After a decade of marriage, our anniversary celebrations had fallen into a rut. Laurie and I loved each other deeply, but the annual commemoration of our wedding became a predictable routine: a nice dinner out accompanied by an exchange of cards and gifts.

We didn’t cherish the yearly celebration the way we cherished the relationship itself.

A suggestion from friends, however, turned our anniversary into one of the highlights of each year. We now celebrate our marriage with an "anniversary getaway" – a two-day or longer trip with a few simple rules:

  • The spouse in charge makes all arrangements. Responsibility for the trip rotates from year to 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 en route.
  • 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 visits to a few vineyards because I know Laurie enjoys them. I’m also always the driver because the getaway is about pampering her.

When Laurie is the hostess, she plans things that interest me. On a trip to Victoria, BC, 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.

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, at least try to make it an all-day affair. It could be a hike with a picnic or a day at the beach.
  • Don’t think you have to go far. Find a local place to explore together.

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

Dennis Brooke and his wife, Laurie, have been married for over 25 years.

© 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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