo isn't our thing, but maybe it is yours!). You may want to brainstorm dates and gifts that match your spouse's love language, or to create a ritual that is uniquely yours (and one you can continue year after year).
No matter what you choose to do to celebrate, try to create rituals, dates, or getaways that have meaning for you and your spouse.
READ: 5 WAYS TO GIVE YOUR WIFE THE AFFECTION SHE CRAVES
25 Ideas for Celebrating Your Anniversary
1. Kidnap your spouse in the morning and take him or her to your special spot. Have a picnic breakfast together.
2. Make your spouse a full on fancy meal - all from scratch.
3. Give your spouse a gift (small gift) for each year you have been married - hide them around the house and send your spouse on scavenger hunt to find them.
4. Make a card that says, "I have loved you for _______ days/hours/minutes," etc. Do the math.
5. Go back to where you first met (if you have moved away, a romantic getaway is calling your name!).
6. Stay in bed all day and watch movies, cuddle, and have all your favorite foods available.
7. Eat at the same restaurant each year, and ask if you can sit in the same booth. Take a picture each year of the two of you sharing a kiss in your booth. Make sure the staff knows it is your anniversary and persuade them to do something special for the two of you (or pay them ahead of time!).
8. Rent a limo and go to a fancy dinner.
9. Go on a dinner cruise on a river or ocean.
10. Dance to the same song each year on your anniversary - make it YOUR song as a couple.
11. Get crafty and make a DIY project for your home together.
12. Make a video/slideshow telling your spouse what you love about him or her. Include your favorite pictures of the two of you from years past.
13. Write your spouse as many love notes as years you are celebrating. Send them to him or her in the mail each day leading up to your anniversary.
14. Attend a symphony or concert and eat somewhere you have never been to before.
15. Plan to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert out at all of your favorite places (share meals, of course!).
16. Get your friends in on the fun and have different friends meet you at different activities all day long to celebrate with you. Or throw a huge party with great food and games - yes, a party to celebrate your anniversary!
17. Re-enact your first date - and do everything to the T. Take selfies all along the way!
18. Take a day trip downtown and tour your city together. Shop, eat, walk around, rent bikes, etc.
READ: 10 WAYS TO CHOOSE JOY IN MARRIAGE
19. Stay overnight at a bed and breakfast. Super romantic and totally do-able. Make it happen.
20. Plan a day date full of adventure - kayaking, picnicking, hiking, zip lining, and stargazing.
21. Find a way to volunteer together in your community. This type of date will make for meaningful memories together that help you see that side of each other that you both love.
22. Go to the mall together and either shop together for a full outfit for each of you, or give each other a certain amount of money to go buy an outfit for the other (surprise). Or choose to buy the same thing for each other year after year - like matching golf shirts, ties for him and earrings for her, or shoes.
23. Take a class together that you have been wanting to take - dance class, cooking class, painting class, etc.
24. Hang out all day at an amusement park and play hard. Eat hot dogs and cotton candy, and kiss at the top of the ferris wheel.
25. Get fancy pictures taken of the two of you each year - just like your engagement pictures. These pictures will become priceless treasures in the years to come.
We want to hear your ideas! What has been your favorite anniversary celebration so far? What do the two of you do on your anniversary that is unique to your marriage? What tips do you have for making anniversary celebrations happen? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
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“A great marriage isn’t something that just happens; it’s something that must be created.”
- Fawn Weaver
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