So in honor of Wedding season, and inevitably, anniversary season, here are my pointers to learn to be “Happy Celebrators in Marital Bliss”:
1. Plan your dates together for the big occasions. Now, I know this takes a bit of the romance out of having the husband whisk you away to a charming B &B for two nights, but let’s face it: he’s probably not going to do that. Maybe once in your married life. But think of all those other occasions you were hoping he would read your mind and just know, that you really wanted to take a hot air ballon ride, go camping, try that new sushi place around the corner, and somehow, mysteriuosly you ended up at Olive Garden. Again. Talking about what you both want to do, think you can afford, etc. leads to a more fulfilling experience for you both.
2. Ditch the Hollywood High expectations. You already know in your day in, day out life, marriage is more normal than epic, more regular than extraordinary. But somehow on important celebrations, we revert into thinking this one night will be magic and fireworks and somehow both your bodies will shape shift into a thinner and younger version of who you currently are. And we find ourselves disappointed in an otherwise lovely evening simply because it was not glamorous enough. No one moment can live up to that kind of pressure, nor can one person. You’ll both have so much more fun if you expect it to feel like a date night, not a scene from Titanic.
3. Plan your child care way ahead of time and come up with a back up plan for if the kids get sick. Waiting till the week of your big date is too much stress. By the time you get it all figured out you’ll be stressed out and not able to enjoy the evening. This is a great time to point out that part of having community in your life is to support you. Marriages need to be nurtured, and celebrating anniversaries, birth day’s and such is one way to nurture them. So, find another family in your community and commit to swap kids for each others anniversary.
4. Do things out of order. Typical date night for a married couple looks like dinner, maybe a movie, pick kids up from sitter, come home and then attempt to enjoy the less clothed part of celebrating. But, who says it has to go in that order? For most couples the struggle to have a happy sex life has to do with a. never being alone in the house and b. being too tired. Mix things up!
5. Do one thing to feel more attractive than usual. Date nights are supposed to be more special than “meatloaf Wednesday” so wear your hair in your favorite style, paint your toes, put on the good perfume. And certainly, do something you know your husband likes as well. If you’re always in pants but he loves you in a skirt, wear one! This is great time to borrow from your friends closets. There’s no need to buy a new outfit, especially if you can’t afford it, but a cute pair of shoes or a different top, go a long way to feeling special and pretty.
6. For overnight trips: bring some snacks for your hotel room, air freshener for the bathroom, the cutest lingerie you have (no borrowing on that one!) and for heaven’s sake don’t forget your hair products like I did this weekend! I scrounged a clear ponytail holder and one bobby pin from the bottom of my purse, but had no mousse, hair spray or even a comb. Luckily the hotel had both a hair dryer and comb. It was not my best hair day, but that leads to number seven….
7. Remember to laugh and be silly together! No talking about bills, kids, stress or problems in the relationship. This is a time to reminisce, to enjoy, to delight. We always talk about our memories from our wedding weekend on our anniversary, but we also talk about mishaps and calamities that we can laugh at in hindsight. We usually talk about where we see growth in our relationship and how God has answered prayers in the past year. We hold hands, we kiss at dinner, we tell each other how happy we are to be “us”.