Marriage: Anniversaries—The Value of Remembering
“Happy Anniversary!” We say it to encourage the couple observing the annual occurrence of their wedding date. Remembering an anniversary is a good thing. It is both bringing to mind and keeping in mind this significant event of the past. Like birthdays celebrate the start of one’s life and a memorial celebrates the completion of one’s life, anniversaries are celebrating one’s vows in marriage—the greatest human-to-human pledge a person can make in life. The Lord sees marriage as a covenant (Malachi 2). Jesus celebrated and blessed the couple at the wedding in Cana (John 2). Anniversaries are about commemorating, celebrating and recalling that great event.
June 29th is our wedding anniversary. This month, we will celebrate 41 years married. That’s hard to believe. Where has the time gone? One thing I know for sure, beyond placing my faith in Christ, the decision to marry Donalyn has affected my life more than any other human choice.
Some people go really big and treat their anniversary like the fourth of July. Others let them blow by like a tumbleweed in the desert. Personally, we work to make our day significant. Even in those years when we were busy or couldn’t afford much, we worked to remember the day it all began for us. So what’s right? Why bother? What’s the value of remembering any event?
The Bible is full of examples where people were called to remember great events:
- God promised Noah after the flood that the rainbow was given as a sign of His covenant so both God and man would remember that the world would never again be destroyed by flood (Genesis 9).
- When God met Jacob on the stairway to heaven, Jacob raised a rock of remembrance anointing it with oil and naming it “Bethel”—the place of God (Genesis 28).
- The Lord told Moses to celebrate the Passover annually to remember God’s protection of the Jews during the Exodus. He said, “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance” (Exodus 12).
- God told Joshua to pile twelve large stones to serve as a sign—a memorial – for all Israel to remember God’s power in crossing the Jordan River (Joshua 4).
- Samuel raised his Ebenezer—a rock of remembrance—so Israel wouldn’t forget God’s great help in defeating the Philistines (1 Sam. 12).
- Jesus told His disciples after the broken bread and shared wine to “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22).
We see clear precedent that remembering significant events is key in Scripture. Let’s apply it to remembering your wedding anniversary? Here are five clear values.
Celebration Shows Its Significance
To go out of your way to make the day special says to your spouse that the relationship is significant. To ignore the day, you devalue the importance of your marriage. Take time to recall all the traits that attracted you to your mate in the first place. Applaud each other for what each brings to the friendship. Write these out in a card, a poem or a song. Then, party with a purpose. Celebrate each other with good food, fun, laughter and even dance. Add some friends to help observe the special occasion. Toast to your love. Declare your marriage as a life priority!
Recollection Enhances Its History
Don’t let your marriage slip into the twilight zone. Don’t be too busy to take time to remember all the great memories you have had. Together recall your shared history. In doing so you appreciate how far you have come. Take a photo on your anniversary to keep track of your history. We review where we were in 5 year time periods (what was going 5 years ago, 10 years ago…etc.). Celebrate as you reminisce the highlights. Walk through the memories together – not forgetting, not minimizing and not losing track. No one else shares this unique love history with you.
Appreciation Declares God’s Goodness
You are wise to remember all that God has done for you in your lives and your marriage. Proverbs says that he who finds a spouse finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22). God did you a favor when He led you to your mate. What a blessing to have His hand on your home. Thank Him together in prayer. We also like to share 10 things we are grateful for in the last year.
Evaluation Keeps It Growing Deeper
When you remember, it is far easier to re-prioritize. Don’t minimize the importance of your wedding covenant. Remember your vows and commitments to value them. Ask each other the question—“how are we doing?” Marriage isn’t an easy relationship. There are always things to work on. Evaluation is healthy when you look at what changes you need to make. Don’t blame or attack. On one anniversary getaway, we each wrote out 10 questions we wanted to discuss and drew two out of the envelope to discuss each day.
Anticipation Strengthens Your Faithfulness
When you celebrate regularly and celebrate significantly, you keep your marriage in the foreground. Look to the future. I will work to make it better this year than last. I will value my spouse. I will take stock on what I want to do different. I will forsake all others intentionally and keep my vows faithfully in a world that doesn’t know how. On our 30th anniversary, though many think that that is a long time already, Donalyn and I realized that if we live to the average age of our parents, we could easily live to be 60 years married. We committed then to each other to make the second half of our marriage the best half.
Even as wedding rings are a daily reminder for yourself and a daily sign to people in your world that you are exclusive to one person, so make your anniversary a declaration of the importance of your marital vows. Appreciate anew the value of remembering when it comes to your wedding anniversary. God does.
© Dr. Dave Currie – April 2015