How to Celebrate Your Wedding Anniversary

On the night of our 2-year anniversary, my husband and I accidentally wore matching outfits. Too lazy to change, we actually went out in public like this.

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On our 1st wedding anniversary, my husband Brian and I were so broke that we spent our special day playing frisbee on the beach (a free activity!), followed by a classy dinner at Pizza Hut ($15 is practically free!).

No need to pity us. We loved it.

Last week we celebrated our 2nd anniversary. A little less broke, we decided to step it up a notch — from Pizza Hut to T.G.I. Friday’s. (We’re really climbing the ladder now, people! And in matching outfits too.) Then we came home and finished watching the entire series of our favorite cartoon.

Couples celebrate their anniversaries in ways that are considered special, fun, and affordable by their standards. There’s no wrong way to do it.

There is, however, an activity that I think every couple should do on their anniversary.

[Insert sexy thought here.]

No, I mean aside from that.

I’m talking about a modified version of the “Annual Review”. If you don’t remember from this post, an Annual Review is a highly organized way of reflecting on the past, assessing the results of your actions, and planning for an improved future.

During our celebratory dinner, Brian and I performed one that was tailored to improving our marriage. I call it an M.A.R.– Marriage Annual Review. (Because yes, there’s a limit to my creativity.)

How To Conduct Your M.A.R.

It’s simple. Each person answers the following two questions:

What went well in our marriage this year?
What could have gone better in our marriage this year?

Next, each person should ask his or her partner:

What can I do to improve our relationship?

Hopefully, this exercise opens up valuable conversation. Here are two bonus tips:

  • Lovingly listen to your partner’s answers without getting defensive. Remember, his or her feelings must be honored even when your feelings differ. In return, it is fair to expect that your answers and feelings are listened to without judgment.
  • Record your answers for future reference. On your next anniversary, look over the previous year’s M.A.R. and notice any patterns, changes, and progress (or lack thereof).

A Peek Into Our M.A.R.

I won’t be sharing all the details of what happened during my M.A.R. with Brian, you nosy little thing you. But I will share something that surprised us.

When asked, “What can I do to improve our marriage,” our answers had to do with some aspect of the other person’s emotional growth and well-being. Which makes sense. Because while “Can you please put your damn socks in the hamper instead of on the floor?” is a fair request, what makes a relationship or marriage feel whole is when the two individuals that comprise it are actively working toward wholeness in their own lives.

For example, I’ve noticed a huge shift in our marriage ever since Brian left his soul-crushing job. Once he felt emotionally healthy, his actions were healthy, and thus, our marriage became healthier. Similarly, the more I healed from my depression in 2005, the better and stronger our relationship became. (It’s not easy loving a nut job. I don’t know how Brian did it for so long.)

Final Thoughts

Performing an M.A.R. can be uncomfortable. It holds both people accountable for the success or failure of a relationship. It asks you to look inward and acknowledge your own shortcomings. It holds up a mirror to who you are in a relationship.

But the discomfort that can come along with Truth is coupled with a great reward. Push through, and you will discover what Love feels like on a practical, day-to-day level.

Good luck with your M.A.R., friends. I hope it does for you what it’s done for us.

Your Turn: How do you keep your marriage or relationship in check?

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4 Responses to How to Celebrate Your Wedding Anniversary

  1. KMD says:

    I think we try to be aware of our actions toward each other and their intent, as well as subtly reassuring each other that we want each other in our lives and in our futures.

    -Heh, I like your matching outfits :D and Aly would appreciate your A:TLA marathon.

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      Yes, awareness and the occasional reassurance can go a long way.

      Avatar rocks my world!!! You should check it out if you haven’t already. Amazing character development, humor, spiritual themes, political implications. It’s got it all.

  2. Sheryl says:

    Bunny and I tend to do almost mini reviews about certain subjects fairly regularly. Right now while we’re with my mom, we’re re-evaluating the living situation every couple of months to ensure that both our needs our still being met by this arrangement. If we know something’s been an issue with us in the past, we make a point to take about it every now and again in comparison to our current situation to ensure we’re both comfortable (or at least moving towards comfort) with how the issue has changed. We find that checking in like this every few months helps keep us on the same page about the big picture and keeps us motivated to make any improvements we need.

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      That’s great. Very wise of you. When you’re in a transitional period in your career and personal life (which Brian and I have been in for most of our relationship!), feelings change all the time. It kind of creeps up on you too. So “mini reviews” are super helpful. Good for you guys.

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