He Said She Said: On Anniversaries

Called a heart fern. Photo taken in US Botanic Garden.

Here’s how a recent exchange went while sitting around the dinner table at Mr. PoP’s parents’ house.

FIL (Mr. PoP’s dad): Can you guys pick me up from the airport in a few weeks? I’ll get in on your anniversary.

Mrs PoP: I’m sure that’s fine. What date is that again? I’ll put it in the calendar.

FIL: Your anniversary? You don’t know your anniversary?

Mrs. PoP: Nope.

Mr. PoP (laughing): I do! It’s the only date I remember that she doesn’t!

Our anniversary is right around the corner, and it’ll mark 4 trips around the sun of marital bliss for the two of us.

In case it wasn’t clear from the conversation above, we take a pretty laissez-faire approach to anniversaries. Apparently this year will include picking FIL up from the airport, but other than that it’ll probably just be a normal day. If we remember to wish each other “Happy Anniversary”, we will. But that’s about it.

I know it seems odd, but we are pretty happy with the status quo, but have some different reasons and motivations that helped us arrive at these non-celebrations.


He Said

Lots of guys out there would say that having a wife that can’t remember her anniversary is great because it saves you from having to buy expensive presents, or worry about forgetting the day itself. Those guys are absolutely right – it’s pretty damn great! Here is why…

1.) Simplicity – According to wikipedia there are about 36 formal and informal holidays to be celebrated (or not!) in the US. Do we really need to add a personal one in there? Why not just K.I.S.S…

2.) Non-Consumerism – Sadly, just like many of our other holidays, anniversaries can become just another excuse to buy more crap to fill up our McMansions.

3.) I love her every day – Shouldn’t we just be telling each other “I love you” every day anyhow? No need for a special occasion!


She Said

Just because I don’t like remembering our anniversary date doesn’t mean that I don’t celebrate and appreciate our marriage in my own weird ways.

What Mr. PoP might not realize is that once a year, I usually break my wedding dress out of the closet and wear it for the day. (This isn’t that weird, it’s a sundress since we eloped on a boat not a full-on ball gown!) That’s usually the day I do the most reflecting on our marriage. And I don’t care what day it falls on as long as it’s not rainy. Rain + white dress = bad combo.

That said, there are two big reasons that I like not remembering our specific anniversary date.

Reason #1: It’s Pretty Arbitrary

The 4th anniversary is typically traditionally the linen anniversary. Lame! I don’t need an excuse to buy new towels if we need them. (And I don’t want any more if we don’t need them!) If we really want to celebrate something, how about taking note of the fact that we recently passed 20 Kardashians! (That’s 20-times the length of Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage.)

Isn’t this counter to my “what’s measured is managed” approach to our finances? Absolutely! But I don’t want to manage our marriage. We’re not on a renewal schedule like those crazy proposed temporary marriage licenses in Mexico.

And then there’s…

Reason #2: Nurture Issues

Growing up, I had two primary example marriages that I was exposed to. In one, the couple made a big deal out of anniversaries and were generally miserable toward one another the other 364 days per year. In the other, anniversaries and birthdays were just days like any other, but not a day went by when they did not make their love to one another clear.

As an adult, I know there are shades of grey between these two black and white examples, but even so… With these examples ingrained into my memories, I’ve made it a point to intentionally disregard anniversaries in every romantic relationship I’ve ever been in and try and celebrate the relationship and the other person every day. It’s my way of choosing a relationship like the second marriage I was exposed to and actively rejecting the first.

Besides, Mr. PoP seems pretty cool with the status quo.  So, if it’s not broken, why fix it?



How do anniversaries pass in your relationship(s)?  Do you mark them with a huge event or mostly ignore them like us?

51 comments to He Said She Said: On Anniversaries

  • We don’t celebrate most Hallmark holidays, but we do celebrate: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays, and our wedding Anniversary. Only Christmas and Birthdays are gift giving holidays. (I guess technically Halloween is too, but only for the neighborhood kids.) We ignore birthdays with the extended family, but do give them Christmas gifts.

    Generally we go out to eat on our anniversary, often these days with the kids. (Though this year we went out for lunch on a work-day.)
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  • Something small – we’re not a big fan of huge events. But we do make a tradition of playing beach volleyball each year – I’m crazy about it.
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  • We mostly ignore them. In the beginning, it was a fun and exciting time, but now I just don’t care! haha
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  • You just passed 20 Kardashians! congrats! That’s an accomplishment to be proud of. Sounds like a sweet system you two have got going.
    CashRebel recently posted..What’s My Life Worth?My Profile

    • Our marriage starts to look ridiculously long when you compare it to some of the more infamous celebrity marriages =) Kim Kardashian’s isn’t even the shortest by a long shot!

  • I love the point about making sure you show your love every day. Such a great sentiment. We do acknowledge our anniversary (well I should say we did on the one anniversary so far). But in general, with things like birthdays and anniversaries, we keep it pretty low-key. We like to try to do a family activity, but no big dramatic gifts or anything like that.

    • I think that’s a pretty good way to approach it, and if one of us wanted more of a celebration would probably be where we’d end up.

  • I always wonder after a couple gets married whether you continue to celebrate when you first became a couple or your wedding anniversary. I think the former would be more important to us.

    • We never really celebrated either. Though when we first became a couple was a bit of a moving target.

      • We don’t make a fuss either – maybe just a dinner out. Not sure if we will replace it with our wedding date, or just add to, but I reckon the more excuses to celebrate with food the better!

        I do wish T would remember my birthday. He actually has never cemented the date into his memory, even after seven hears.
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  • Ivy

    How funny, our 13th anniversary is in 5 days and I had completely forgotten it, as I am sure had my husband. Now that I am reminded maybe we’ll do something nicer for dinner . . . maybe.
    We have 2 anniversaries, since we had the registry office sign up (that’s the date on our marriage certificate) and then the church wedding/big party one 2 months later. But we usually forget both dates, I recently had to fill some forma and needed to look up the certificate for the exact date:-) Fully agree, it’s the daily relationship and interaction that counts, not special occasion. Maybe the 25th or the 50th should indeed merit some special celebration, but not doing it every year

    • We have two anniversaries, as well – the boat and when we made it legal at the county clerk’s office a few months later! And I thought we were special in that regard until I’ve realized how many other couples are in the same boat.

  • We say “happy anniversary” but that’s about it. We’re not into giving gifts to one another, preferring to save up for our goals. My husband doesn’t directly remember our wedding anniversary – he remembers the date two days later, which was the date he used for booking our honeymoon travel and accommodations. :) This is the model we saw from our parents – acknowledge, but don’t make a big deal.
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    • I like your husband’s method. I remember it by what holiday I was out of town for vacation days – 4th of July! So I know it’s within a week of 4th of July =)

  • We don’t do gifts, but we like to go out for a nice dinner. It’s not we love each more on this specific date, but it’s a nice way for us to celebrate another year of togetherness.
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  • We’ll go to the restaurant we met at for our anniversary (and even last time we just went for happy hour to avoid the downtown riff raff), but I agree I like the every day affections more. We’re hoping to have our wedding around my bday, which he’s all too happy about since it’s just one time frame he has to deal with. :)
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    • Nice, clumping holidays can be a hassle but are also so nice for remembering! I have an easy time remembering all the family birthdays that are clumped, but the ones spread out around the rest of the year are much harder to keep track of.

  • We usually go out to dinner, but it’s not that big of a deal. We tend to plan and do the things we want at the time when they are convenient, not necessarily on an anniversary day. Our anniversary falls shortly after the start of the school year, so if we had ever planned to do something big, this was not a good day for a school teacher to get married!
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  • We don’t do anything really big. Well, always gets me really nice, thoughtful presents. I try but I’m not a great gift giver. I really rather relax than plan an elaborate occasion.
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  • This is great! I thought we were the only “crazy” ones out there who didn’t really give gifts or go overboard for all the real and not so real ‘special’ occasions.

    We show our love each and every day and we have all that we need and don’t want for anything else. So why go out and waste hundreds of dollars on presents that are essentially worthless to us?

    I think most people aren’t truly happy and they need these tokens to make themselves feel better. If you’re happy, it’s all just wasted money…
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  • I love that you guys don’t make a big deal out of your anniversary! Around here, people celebrate how many months they’ve been with their gf/bf – it’s ridiculous! Not to mention expensive. When my bf and I got together, one of the first things I requested was to not celebrate “monthiversaries”. It just puts the hype on one day out of the month/year, so every other days is meant to be ordinary. I think making a small deal out of the anniversary makes a bigger deal of every day, and that’s what’s really important.
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  • I think whatever works for you two is great! As long as couples are on the same page…if not, look out! :)
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  • You guys are so awesome for being relaxed about something that gets blown out of proportion more times than not. I am not married, but we do “celebrate” our little anniversary of when we first officially got together (which is actually tomorrow) monthly by basically just trying to spend more time together. In the beginning we would go out to eat, but we haven’t done anything for it in a long time since it’s kind of silly to celebrate on a monthly basis. On our year marks (will be 2 in a few months) we go out to eat, but nothing fancy. You’re right in that we should show love and appreciation everyday, not on some date that you just happened to make things official in one capacity or another.
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  • Honestly we don’t do much for holidays and anniversaries. We usually do a dinner (at home, or at a restaurant) for most holidays because we both love to eat. Other than that we don’t typically exchange gifts unless we both agree on it beforehand.
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  • I’ve been told a couple of time that my wife didn’t need anything for our anniversary or we agreed not to exchange any gifts. That is a mistake and a trap! Don’t believe it guys. It’s a test of some sort.

    Anywho, my recent 10 year anniversary we did a trip to london for vacation. We were going to go on some type of vacation, but as the gift, my wife got to pick where. I would have rather headed to Italy or Turkey, but I lost. :)
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  • Cj

    We have really put our foot down on people giving us gifts of stuff. Our wedding anniversary is really our day. We usually make a nice dinner or go out.

    Birthdays and holidays unique. I have a cousin whose birthday is very close to mine and we usually celebrate together by cooking at her house. This was something we were forced to do as kids and now we just kind of laugh.

    Christmas should be about family time and not about stuff.

  • The dinners with your cousin sound like an awesome tradition. =)

  • We celebrate with dinner and a glass of wine – but that’s really it. We try to show our appreciation every day (whether that gets through or not is debatable – but we try!) We might have dinner at home, or we might con a friend/family member into babysitting for us and have a night out. This year was our 5th anniversary, and we opened a bottle of wine that we had saved from our wedding (a friend’s father owns a winery and we had a “special” bottling done for gifts, and they gave us two 750mL bottles). I insist that Dad acknowledge our anniversary in some way, but “Happy Anniversary” is plenty for me :)
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  • We don’t ignore our anniversary but we don’t go out and spend a fortune either. We normally create a special meal for each other and enjoy a bottle of wine at home. We keep it simple but enjoy the day.
    Canadian Budget Binder recently posted..The Saturday Weekend Review #26- Canada Day around the mulberry treeMy Profile

  • We do celebrate our wedding anniversary, though we don’t spend much. We just greet each other and have a simple dinner with the whole family.
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  • We don’t make a super-big deal out of these things. We do go out and celebrate things but not with huge amounts of fanfare. Like you said, one less thing to drop $300 every year.
    Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility recently posted..Saturday’s Sweet Savage Love #1My Profile

  • I am not big on birthdays, anniversaries or Valentine’s day. We just say happy anniversary and go on with the day, although I try to make a nice dinner. No gifts. I do remember the dates however!!
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  • Anne

    We usually celebrate with a bike ride to a local pub where we have a sandwich and a drink. Of course, I can never finish mine, so my husband has to help me out. Of course, sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate so we just celebrate with a “Happy Anniversary”. So glad to know that other people are as low key as we are.

  • We are more like you guys. When you show each other love every day, an anniversary just seems like not such a big deal, I guess, because every day we reflect at least a little bit on how very glad we are to have married one another. :-)
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  • Mrs. Bonner really likes fresh flowers, so our anniversary, her birthday and sometime’s on Mother’s Day I’ll get her flowers. Last year I happened to ride to work on her birthday, so I grabbed some flowers at a roadside stand/market and rode the last 6 miles home holding them. They were a little…shaken up…by the time they made it into the vase.
    For Christmas/birthdays we usually set a $50 limit for each other. We like the fun of trying to find something interesting or thoughtful to surprise each other with.
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  • […] Planting Our Pennies, Mrs. PoP reflects on the significance of anniversaries and on marriage in general, eliciting a lot of reader […]