Do You Celebrate the Founding of Your Family?


Marriage serves two primary purposes. It is for both “the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring” [CCC 1601]. Yet, when we celebrate our wedding (marriage) anniversaries, we normally emphasize one of those things more than the other by turning it into a night or weekend away from the kids. In our family, we plan on trying to celebrate both on anniversaries.

Our country celebrates its founding. Our Church celebrates its founding. Companies celebrate their founding. Shouldn’t it be even more appropriate and important for a family to celebrate its own founding? More than each of our own birthdays, I’d like our family to look forward to celebrating something perhaps less acknowledged and more profound: the birth of our family. After all, the first and most basic unit of society is not the individual, but the family.

We talk about how important our family is, but do we set aside a special day each year to celebrate it in a special way? The natural day for this would be one’s wedding anniversary – the founding of your family. And doing such also emphasizes that it is the Marriage which forms the solid and unbreakable foundation suitable for the creation of new human life. Suitable for building a family. And it would serve as a regular reminder for the kids of the connection between marriage, family and children.

Celebrating a wedding anniversary specifically away from the kids – in a way (and I’m so not judging anybody) – may be sending the exact opposite message…that Marriage is something separate from children and the totality of the family. That Marriage is just something between mommy and daddy and separate from the rest of the family. Yet, children (the rest of the family) are the supreme gift of married life and the marriage is the foundation for the rest of the family. So it seems that at least some of the celebration should be done all together.

Of course husband and wife need time to themselves (often) to nurture and celebrate the unique bond they share in their marriage vows. That’s actually a more fundamental and important task. But I also think it will be really neat to set aside our wedding anniversary each year – at least in part – as a family affair.

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JoAnna September 8, 2011 at 8:26 am

Agreed. We just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary with a family trip to California! All of us had a blast. :)

Shelly Gregory September 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Beautifully stated. Well thought out. “A family that prays together, stays together.” So why not, a family celebrated, together, finds more reasons to stay together. (well, you get the picture)

Catherine Nagle September 8, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Dear Matthew,

I couldn’t agree, more! My parents taught us these very same things: “A family affair to have and to hold onto forevermore!”

Thank you and God Bless!
Catherine Nagle

Good Saints September 9, 2011 at 8:39 am

This year my wife and I celebrate our 10th anniversary and while I like your post, I’ll be enjoying some time with my wife without the children for at least a couple of hours!

Mike September 9, 2011 at 4:16 pm

I sort of take the opposite view. When we celebrate our anniversary away from the kids we are remembering a time before we had them, and although the time away is fun, it is a time when we (and the kids) realize how much we have together as a family, and how important it is to our marriage.

Matthew Warner September 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Keep in mind fellas that I wasn’t saying not to spend time away from the kids and that there aren’t good things that come from that! :-) Just that I think it will be really cool to incorporate them into “part” of the celebration of it. And that aspect of it is something that I know I’ve overlooked in the past.

K Hanley September 11, 2011 at 7:39 pm

We just actually stumbled across this thinking recently when we decided to take the kids out to dinner with us on our anniversary. I think the wisdom of doing this wasn’t obvious to me until a couple weeks later when our secular neighbors scoffed at what we did and said “There were no kids around on our wedding day, so we don’t want them around on our anniversary”. It was an eye opening comment!

gordon schmid September 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm

when the 40th and 50th roll around, we definitely want the kids and extended family with us. We are leaving a legacy and don’t want anyone left out.

Nicole March 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Maybe celebrate a founding of he family as the approximate date of conception of you first child. I believe the anniversary is remembering that the marriage comes first!! It was here before the children and will continue when the children “leave and cleave”. The kids are such a huge part of our daily life and being parents can, at times, feel like it is trump over our marriage with homeschooling and the care and attention they require and that we are more than happy to give (whether it be caring for their physical needs, their spiritual needs or training them in character), our wedding anniversary is OUR time. I think it is sets a good example that my husband and I are a strong team that pre-exists our children and that we are commited to each other, not just because our children that bind us together but because we love, honor and respect each other. We have spent the majority of our anniversaries with at least one child in tow (whether by pregnancy or keeping a young nursling with its momma) and call me selfish, but I am quite looking forward to an anniversary with JUST my husband. That being said it maybe because this is coming from a 29 year old momma to 6; a 9 year old, 6 year old, 5 year old, 3 year old, 1-1/1 year old and one on the way! I want to eat diner at a restaurant that does not serve Mac and cheese and I want time to hang out and talk (and listen) to the amazing man I married and that I still love like crazy today!

Matthew Warner July 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Good points, Nicole! But again, this is not at all to say that we don’t need time together alone with our spouses, both for our benefit and the benefit of the example to our kids. But I still like the practice of including the kids in at least *part* of the anniversary celebration.

Ricky Jones September 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Matt, I never thought of it like this. Obviously, wedding anniversaries are a big deal, but celebrating them as a family is even better!

Leslie July 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I’m a few years late but was googling the topic. Great insight and I totally agree. I just told my family/friends last year we should start treating marriages like we do birthdays. Maybe this way people will place a higher value on its importance, becuase it is important. Too many divorces now a days and we need to support and honor those people who are holding it down. Tomorrow is my 10 year anniversary and I can’t wait to celebrate with my kids and then with out them afterwards. =) Blessings to all.

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