Anniversaries aren’t just for reminiscing about a past event. They are an opportunity to forge new memories together and cherish one another with expressions of true love.

As critical as I am about New Year’s resolutions and the feckless sentimentalism attached, I am not averse to using January to prepare for key anniversaries.

These key calendar events spark hope in the midst of the dull, back-to-work, post-Christmas grind.

An anniversary is a journey with an obvious destination. Marking one shouldn’t be an empty, joyless routine.

Marking an anniversary (in particular weddings) keeps the day sacred, set apart, and holy.

In other words, healthy anniversaries are not simply relationship reminders, they are relationship builders.


The New Year is an opportunity to kickstart healthy relationships. Get ahead of the day, because patience, planning and careful execution are rock-hard tools for the building process.

Of all the dos and don’ts, “don’t forget” is not the only main ingredient in the anniversary recipe.

Anniversary Don’ts:

  1. Keep OTT plans out of the equation. Don’t be OCD about presentation, location or level of appreciation.
  2. Beat appearing indifferent. Avoid anything cheap, easy or sleazy. Gift vouchers are fine for extended family, not those closest to you. These are the people you are supposed to know the best. There is no easy opt-out.
  3. Don’t PDA all over social media. Mark it, then move on. Anything more than this comes across as forced, plastic, insincere, and superficial.
  4. Don’t fly solo. Children aren’t excess baggage. The Good Book calls them a gift and likens them to arrows in your quiver (Psalm 127:3-5). Therefore, try not to exclude the kids. Include them. Invite their participation. Ask them for ideas, and action any good ones.
  5. Navigate the: “our anniversary must be better than last year” trap. Anniversaries are not competitions.

Anniversary Dos:

  1. Success is all in the delivery. Give the gift of being 100% present in mind, body, soul; gift choice and gift-giving.
  2. Dig deep. Good ideas have to be worked through. They take time to mature, and rally the necessary resources to avoid over-promising and under-delivering.
  3. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean effortless. Effort and simplicity reward each other. Recall Occam’s razor: simple theories trump complex ones. With the right mindset, complicated is just another word for challenge.
  4. Romance, but ditch the sentimentality of romanticism. Rather than aiming recklessly high, set a goal, and aim for it.
  5. Point five follows close to point four: stay sober-minded. Keep the booze to a minimum, if you include any at all.

For around 50% of marriages, a wedding anniversary date will be more about commiseration, than celebration — taking into account the highest divorce rates in history currently plaguing the West.

Putting aside important reasons for these divorce stats, such as domestic violence and spousal abuse, perhaps the high statistics recording relationship collapse is a direct result of an upside-down world turning marriage, and with it, anniversaries into an empty ritual?

These days weddings are a performance, where the wedding anniversary is left to rust on a quietly fading social media page.

Worse still, wedding anniversaries can become an emotionless date, weighed down by external and internal pressures which make what was once meaningful, seemingly meaningless.

This is far from weddings being about a man and a woman committing to each other, with a passion to live out love with faith, freedom, and family.

Hence the importance of “marking time.” Healthy anniversaries are relationship builders, not just relationship reminders.

Greg Smalley, writing for Focus on The Family, observed,

‘Celebrating an anniversary shows that our marriage is a priority in our life. It gives us a chance to pull back from the daily grind and relive a moment that changed our life forever.’

Smalley then noted the importance of remembering because ‘memories change over time… what we choose to focus on can have a huge impact on [a] marriage.’

He wrote, ‘anniversaries (relational pilgrimages), also help us create new memories and traditions.’

These five healthy anniversary dos and don’ts offer a creative response to what still should be one of the most sacred, set apart and holy days ordained for a man and a woman.


Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels.
Published On: January 14th, 20220 CommentsTags: , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.

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