Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ask an old married lady: How do you celebrate your anniversary?

This weekend, I celebrate six years of marriage. I wish I could scatter little pearls of wisdom about how to build a great relationship, how to get through difficult times, and what makes a perfect marriage. All I can tell you is, I approach marriage the same way I do close relationships in general. These principles have worked for us so far:
  1. Be kind. Apologize when you're not kind. Forgive other people for their occasional lapses in kindness. Remember to add "please" and "thank you" to requests for household favors. Pack snacks for the first day of work, or fill up the gas tank before swapping cars. Take the morning shift with the baby so your spouse can get an extra 30 minutes of sleep. And when you're the sleep-deprived spouse, try not to snap about silly things. Say sorry if you do. 
  2. Talk about what's on your mind. Listen when the other person needs to talk. When one person comes home in tears about health insurance, listen to her tangent. When another person rants about a terrible, rude customer, nod in commiseration. 
  3. Embrace and support each other's weirdness with joy. It makes life a whole lot more fun. By weirdness, I'm not talking about fetishes or vices. (But you  know, if that works for you, congratulations.) I mean the sci-fi-watching, zombie-card-creating weirdness of a husband, or the not-following-a-recipe cooking, buying-floral-blazers weirdness of a wife. The weirdness of being in the car and the other person saying, "I was just daydreaming about The Hulk being on this road, smashing cars, and how I'd calm him down."
So how do we celebrate six years? For us, it's a baby-free night of good food at a fancy restaurant, with a few cocktails and some quiet conversation about our lives. We exchanged a few small gifts (a book and a vintage honey pot, for example). (Seriously, a honey pot. For honey. Just a reminder, you're at "Old Married Ladies," not "High Fashion Divas" or "The Cool Kids Spot.")

But I wondered, how do other old married ladies celebrate their anniversaries? Here's what a few friends said: 

Married for 3 years 
We keep our anniversary pretty simple each year. The only special thing we do is buy a bottle of champagne from Domaine Carneros, which was the first winery we went to on our honeymoon to California. We've only done it two years running, but it is a nice way to remember the wonderful trip and our wedding.

Married for 5 years 
A nice dinner is our usual celebration. For our 5th, we splurged and went to Next! Awesome, indulgent, but I couldn't drink because I was preggo.

Married for 7 years
We have celebrated the last couple of years in the same way, with the things we love most (aside from our kids, of course): great food, wine/craft beer and running. We always go to a special, expensive restaurant that we wouldn't normally go to and get a nice bottle of wine or a couple good craft beers. Also, the local marathon corresponds with our anniversary weekend, and we always participate in that. Last year, my husband ran the marathon and I did the half marathon. We're registered to do the same this year.

Mrs. Sister 
Married for 9.5 years
We started a tradition of doing a major house project on our anniversary weekend each year. It may not sound romantic, but we get to spend time together and are spending money on projects we both get to enjoy instead of buying gifts.

Mrs. Nostalgia 
Married for 11 years
We’ve done everything from go to a movie to have a ridiculously opulent dinner. I like both, but a long, leisurely dinner is a true luxury for us these days. There’s nothing like feeling decadent with your other half.

"Feeling decadent with your other half?" I love that. Let's all plan a little decadence for our next anniversary. 

Top photo from the Library of Congress collection here, bottom photo from Mrs. Snacky's wedding day 

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