How to Make Friends Hate You – An Anniversary Tale

Why is it that we spend so much energy falling in love only to exert so little energy staying in love? I used to write my spouse (girlfriend at the time) love poems and write her love songs and sing them to her in a crowd of people. I would open doors for her, carry her over puddles and I even put ice cream on the tip of my nose to make her laugh. Then we got married, and the romantic part of my brain just seemed to shrivel up. Oh yeah, I brought her home flowers on our anniversary and took her out to dinner, but most of the time I got them on the way home and looked for the marked down ones at Kroger’s. I also made her pick the restaurant because I was too indecisive.

I’m not sure when the rock hit me in the head and finally woke me up, but I realized how little I put into our Anniversary which symbolized one of the greatest days of my life. I stood at the altar years before and promised to give her my life, my love and to make her my number one. Then too quickly, I pushed her back to number three or four behind other commitments and things that needed to be done day in and day out. Eventually, that’s the place she was in my life on more than just our Anniversary, and I didn’t even recognize it.  My wife has always been appreciative of the things I’ve done for her, and I’ve never forgotten even one of our Anniversaries or other big days for that matter. However, I realized somewhere around the 10th year of our marriage, how little I had been giving her and how much I had been taking.

Since that time, I have corrected my error and have spent much more time, days if not weeks, before our Anniversary planning something special; for her and with her hopes and dreams and feelings in mind. I try to look for ways to say that not only have I been thinking about you, but you are so very special to my every day.

One Anniversary, after seeing the error of my ways, I surprised her with taking her to a local church, pastored by a friend of ours, and we renewed our vows. Except this time, I was more aware of what it meant to say that “I will love you and honor you in good times and bad, for richer and poorer, in times when our children will be faced with surgery and illness, and through the death of those we care for.” Then we drove to the college where we first met at and we spent time remembered our first date, our first kiss, and where I proposed to her. From there we went out to eat and afterwards I took her to a hotel where there were flowers and cheesecake and no distractions from our children or other commitments. There I told her again how much I loved her and how much I enjoyed every day with her. The night was one of many gifts but most of all, I once again had given her my time and energy like I used to do when we first dated.

I have finally come to realize the greatest present we can give is our presence in the PRESENT! It’s a hard Anniversary to top, but you can bet I’ll keep trying. However, the biggest downfall from this whole evening was that, due to my wife telling all of her friends about it, their husbands hated me for months for this one. Oh well, I can live with that.


Written by: Greg Schutte

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