By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
Celebrating another year shared with the one your soul loves is so important! Celebration is holy work. It breaks up the mundane and reminds us of the love we have been gifted. We are so quick to forget that God has put you together and that he is writing a beautiful story with your shared lives.
Isaiah 46:9 tells us, "Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me." Remembering all God has done in your marriage helps us stay thankful for our partners. Remembering together is an act of obedience.
A part of this celebration is thoughtful gestures of love towards our partners. Considering our spouses' top love languages can help us design gifts that truly speak to their hearts. If words of affirmation are at the top of their list, a card sharing what they mean to you may be the best way to love your spouse. Time together could be all your partner really desires. An act of service may lift the weight of worry off your love's shoulders. Thinking about what speaks best to them is a great way to create meaningful experiences for your marriage.
Here are some fun ideas on how to show love to your partner for your anniversary:
1. Create a Wooden Copy of Your Marriage License
Wood is the customary gift for your fifth anniversary. A special way to celebrate this year or any anniversary is by engraving a special document or note on wood for your spouse. On our 5th anniversary, my husband had our marriage license engraved onto wood. It now proudly hangs on the wall in the living room of our home. Etsy is full of vendors that will engrave documents, love notes, initials, and more onto a wood background.
2. Put Together a Curated Photo Book
We all have so many photos filling up the cloud! Display some of those sweet memories for you and your love to enjoy looking through together with a photo book. Each year I take all the hundreds of photos from my Google photos feed and pick out my favorites to make an annual family book with. Our anniversary is at the end of December, so making a book that follows the calendar year for our anniversary works well for us. Everyone in our family loves taking out these books in order to take an analog stroll down memory lane. Remembering all we've shared over the years helps to strengthen the bonds we share in our marriages.
3. Procure Some Handmade Art
If you are an artist, then taking time to use your creativity to express your love for your spouse is one of the best gifts you can give! Even if this isn't one of your top gifts, finding an artist that can capture your love on your behalf is still an amazing gesture of love. There is one thing I would grab from our house if it caught on fire (aside from all the living things), and it is a piece of art my husband had commissioned to be made for our ninth wedding anniversary. A talented friend completed the hand-drawn picture. It captures us snuggled together, embracing our third child and my only daughter. It's perfect. Find, create, or commission art to show your spouse that you see them. You'll have them swooning!
4. Shop for Local Artifacts
The place you live matters so much to your story. Your city and community are the backdrop for the life you are sharing together. Seek out locally made items, art, or artifacts that remind your spouse of the home you have made. Visiting your Famer's Market can be a great way to snag something that is locally sourced, or craft fairs often highlight the work of local artisans.
5. Buy Your Spouse's Favorite Things
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/PavelVinnik
Show your spouse that you know them well by getting them a gift bag filled with their favorite things! This could include their favorite sweet treats, smells, small indulgences (like coffee, tea, or chocolate), brands, or whatever makes them smile. A gift gathered with your partner's preferences in mind is sure to please.
6. Share Affirmation from Loved Ones
Get your friends and family involved in the celebrations! One year my husband had my parents and brother put on a "play" that reenacted our wedding day for our anniversary. This was so memorable and pretty entertaining. For our tenth anniversary, we were in the thick of raising three very young kids, so our ability to go out was limited. My husband created a podcast that interviewed some of our best friends and family members. They shared words of encouragement for us. Of course, I cried lots of happy tears! Get creative and have your village be a part of showing your spouse how much they matter to you.
7. Contribute to a Cause You Both Are Passionate About
If gifts are not your thing as a couple, then find something to pour back into on behalf of your marriage. What is your passion? Find an organization or group that needs your support and donate goods or funds towards the cause. Meaningful generosity is a beautiful way to grow the influence and impact your marriage has in your community.
8. Take Time to Plan Time Together
If quality time is one of your spouse's top love languages, the best gift you could come up with is a planned outing together. Depending on your stage of life, this could be as simple as an after bedtime date night at home and as elaborate as a getaway for a few days for just the two of you. Taking time to create an atmosphere that fosters a connection between you and your spouse is one of the best gifts you can give.
9. Create Wall Art with Important Dates for Your Family
Capture your family's milestones through art. Etsy has many vendors that will help you design something for your home that you will all treasure! Decide which dates define your family's story and use them to create a piece that is meaningful for your marriage. My husband gifted me a wall hanging like this years ago, and it's something I love to look at in our kitchen just to remember those life-changing dates listed on it. Soon we will need to update ours and add the birthdate and adoption date for our soon-to-be-son, and we can't wait!
10. Preserve Family Memories or Heirlooms
If you have antiques, documents, jewelry, clothing, art, or other items that have significance for your family's history, these are great items to showcase and gift for an anniversary. Have those family jewels set into a ring, get important documents framed, create space in your home for a long-loved piece of antique furniture, or reuse pieces of old garments in a new way. These are all tender ways to bring the past into your present.
11. Share a Relaxing Experience with Your Spouse
Try something new together this year! Unwind with a couples massage, try a float pod, get pedicures together (yes, men can get these too!), or enjoy a relaxing meal at a new restaurant. Choose a way for you to be able to recharge as a couple. Anniversaries are a great way to reset, assess, and rest. Give yourselves space to process what the year has brought your way, celebrate the gifts you've been given, and recharge, so you are ready for what comes next.
Whatever experience you choose to share, remember celebrating your union matters. Cultivating a strong and lasting marriage takes so much work. Our anniversaries are an invitation to celebrate that effort and thank God for his faithfulness in your lives.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/fotostorm
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. She has most recently published a devotional, Comfort: A 30 Day Devotional Exploring God's Heart of Love for Mommas. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.