As a marriage life coach who is more than aware of the fact that the current divorce rate for first-time marriages continues to hover around the 50 percent mark (with second marriages being 60 percent and third 73 percent), I'll be the first one to say that I don't care if you've been married for one year or 50, every time your anniversary rolls around, it's a BIG TIME MILESTONE — one that needs to be celebrated to its absolute fullest.
For this very reason, I thought it would be a good idea to share some ways that you and yours can honor, bless and rejoice in the fact that you chose to make your marriage work for another 365 days. Whether you decide to implement all 12 of these or just a few, I hope each one will remind you that monogamous love is nothing to casually shrug about. Sis, it's a really, REALLY big deal and for making yours last, I personally salute you. Now let's get to these ideas.
1. Rent a Dream Vacation House
Whether you live in a house, apartment, condo or townhome, most of us have an idea of a dream house that we wish we could at least spend a couple of nights in. Thanks to websites like Vrbo and home to go, you can find beach homes, cabins or even huge houses that are either close to your own house or in another city; ones that can make you feel like a millionaire — even if it's only for a few days or so.
2. Redo a Wedding Day Photo
There's a wife I know who has a really cute anniversary tradition. Every year, she and her husband put on their original wedding attire and take a professional photo shoot in a different location. Aside from the fact that it's dope as hell that she's able to still fit into her dress after over 15 years and a few kids, what I really like about this idea is it shows how time transitions people while the commitment remains intact.
Let me tell it, not enough people take formal pictures anymore. So, whether you decide to replicate your wedding day or just take some couple shots in general, consider getting a photographer to take a picture that you can blow up, frame and post up in your home. Listen, I totally believe that couples who remain committed are their own "work of art".
3. “Update” Your Wedding Vows
When it comes to a really beautiful sentiment, I know a few married folks who have their original wedding vows framed, matted and hung somewhere in their house. Along these same lines, whenever I'm dealing with a couple who feels like they are taking each other for granted, I will oftentimes encourage them to each write a list of things that they adore about each other and then put the lists someplace where they can both see them (like their bedroom mirror or refrigerator) on a consistent basis. In the spirit of both of these points, a sweet — and in many ways, purposeful — thing that you and your spouse can do is update your marriage vows.
What I mean by that is, I'm pretty sure that on your wedding day, you saw love, marriage and the keys to commitment quite differently than the way you do now that you're living life out on a daily basis. By revisiting your vows and then adding on your thoughts, insights and declarations, it can remind both you and yours of where you started and also how far the both of you have come.
4. Have a Chef Make Your Wedding Reception Meal
If there's one thing that the majority of married couples who I've talked to over the years have told me was a total blur about their wedding day, it was their wedding reception. Between the excitement of it all, trying to spend at least a little bit of time with everyone and hopefully getting at least a couple of dances in, even if their reception went well into the night, it ended up feeling like merely a few minutes. On top of that, because sitting down didn't get to happen a lot, many didn't get to enjoy their reception meal either.
One way to "correct that mistake" is to hire a chef to come and make the food that was on your reception menu all over again. Or, if the food that you did taste happened to suck or you both low-key wish that you had served something entirely different, a chef can do that for you too. Hire A Chef is one website that can point you into the right direction as far as personal chefs go.
5. Get a Bakery to Replicate a Mini Wedding Cake
I'm pretty sure you've heard of the anniversary tradition that consists of freezing your wedding cake and then having a slice of it on your anniversary. While I dig it, it's important to put on record that you really shouldn't do this for more than your newlywed (the first two) years; even then, the second year probably won't taste all that hot because of the potential for freezer burn.
Hopefully, your marriage is going to last (or already has lasted) for longer than a couple of years. So, if you want to continue having a slice of wedding-themed cake for years to come, hit up a local bakery (one that specializes in wedding cakes), send them a picture of your wedding cake along with its flavor and have them make you a smaller version. That way, it will always be fresh, and you can keep the tradition going.
6. Mark Your Marriage Milestones
Again, if marriage is nothing else, it's a long list of milestones.
If you're someone who likes to go the DIY route when it comes to anniversary presents, why not make something that consists of your marriage milestones? You know, things like when you met, your first date, your first kiss, your first trip together, the first time you both said, "I love you", the day you got engaged, etc. It can be a collage of pictures, hearts that have the dates underneath — anything that you can frame put up in your living room or bedroom.
Something that I really like about this particular idea is it's super affordable, can be fun to make and, it's a great way for couples to remember all of the good times through the years (bonus: it'll be hard for your husband to forget dates when they're posted up somewhere!).
7. Buy Each Other a “to the Nines” Outfit
While I know that things like jewelry is pretty common when it comes to the higher end of anniversary-related gift giving, something that I think couples should do more often instead is to get each other a full outfit (head to toe), so that they can dress up and out — all out. I think I've shared before that there's a married couple that I know who haven't been on a formal date in almost 10 years of their almost 40-year marriage (what in the world?!). Shopping for your boo is not only a lot of fun, it can also get you excited about planning the kind of date that you probably went on when you were first going out. First, find the attire and then plan the kind of place that is fitting for it. It's a great way to up the ante as far as romance in your relationship goes.
8. Watch a Movie from the Year You Were Married
What if you and yours are the kind of people who like to approach anniversaries from more of a low-key and casual standpoint? Understood. If that's the case, how about ordering in and watching a couple of movies from the year that the two of you got married? The cool thing about this particular idea is it can cultivate a kind of nostalgia that could get the two of you talking about all kinds of stuff from what the music and fashion was like at that time to the types of movie dates you went on back in the day. Shoot, every time I see an episode of Martin or listen to Brian McKnight's debut LP, my freshman year of college immediately comes to mind. Amazing how pop culture will do that to you.
9. Slow Drag to Your Wedding Reception Playlist
Outside from the y'all's first dance and maybe the dance that each of you had with your parents, do you even remember what the DJ played at your wedding reception? Hopefully, you've still got a copy of the playlist, a CD or something that will help to jog your memory. If you do, play it and do a little slow dancing together. If you don't, create a playlist of love songs from the years that you dated thru the day you got married. The only thing that will make it better is if you do the dancing…naked.
10. Take a Sex Workshop Online
Speaking of nudity, I've shared many times before on this platform that an underrated reason for why couples go through troubling times in their marriage is because they are bored — including sexually bored (check out "7 Signs You're In A 'Sex Rut' & How To Get Out Of It"). Something that could prevent this from happening in your own relationship is to attend a sex workshop online. As far as finding one, one approach is to you to your favorite search engine and put "online sex workshops" in the search field. Another angle is to skim the article "12+ Black Sex Educators Who Are Blazing Sex-Positive Trails" and ask some of those professionals if they know any Black-community-specific workshops that you can sign up for. After all, knowledge is power…right?
11. Upcycle Your Wedding Night
A word that I personally like a lot is "upcycle". It basically means that you are improving upon the original. Well, considering that reportedly 52 percent of couples don't even have sex on their wedding night and the word "consummate" literally means to complete something, I also think wedding anniversaries can also be about literally upcycling your wedding night.
Maybe wear the lingerie that you wore that night (if you still have it) yet bring in some sex condiments (check out "12 'Sex Condiments' That Can Make Coitus Even More...Delicious"), experiment with some new sex positions ("These Intimate Sex Positions Will Up The Ante On Your Orgasms"), give your man a sexy massage ("Blow Your Man's Mind By Giving Him This Tantalizing Massage"), take oral sex up a few notches ("12 Things You Should Do During Oral Sex (That You Probably Aren't)" and/or knock some things off of your sex bucket list ("This Is How To Create The Best Kind Of 'Sex Bucket List'"). There are lots of studies to support that married sex continues to be the best kind of sex. Remind your boo and yourself of how far the both of you have come since your wedding night went down.
12. Have a “Sex Brunch” the Following Day
After a night of amazing sex (because sex on your wedding anniversary should be about celebrating each other on a whole 'nother level), make it a priority to sleep in and then to have, what I call, a sex brunch — foods that fall into the aphrodisiac cuisine list. Some of those include chocolate (chocolate chip pancakes); strawberries (strawberry breakfast cake); figs (honey and fig breakfast bowls); cinnamon (cinnamon rolls); sweet potato (sweet potato hash); apples (pan-seared sausage and apples); avocados (blueberry and avocado muffins); bananas (peanut butter and banana French toast); salmon (salmon breakfast tacos), and champagne (mimosas). At the very least, it'll be a delicious way to culminate your anniversary. Or, it could give you the fuel that you need to do a little bit of more, umm, upcycling. Either way, congrats!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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