Monday will mark two years since Dan and I declared our I Dos...
We have a trip coming up in October that's our "gift" to each other, but to celebrate this weekend, I laid down an Anniversary Challenge: Dan is to plan a Saturday night date he thinks I will love. Come Sunday, I'll make the day all about him.
If left to my own devices, I'd create for us both some over-the-top evening, assuming because I would have put so much thought into it, and because it'd be what I would want, that Dan would naturally love it, too.
That happened this year for Dan's birthday- a film at a quirky DC theater I thought was special, dinner at one of my favorite little bistros in Washington - places I loved and wanted to share with him. Only, he wasn't that into those ideas, and admittedly, he'd hinted as much as plans were being made. Still, I was sure it would be just perfect, so...we went. He soldiered through it like the good guy that he is, but as we headed home, in a very unDan move, he kindly let me know that I'd given him a birthday night custom-made for...myself.
He was right, and I felt so bad. I didn't do it selfishly, but...I did the things I would have wanted him to do for me, not the things he might have wanted from me. To compensate, the next morning we got up, I took him to breakfat at Bob Evans ('cause for the life of me I can't master his favorite biscuits and gravy) and then we went to the movies to see True Grit.
Dan's birthday is not too unlike our first married Christmas when, among the gifts under the tree was the most shiny, sleek, expensive....ice scraper for my car. Sure I needed it, and Dan only had me in mind as he joked, "I'll be the one who uses it!" Still, I didn't want it for Christmas, from my husband. So, in a very me move, I suggested that, henceforth, he shop beyond AutoZone for special occasions. The next year, there were Tory Burch boxes.
Dan and I are alike in many, many ways, but emotionally, if we were eggs, he'd be hard-boiled and I'd be scrambled! When we were dating, there was a constant effort, on both our parts, to woo the other so we didn't operate in our respective neutral gears of frivolus and practical. What eventually would be revealed, coasting through married life together (the hard way - because I just couldn't get through that popular Love Langaues book; too Chicken Soupy for my Soul) is that Dan and I give and receive affection in very different ways.
I'm the kind of person who will manufactor whimsy for others. Have I mentioned how I love a theme? I joke that if we had $10 left in the bank, Dan would let me spend it on party papers. He has never tried to hinder my crazy, and often times he plays into it to charm me. That's one of the ways I knew he was my perfect match. Thank God, too, that he lends his level-headed, pragmatic temperature to keep our flame at a steady burn. Because...no matter how pretty it is, a monogrammed napkin can't soak up all the messiness of marriage.
So, for our anniversary, with this challenge, we'll be forced to think like each other, for each other. It should be a fun way to
customize happiness for one another, a simple enough practice that should be a constant theme in our marriage every day.