1. We were married in March 1991 and ever since our honeymoon in Maui we plan a getaway that happens near our anniversary each year. Sometimes it is just a trip to the Oregon coast, and sometimes it is more extensive, such as a cruise, a few days in Mexico, etc. No matter what it entails, we make it a point to take time out to celebrate our relationship and all that God has done in our lives! We find it refreshing and a real marriage builder. Again, as you said in your article, it's a time to create memories that only the two of us share!
2. Many years ago (while we still had little ones at home) I not only arranged a vacation but also arranged (secretly) for her time off from work and someone to watch the kids. The day before we left I told her that she didn't need to go to work the next few days and she should pack her bags and only let her know in general what to pack. It was really fun to get in the car the next day and drive off with her still not knowing where we were going. We had a wonderful time in Victoria, British Columbia.
Once she sent me flowers at work with a message to not go home after work but to go to room number 245 at a local hotel. WOW, that was fun.
We recently renewed our vows and I planned the second honeymoon. I e-mailed her clues about where we were going every day for the 30 days before we left. Close to the end of the 30 days and with the help of Google, she figured out we were going to Costa Rica.
Last winter I planned a trip for her birthday. We both love to cross-country ski but this year we had no snow. I only told her we'd be taking an extended weekend for her birthday. The day before we left I let her know to pack for skiing. Six hours of driving, and she didn't know where we were going until we pulled in to a wonderful mountain bed and breakfast in British Columbia. We had a great time.
Last summer I arranged to have my brother's cabin (which is in the middle of nowhere mountains in northeast Washington). I planned a weekend of absolutely nothing. I just packed food, and told her the day before we were taking off for the weekend. I also told her to bring some books if she wanted to. (She's a big reader.) We got to the cabin Friday night, and I told her nothing was planned to do, no problem. I left early on Saturday morning and spent most of the day on a long bike ride. She eventually got up and read in absolute peace and quiet.
This summer I'm going to bike the STP (Seattle to Portland). She let me know we wouldn't be staying with family. I reminded her I really want to go to an old friend's church on Sunday. So she got online, found out there are multiple services and told me we can make the noon service. Well, okay, something is up, and I'm looking forward to it.
3. Our special getaway last year was a short-term mission trip to Russia, just the two of us. We had gone one year with a group, and Mike had gone one year without me (our daughter's baby was due any time); but last year was very special with just the two of us. After our mission business was done we had the most beautiful sightseeing trip in St. Petersburg with the most wonderful Christian tour guide! We are planning another mission trip for next year and it will probably be the two us again.
4. We love the outdoors. Our end of July honeymoon began at a condo in Palm Springs, Calif., but the heat was so oppressive that we decided to spend the other week of our honeymoon tent-camping and traveling back to Michigan. We camped in the desert with some wild donkeys in Nevada; stopped in Moab, Utah, to do some off-roading as well as Ouray, Colo. We had SO much fun and many crazy adventures that are now requested stories in our new-marrieds class at church.
To freshen up our marriage and just plain have some fun, we love to go dune-running in the summer or drift-running in the winter!! It reminds us of what we both love and where we learned to love each other.
The other really fun aspect is that it is the real you in each adventure. Hairdos and makeup generally get in the way or get really "undone." We enjoy just being real with each other. Granted, sometimes it is a half-hour or so into our adventure before the "junk" in our relationship is resolved so we can get back to enjoying each other … that happens often. But our adventure is so much sweeter after the "junk" mountain is scaled!!
5. I am writing to share about my husband's and my anniversary tradition. It started on our honeymoon, which was a seven-day Caribbean cruise, and has continued through our now fifth anniversary. We have taken our parents, sibling, and kids. We start planning as soon as we get back from one and look forward to it all year. Our house is filled with pictures of each trip to remind us of our love for each other and our family.
I am in agreement that a special occasion should transpire for anniversary celebrations. It's too big an accomplishment to go uncelebrated.
6. Yes, my wife and I have done many things together over our 34 years of marriage.
I have written a little book to help some of my friends, who are not romantics, romance their wives. It was a fun project and I have about 75 ideas that I shared with them from my personal experiences with my wife. It was originally written for one of my dearest friends that just doesn't think that way at all. Included in that little publication is my story below.
Our couples Bible study group, who have been meeting together for 30 years, have a special event we do each Valentine's Day or the weekend nearest to it. We alternate between the men and women planning the event every year.
One time, the guys decided on a one-day trip and had it all planned about two months in advance. We got our wives excused from work (those that worked), woke them up a 5 a.m. Of course, they all said, "Why do I need to get up now?" And, the husbands said, "Trust me!" That is a key phrase we all have acknowledged as a password that we have something special planned: Just "trust me" and come along.
We took them to the airport, flew to a San Francisco bay area airport, picked up a van and drove to Napa. Got on the Napa Valley wine train and enjoyed a special three-hour trip with wine, hors d'oeuvres, and then a wonderful lunch viewing the countryside of the Napa Valley.
Afterward, we drove down to Berkeley and went shopping in an outdoor mall for a few hours, then went to Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto for dinner, got back to the airport, flew down to Burbank and we got home about 10 p.m. It was a long and wonderfully special day with seven fun-loving couples.
This was probably our greatest "trust me" adventure as our ladies have continually talked about that special day for years.
7. My wife and I waited eleven years to have kids, and we were blessed with twin boys in 1991. Anniversaries came and went after the boys were born, but in 2005, I decided to surprise Theresa with a trip for our twenty-fifth anniversary.
I secretly planned a getaway to Savannah, Ga., at a Christian-owned bed and breakfast. I wanted to spend one night on the road before continuing on to Savannah, and wanted to impress her with a nice motel. After hours of Internet searching, I decided to book one night at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island (just outside of Jacksonville, Fla.). I arranged for dinner for two in our room, a private fire on the grounds overlooking the ocean, and had flowers and a photo from our wedding day waiting for us when we returned to our room.
It turned out that it was a fantastic and romantic time together. The staff and accommodations were second to none, and the food was terrific. During our breakfast the next morning, my wife said that if we were to go home that morning that the trip would have been worth it. Theresa made me feel so good with this incredible affirmation for the effort that I had put in by planning this special celebration!
Since then, it has become our annual tradition (although expensive, I look at it as an investment in our relationship). We now go for two nights and are eagerly anticipating our next anniversary in January 2008, when we will celebrate 28 years together.
Now that we have done this together, I cannot imagine not having this special time together! I can truly say that our marriage is stronger today because of these weekend getaways.
8. It's incredible how weekends together work. When the kids are young it is so hard to do; by the time the weekend rolls around you are so tired you don't want to go anyplace, and you have to find someone to watch the kids while you are gone. That's the hard part, making the extra effort to take the time away. Our short sightedness keeps us from seeing the long term affects. Once a couple can see the results they see the effort is more then worth it.
Also the concept of common shared experiences is so powerful, especially a personal experience just between two people. A very strong part of the bond between my wife and me is that as kids we both arrived in Alaska the same month in the same year, and both grew up in remote, although different, areas of Alaska. In 1999 we moved out of Alaska on our own, 5000 miles away to North Carolina. We drive for two weeks to an area of the country we had never been to before. That move is a strong-shared memory between the two of us.
Now that our kids are of college age we have focused our combined attention on a mission here in the US. My wife and I work in two different locations so we don't see each other most of the day. I have often longed for the days when husband and wife worked a business together. I know that can often tear a marriage apart, but I believe that as long as they focus on God it will draw them together instead of tear them apart.
While supporting this mission we have spent alone time together in the car traveling between North Carolina and West Virginia, where the mission is located. And a couple of nights in a nice hotel room. We both have gifts to contribute to the mission and it has built strong shared memories that has strengthened the bonds that holds us together.
I believe you don't go looking for someone else when you have strong positive memories that you share with someone.
I am quite frustrated with the attitude of the world, although not surprised. I have found that the strongest relationships are relationships where people do things together continually and consistently. But we move around so much that there is no time to build these kinds of relationships. It is rare nowadays for two people to grow up together in the same town and the same school. This culture we have in the US has become anti-relationship. People are too often forced to move which tears apart relationships to a point where people shy away from investing into relationships.
9. My husband and I plan "mystery trips" regularly. They are not necessarily overnight trips—but sometimes include simple dates to the park, golf course, or a special restaurant. Recently, I took my husband to Nashville to see his favorite hockey team. The mystery dates make even the most ordinary date seem extra special!
Also, my husband is a pastor and we make an effort to keep Friday nights as our "date night." It is widely known that it's our special time together and we do not plan activities during our date.
10. My husband, Chris, and I don't take many vacations together, but we do something that I think is romantic. We keep a notebook in the bedroom and write notes back and forth. Sometimes these notes are short and silly and other times they are long and romantic. I get a smile on my face every time I see that Chris has written a new message.