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.