Happy Anniversary to us!
Joe and I are celebrating 22 years of marriage!! As the years go by and the anniversaries keep coming, sometimes it feels like we can get in a rut when we ask each other, so what do you want to do for your anniversary? We go through that list in our head where we think, yeah, we’ve done that before.
For many many years our budget and the presence of nursing babies prohibited us from going away by ourselves, but that never stopped us from getting creative and finding ways to have fun together and celebrate our marriage! Even if it’s been a rough year, make it a priority to celebrate where you are and what you do have!
Note: Many of our date ideas include getting outside! We were married in June which means our anniversary is a usually great time to enjoy the outdoors in Illinois. I’d need even more creativity in the winter months when I only feel like hibernating. So three cheers for June anniversaries 🙂
In honor of our 22nd anniversary, here are 22 fun and frugal ideas to celebrate your marriage on your anniversary or any day of the year!
1. Re-create your first date.
Joe and I love to go back to some of the places we frequented during our courtship. Go to the same or similar restaurant, or see the first movie that you saw together! Whatever it is that will help you remember those first feelings you had for each other.
2. Exchange love letters… new or old!
If you have old cards or love letters (or emails? ) you wrote, bring them out and re-read them! Joe and I love to read- and laugh- at all the stuff we wrote to each other. Or, spend time and write a new love letter to your spouse and take turns reading them to each other.
3. Get creative in the kitchen.
If you can’t decide what restaurant to go to, stay in! Find a recipe that you can make together and have fun in the kitchen. In the summer Joe and I especially love eating on our front porch or back patio while we enjoy a home cooked meal together.
4. Story time with the kids.
Do your kids know your love story? Joe and I are always surprised how much our kids love hearing all the details of our courtship and wedding. Sit down as a family and take turns telling your kids how and why you first fell in love with your spouse. Include the fun and not-so-fun times so your kids know that no love story is perfect. Tell them the ways that God has been faithful in your marriage. Our kids can learn so much from our stories, including our mistakes.
5. Bike ride
This is one of our favorites! We’re fortunate to live right by a scenic bike trail so we love to jump on our bikes and take a 13 mile trip to a neighboring town. We stop for a lunch and break, then had back. Fresh air, a little exercise, and light conversation is always a win for us.
6. A walk down memory lane.
Talk about what you felt when you first met and fell in love. Pull out those scrapbooks. Or go back and look at your wedding album or video and share your memories from that day. The longer you have been married, the more memories you have, but the easier it is to start forgetting those details, right?! Remind each other of those key moments that shaped where you are today. We like to jump in the car and drive by those places with all the memories.
7. Spa Day
Even in you don’t visit a fancy spa, you can make your own at home. Wash each other’s feet, give back rubs, run a hot scented bath, and whatever pampering you both like.
8. Comedy Club
Nothing is more fun than laughing together . It’s getting harder to find clean comics but they are out there! (We’ve also found some of our favorite stand-up comics on Youtube and Netflix. Jim Gaffigan is one we love to watch again and again!)
9. Reverse sleepover
This was our favorite when we had kids and we wanted to be alone but didn’t really want to go anywhere. We are super blessed to have grandparents nearby who can take our kids for a night or two. Something so peaceful about being at home alone without all those extra voices. (We’re a homeschooling family so just being home together by ourselves really is a treat!)
10. His/Hers movies
Joe is more of a movie buff than I am. Maybe instead of agreeing on one movie, each pick one “guy movie” and one “chic flic.” Learn to appreciate each other’s tastes in movies! Pop the popcorn and cuddle up on the couch!
11. YouTube concert
Joe and I love to go on YouTube and find live concerts of our favorite artists and songs. Espeically our favorite love songs! There are so many available now that we’ve spent hours watching some epic concerts that we never had a chance to go to. Thanks, YouTube!
12. Pretend Prom
Take some time to curate a playlist of your favorite love songs, past and present! Don’t forget your wedding dance. Dim the lights and have your own dance party with no one watching!
13. Read a romantic novel together.
Joe and I have loved sharing many novels together. I like to do the reading aloud and he likes to listen. One of our favorites was Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith which chronicles the first year of marriage of a young couple. We read this over a course of a couple weeks and loved re-living those ups and downs of early love.
14. Try something new in the bedroom 😉
If you want to spice things up in the bedroom but you’re not really sure how, check out the Intimately Us App. It’s a clean, Christian-friendly app that helps you improve your sexual and emotional connection. Or pick up a book like 31 Days to Great Sex that has super practical tips to help you learn more about each other. Laugh, blush, and grow your marriage!
15. Learn together.
Take a class or seminar for something that interests you both. Visit the museum or zoo or exhibit and share the new things you find interesting!
16. Board game tournament
Pick a favorite game that can be played for several rounds and then set some fun stakes for winning and losing! We like Scrabble, card games, MasterMind, or will even play Uno with crazy rules. Decide how competitive you can be and still have fun together 🙂
17. Arts & Crafts
Try a new hobby or craft together, whether you’re good at it or not. When Joe and I tried one of those pottery painting places, we quickly realized that I was not the best painter. But it was still a fun experience together and we now have a oddly-painted mug to show for it. Making something beautiful- or almost beautiful- together is a great bonding activity.
Research local or not-quite-local parks and trails that you haven’t seen before. Bring along a nature guide or nature apps to learn about the wildlife and plant life that you encounter in God’s creation! And don’t forget the picnic lunch.
19. Dream-shop together.
Although Joe doesn’t care for shopping much, we do enjoy some pretend shopping once in a while. Walk through model homes that are out of your price range. Test drive cars you would never buy. Talk about your dreams and “what-ifs”!
With the Internet around, technology makes it easy to find adventure on a local scavenger hunt. Geoaching can be easy or challenging and you might find yourself with a new hobby!
21. Pick a new place for dinner. Or, the same old place 🙂
Try to find a restaurant that you’ve never been to. But, this might be difficult to narrow this decision down if you’re anything like us! As much as we like something new, we also love that we have “our place” that has many memories attached to it! Just a pick a place and go for it!
22. Have some really great deep conversations.
Great conversations with your spouse can’t always be planned, but the environment can be cultivated. It also helps to have some good tools at your disposal. Pick up a book like this or this and agree to open it up and start talking! If these conversations are difficult for you, make a commitment to re-open lines of communication and surrender your marriage to Christ over the next year. Look into nearby churches to see what type of marriage ministries are available. (Our very favorite is Re|Engage.) One of the best gifts you can give to each other on your anniversary is a renewed commitment to work on your marriage!
How do you like to celebrate your marriage?
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old. Ps. 77:11