Forgotten Anniversary A lot of marriages take place in the summer. You haven't forgotten your anniversary, right? DR. KAREN SHERMAN
My husband forgot our anniversary and it led to a big fight. What do I have to do to have a happy anniversary?
You’ve certainly raised a concern that lots of readers are going to relate to! The most likely reason your husband forgot your anniversary is because he came from a home where special occasions were not made to be so important. As a matter of fact, most of the problems couples have are because they were raised in two different families and come into their partnership with different expectations.
But here’s where it gets complicated; women tend to think if a man forgets something special like an anniversary, it means he doesn’t care. Of course, if that’s your belief, you’re going to feel hurt and hurt leads to anger. However, from his point of view he didn’t see it as anything more than forgetting a date and was probably insulted that you questioned his feelings for you. Additionally, it’s been my experience that when a woman gets upset emotionally, most men become uncomfortable and will accuse her of over-reacting.
Like milk in the hot sun your happy anniversary quickly sours into a hostile argument. Definitely not how you had hoped or expected your evening would go, so here are some tips you can use in the future for both of you:
Since research has shown that men’s brains do not pick up hints, let him know directly about a week or two before your anniversary, that your anniversary is, in fact, coming up. You can continue to be cute by sending an e-mail with a countdown.
If there’s a particular gift you want, let him know that as well.
If you have trouble remembering a special occasion—birthdays, anniversaries, etc.—and you know it’s important to your spouse, use technology to help you out. Create reminders in your BlackBerry, e-mail accounts, calendars, etc.
Should you forget and she gets upset, don’t dismiss her feelings as silly or over-reactive. Rather, let her know that you understand she’s upset and that you’ll try to be more aware in the future—its also not a bad idea to follow the slip-up with flowers or a card the next day.
Patching It Up:
When you try to discuss this situation with him, start out by NOT attacking him, but rather by some validating statement that acknowledges you know he cares. Then proceed to explain how the event is meaningful for you and how you’d like him to try and remember.
If he does do things in the future to change, remember to appreciate his efforts—even the small ones.
All marriages go through bumps. The trick is in knowing how to deal with them when they arise. By learning to understand this situation, you can share many happy anniversaries to come!
Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is co-author of Marriage Magic! Find It! Make It Last.