Photo by Amadeo Muslimović on Unsplash
I heard a couple who celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary say, “Wedding anniversaries are worth celebrating!” They realize that many marriages are breaking and that keeping it strong and solid through the years takes hard work. “So we celebrate our anniversary each year and thank God for sustaining us.”
My husband and I agree, 100%! Every year, we look forward to our wedding anniversary and think of ways to make it special. What we love to do, aside from eat and do something fun and romantic, is talk about our relationship and where we saw God work in our marriage the past year.
One special year was on our 20th anniversary where we visited an art exhibit of a colleague’s daughter in Tagaytay, and then had a special dinner in our favorite restaurant owned by a dear aunt. Before we left home, our eldest son gave us a special gift which he made. He took a jar and placed rolled up strips of paper where he wrote around 25 “getting-to-know-you” questions. He told us to use it during our anniversary dinner. So we did. You would think, after 20 years of marriage, what else is there to know about each other? To our delight, we had some fun discoveries about each other from stories tucked behind the closets of our memories, drawn out by just the right questions! Our son’s gift provided us with meaningful conversations where we listened to each other’s stories, thoughts and insights — precious ones that made us fall more in love with each other.
We aim for our celebrations to be a party of three. This is not to sound spiritual or holy, but transparent. What we’re celebrating, really, is God’s faithfulness in keeping us together, helping us overcome and navigate through the rough, narrow roads of our marital journey. And so, aside from eating, joking, and reminiscing, our date includes a few moments of thanking God together, and petitions to Him regarding our marriage.
None of us are exempted from various temptations that attack marriages. We recognize that apart from our relationship with God, we don’t have what it takes to repeatedly forgive each other from the big and small failures we commit against each other. I know. I’m a regular recipient of my husband’s forgiveness. I have many obvious and not-so-obvious flaws. I tend to be stubborn and strong-willed, and I can really be challenging to live with. Recognizing this makes me rejoice in my heart every year as I look back and remember the many times my husband chooses to forgive my shortcomings, and love me unconditionally. That act of love is pure grace. Don’t we all need grace? This compels me to exercise it, too. My husband is also not perfect, and his example of grace teaches me to extend grace to him when he fails my expectations.
As my heart balloons with gratitude for the gift of marriage, I dream of seeing marriages triumph over the many obstacles and attacks hurled their way. I wish to see husbands and wives celebrate MANY wedding anniversaries, rejoicing for the love they’ve grown over the past year, and the times they were able to get up from the hard beating of a marital crisis. I know this is not easy. I grieve over news of couples whose marriages succumbed to the harsh realities of life. That’s why this requires supernatural power that is available through a personal relationship with God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.* It also requires a commitment to stay together and find ways to stay together when circumstances strongly pull husband and wife apart.
Celebrate your wedding anniversary even under a tight budget! How? Here are some ideas:
- Have a picnic, bring your wedding album and walk through the memories of that special day.
- “Borrow” a close friend’s (or relative’s) yard, patio, or veranda. Secretly plan to set up a simple but special dinner. Then “kidnap” your spouse and bring him/her to the secret venue. Have some questions ready to ask each other.
Anniversary Questions You Can Ask Each Other:
- What’s your favorite memory of us this past year?
- What are some things we can be thankful for in our marriage this year?
- What are some ways that make you feel most loved by me?
- If money is not an issue, what would you like us to do together 3 to 5 years from now?
- What did you enjoy doing this past year?
- What was challenging for you in our relationship? (Just ask and listen. No attacks and no defenses. This is meant for both of you to pray and ask God to help you both grow into.)
- What do you like to do that makes you feel most relaxed?
- What’s your dream for our family?
- What is your favorite physical feature of me?
- What one or two things did you learn about me this year that helped you in our relationship?
- If you would give yourself advice on how we can grow closer, what would it be?
- What are some things we need to trust God for in our marriage this year?
- Write a love letter to each other with the theme: 10 Things I love about you. (You can change the number.) Celebrate this with a favorite ice cream or cake.
- Prepare a special romantic dinner at home. Dress up your dining table (or dress up a small one in your bedroom!) with a nice tablecloth, a candle, or a small vase with fresh greens.
- Visit an art museum, share your thoughts and insights about the art pieces and artists
- Go bowling, swimming, or any sport both of you enjoy.
- Or, save up in advance so you can:
- Watch a play
- Have a nice buffet dinner
- Have an overnight at an inexpensive hotel
- Take a trip out of town or out of the country
With or without funds, what matters as you celebrate each year, is that you enjoy each other, take time to recall some highlights of your marriage the past year, verbalizing what you can be thankful to God for. Then conclude with a prayer, honoring God for His gift of love and gift of marriage to you.
*Contact www.familywiseasia.com or this author at [email protected] to know more about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Michelle Agustin is happily married to Eric S. Agustin since 1995. Together, they serve as faculty and mentors at the International Graduate School of Leadership (IGSL). Michelle teaches wives from all over Asia and other parts of the world through the Partners in Ministry (PIM) certificate program, a program for wives of men in ministry. She and her husband are blessed with three sons, Nathan, Timmy, and Noah.