In November my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary.  November also plays host to both our birthdays, so it’s a great season of yummy meals, glasses of wine, and my personal favorite, cake.  And while I’d normally also delight in a whole month of gift giving, I only wanted one thing this year:  a letter.

My husband and I are not usually very good at external romantic gestures.  We don’t have a box of love notes we’ve exchanged; there is no scrapbook with mementos from our year and a half of dating; and we’re only finally getting to printing and hanging our wedding photos!  It just isn’t our love language.  But as we have been talking and planning about our family’s future, I am reminded that one day (God willing in a very long time), Josh will no longer be here.  I won’t be able to hear him tell me how much he loves and treasures me; I won’t be able to see his eyes light up when we are together; I won’t be able to hold his hand.  And I won’t have much more than my own memory to remind me.

So I asked him to write me a letter.  Then I would have a tiny treasure, something in his handwriting more meaningful than a grocery list or a reminder to get an oil change.  Something to read and re-read through our life together to remember and to cherish.

He will admit that it was difficult for him to write!  What do you say that doesn’t sound cheesy or trite?  How do you put down on a page or two all the things you want your spouse to know? 

But it is a beautiful letter.  It made me smile and it made me cry and it gave me new ways to appreciate my husband.  It also helped me to see in a very clear way the things that matter most to him, the things that nourish his soul, soothe his wounds, and bring him peace.  It was so much more than what I asked for or could have hoped for.  I hope I return to the letter often over the course of our marriage and remember in the difficult moments what a gift it is to each of us.

We have been talking about how we can continue to develop our romance, especially as we begin this second year of our marriage (which many couples tell us is actually the most difficult) and the adventure of parenting together. 

Maybe we will make it an annual tradition and all our anniversaries will be “paper anniversaries”.  Perhaps we will keep all those letters in one place, like a box or a journal (though that would be a real stretch for me, but let’s dream big!) so that we can see how our love grows and deepens over the years.  And maybe we will make it a habit to pull them out read them to each other when the road is a bit bumpy and we need reminded of the power of love and forgiveness, sacrifice and gratitude.  

How did you celebrate your first anniversary?

Copyright 2014 Megan Swaim