No More Boring Anniversaries

Posted by on May 25, 2010 | No Comments

Our Anniversary Trip to Mount St. Helens

 A version of this article appeared in the November 2008 edition of Focus on the Family Magazine.

After a decade of marriage, our anniversary celebration had fallen into a rut. Laurie and I had grown to love each other deeply, but the annual commemoration of our wedding had become a predictable routine: a nice dinner out accompanied by an exchange of cards and gifts. We didn’t cherish the yearly celebration of the ceremony the way we cherished the relationship itself. However, a suggestion from friends has turned our anniversary into one of the highlights of our year.“The Anniversary Getaway” consists of a two or more day trip with a few simple rules:
  • The spouse in charge makes all arrangements. Responsibility for the trip rotates each year.
  • The guest is told only when we’re leaving, what to pack, and how long we’ll be gone.
  • The destination is a secret until we’re enroute.
  • The planner may use all manner of deception to make sure the details of the trip are a surprise.

When I’m in charge, I usually include a visit to a few wineries because Laurie enjoys wine tasting. I’m also the designated driver because the getaway is about pampering her.  

When Laurie is the hostess she plans things that interest me. On a trip to Victoria, Canada, we bypassed the ferries that connect Seattle to Victoria. To my surprise, we boarded a floatplane. My wife knows how to keep a former Air Force officer happy.

These trips are a chance to spend special time together and explore places that we might not normally see. Best of all, it makes remembering our anniversary and reflecting on our marriage a special event that’s far from routine.

Not every couple has the resources to make an extended trip. But a little creativity can give everyone the benefits of this tradition:

  • If you can’t afford an overnight trip, try to at least make it an all day affair. It could be a hike with a picnic or a day exploring local sights. On our first anniversary, long before we were introduced to the getaway idea, we were living on one modest income. I was a college senior—with the accompanying tuition bills. We spent the day exploring downtown Seattle and finished up with dinner at a reasonably priced restaurant. That first celebration was one of our most memorable, and cheapest.
  • Don’t think that you have to go far for your destination. Find a local place to explore together.
  • Trade babysitting services with another couple in the same situation so you can spend time alone on your getaway.
  • Let your kids help with the planning and arrangements—if they promise to keep the secret. You’ll demonstrate the value you place on marriage and let them participate in the fun.

The couple that originally gave us the idea mentioned that they have a special scrap book for their anniversary getaways. We’re in the process of constructing one to help remind us of adventures from past years.  

For us, the anniversary getaway has turned what had become a routine event into a cherished annual celebration. It gives us time to reconnect with each other, talk of our dreams, and remember how much we treasure our marriage and each other.


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