This year my husband and I celebrated 9 years of marriage. Those 9 year are packed with memories, laughter, ups and downs, disagreements, and learning to love each other through life’s mountains and valleys. Overall, marriage has been everything I’ve hoped and dreamed that it would be. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting or sugar coating the hard work my husband and I have put in learning to work together, understand each other, and bridge the gap when we don’t see eye to eye. But I know that not every one has such a positive experience in marriage. I also know things can quickly unravel, and a relationship can go from healthy to crisis mode if neglected. One way I’ve tried to make sure my relationship with my spouse stays healthy is to truly celebrate our anniversary every year.
When Jason and I were engaged my Mom told me about this anniversary idea she had heard about. The concept is that one spouse is responsible for planning the anniversary every other year and the spouse that is doing the planning focuses the plans around things they enjoy doing as a couple as well as doing things that their spouse particularly likes.
I took odds and Jason took evens. On year one I planned our anniversary. I planned a trip to Estes Park because my husband loves the mountains. I also arranged for us to go white water rafting, something neither of us had ever done. I kept everything a surprise and let the surprises unfold from where we were eating, to the activities we were doing for the weekend.
One year (when we didn’t have kids) Jason surprised me took me to the airport and wouldn’t tell me where we were going till we boarded our plane. He took me to San Francisco and reserved a nice hotel. We went to the golden gate bridge, went shopping, ate at nice restaurants, and for the final surprise he took me to see one of my favorite musicals Wicked. All of those activities are things that I love! I felt so known and valued because he took the time and effort to plan all of this for me. I also love surprises, so it was icing on the cake that everything we did was a surprise!
What I love about taking turns to celebrate and plan our anniversary is that it feels like a balanced effort, and we each get to demonstrate our love and understanding of each other through selecting adventures and experiences I know my spouse would enjoy. This can be a financial sacrifice and I know that not everyone has the budget to be able to do something extravagant every year. However, you can still plan a significant and meaningful anniversary on a tight budget.
I have always felt the benefits when I have taken time to invest in my marriage. It reminds me of the value and worth of my relationship with my spouse. It is a sacrifice I’m willing to make. If your finances are tight, start planning and setting aside money a year in advance. You can look for deals throughout the year on hotels or even AirBnBs. Another way we help finance our anniversary trip is that for Christmas we ask our parents to give us either childcare or a hotel voucher instead of other gifts.
Things to decide as a couple about your anniversary trip:
- Who is odd and who is even years?
- Set a budget for the anniversary trip: How much is the person planning it allowed to spend that year?
- How much time off will you take for the anniversary trip? Will it be one overnight evening or will it be several days?
- General location- will it be in state or out of state? Do you have frequent flyer miles you can use? (We usually stay in state but for big anniversaries we will probably go out of state)
What are your favorite things to do for your anniversary? Do you celebrate every year?