Happy 13th Anniversary to my main man! When we took our vows all those years ago, I could not fathom celebrating our 5th anniversary, much less our 13th. So, when I see couples celebrating 30, 40, and 50 years of marriage, I know those years have flown by for them. It is amazing how life happens when we are not looking!
Recently, I saw a softball team full of 12 years old girls – amazing ball players – and I thought, “These ladies were not even born when Eric and I got married! But it does not feel like we have been together that long! Where did the years go?!?”
About a week ago, Eric and I were discussing how to celebrate this anniversary. With him back in school for his Ph.D., weekends are especially busy with reading, assignments, and papers; so, any social or free time must be planned in advance. As we contemplated dinner and a movie or… going on a day trip or… celebrating a little on two separate days, it occurred to me that I have expectations of anniversaries – more so than I previously realized. I mainly came to this conclusion when Eric was trying to understand what I wanted this year and said, “You clearly have an expectation in mind.” (I may or may not have been cursing his educational endeavors in my mind at the time. ~smile~)
His comments about my obvious desire for a special anniversary bothered me… because, up until last week, I fancied myself a laid back, do-not-care-too-much, whatever we do is fine, kind of a girl. But, based on my reaction to the idea of a rushed or limited anniversary experience, I clearly expect something every year. It may be small, but I need something. (And, to his credit, he wants to give me something every year.)
What is that something? Do I want Eric to always plan it? Do I want to exchange gifts or just spend time together? Does food need to be involved? Is it something we celebrate alone or with others? Perhaps instead of beating myself up over not being the easiest girl in the world to please, I should be honest with Eric and myself about what makes an anniversary celebration special to me. (And, I want to know what makes an anniversary celebration special to him as well!) If we are able to do it, great! If not, at least I am not wallowing in denial or frustration without knowing why. As an adult, I know every year is not going to be extravagant; and, I am okay with that, as I am not an extravagant kind of girl. I would take cheese pizza on the couch with a movie marathon over a formal dinner any day.
Your desires will likely grow and shift over the years. What you consider an ideal celebration now might vastly differ from what you want on your twentieth anniversary. So, it is a good idea to revisit the anniversary expectations talk every five years or so. A concert in the city and an evening of dancing might light her fire now, but she may prefer Olive Garden and a movie in eighteen years. He may be wining and dining you now; but, that does not mean he loves fancy restaurants and wearing suits. And, we ladies need to remember that anniversaries are not only for us. Our fellas should enjoy these celebrations too. One year, you may even go hunting for your anniversary. Another year, you might go on a weekend beach getaway. Either way, it is important to unearth each of your desires and discuss them maturely. If you truly want a nice dinner every year, you can say, “When possible, I would like us to go out for a ritzy meal on our anniversaries.” That was easy! It says, “I know we may not always have the money to do a high dollar culinary experience, but when we can, it is something I wish to prioritize.”
Holding in what we want is not more mature or more selfless than expressing ourselves. Our maturity and selflessness (or selfishness) show in our reactions when we cannot have what we want. If you want five puppies for your anniversary, say so. You might not get them, but it is fine to make your petition. ~smile~
The quiz below was designed to help you both discover where your expectations lie on the anniversary celebration continuum. You may think you are marrying a celebration enthusiast, but he or she may prefer moderate celebrations. You may think your quiet, laid back partner wants small, intimate anniversaries when in reality, he or she expects to spend no less than $500 on a night out.
After you sift through the statements below and discover your category, think about how you wish to honor your special day(s). What would you do if money and time were not factors? How can you incorporate some of those wishes on a smaller scale? If you could only have one experience for your anniversary, (e.g., dinner, movie, physical adventure, museum, etc.) what would it be?
On a scale from 1-10, (1 being strongly disagree and 10 being strongly agree), how do you respond to the following statements?
- (1-10: ___ ) Anniversaries are a priority to me.
- (1-10: ___ ) Growing up, the adults in my life celebrated anniversaries heavily.
- (1-10: ___ ) It is okay to go into debt for an anniversary.
- (1-10: ___ ) It would bother me if our children joined us for anniversary celebrations.
- (1-10: ___ ) The exchange of gifts on anniversaries is important to me.
- (1-10: ___ ) I believe the man in the relationship should plan the majority of the festivities.
- (1-10: ___ ) Being taken to an anniversary dinner in a limo would be extra special to me.
- (1-10: ___ ) It would devastate me if my significant other/spouse forgot our anniversary.
- (1-10: ___ ) It would bother me if we shared our anniversary celebration with other people (e.g., our parents, other couples, etc).
- (1-10: ___ ) Celebrating anniversaries is just as important as celebrating traditional family holidays (e.g., Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc.).
- (1-10: ___ ) I love anniversary surprises!
- (1-10: ___ ) It would hurt my feelings if (it appeared that) my significant other/spouse did not put much effort into planning our anniversary.
- (1-10: ___ ) It would thrill me if my significant other/spouse threw a surprise anniversary party for me.
- (1-10: ___ ) Anniversary gifts are meant to be fun, fancy, and impractical!
- (1-10: ___ ) I consider anniversaries to be sacred.
- (1-10: ___ ) I think it is normal and fitting for children to give their parents anniversary gifts.
- (1-10: ___ ) An anniversary is not an anniversary without my (or my significant other’s/spouse’s) favorite flowers or candies.
- (1-10: ___ ) I expect myself and my significant other/spouse to turn down any requests for favors from others on our anniversary (e.g., loading a moving truck, dog-sitting, babysitting, yard work, giving rides, covering someone’s work shift, counseling a friend, etc.).
- (1-10: ___ ) I want us to renew our wedding vows someday, either with a beautiful ceremony or at a gorgeous destination.
- (1-10: ___ ) I look forward to celebrating our anniversary weeks before it comes.
20-60 = Anniversary celebrations are not on your priority list. You might be happy with pizza and a movie on the couch, forgoing gifts, or treating your anniversary like any other day. If you are dating someone who scored significantly higher than you, you will need to (occasionally) step out of your comfort zone to make anniversaries and other sentimental days special for him or her. If you both scored in this category, discuss your ideal anniversary celebration and enjoy your laid-back approach. Whatever you do, be honest about what you want and listen to what your significant other wants.
61-120 = Though you do not live and breathe for anniversary celebrations, you do have some expectations. Though they may be small, they exist and should be discovered, discussed, and (hopefully) carried out in some way, shape, or form. Try not to be afraid to make your thoughts and requests known to your sweetheart. After all, it is only one day a year and it represents something special.
121-160 = You definitely have expectations of your special day, but you are not quite at the romantic enthusiast level. You may be happy with a small celebration, but it must be well planned to be considered special. Whether you are on top of a twenty story hotel for dinner or enjoying fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the couch, you want your anniversary to be meaningful and memorable.
161-200 = You live and breathe for romantic celebrations. You enjoy the flowers, dancing, fancy dinners, and would be thrilled with a surprise limo ride, a week’s vacation to an exotic location, or a public display of romance by your special someone. If you are dating someone who scored lower than you, it is important to be honest about your desires and to be flexible as he or she grows and tries to meet your expectations. Be appreciative of all efforts made!
Our hope is that the quiz above will help you simplify your future anniversary celebrations. Where did you score? Are you planning a dinner cruise or would you rather play one-on-one basketball with your special someone? Do you prioritize anniversaries or prefer to treat every day like a special day? How did your significant other score? Are you alike? Are you considerably different? What sacrifices can you both make to ensure your future anniversaries are special for each other?
In a few hours, Eric and I will be off for a yummy meal, a movie, and probably some late night TV cuddles. I scored an 86, so though I am not climbing the walls with anniversary excitement, I am looking forward to hanging out with my best man. And, after denying it internally, I admit to you all: I have anniversary expectations. (There, I said it! ~smile~) And, that is okay.
Much love to you all.
How do you like to spend anniversaries or other special days?