Saturday, May 3, 2014

2014's Anniversary Challenge

The awesome thing about May for our family involves my mother-in-law's birthday and Ryan and my wedding anniversary!  Last year's anniversary didn't go so well...
So this year I thought ahead and as my brain was a'churnin, I realized that it might be more beneficial to split up our anniversary over the month.  What does this entail?  Our actual anniversary will be a great dinner, probably out to eat some place based on what we've learned from last year.  However, throughout the month of May, we're setting up little challenges for ourselves on sharing love in unique ways.  If you know me, I have a lot of enthusiasm for life and ideas and sometimes I get carried away.  Ryan is not like me in this sense at all.  So it allows me to be creative and also takes a lot of pressure off of Ryan.  

What are some of the challenges and ideas?

If you've been following me on Pinterest, my our love board is chock full of anniversary ideas.  I've been scouring the app on my phone for the past week to build up and brainstorm for this epic month.  Anniversaries can be incredibly simple, but my love language is giving and I want to give Ryan a great month filled with love and not just one day.

The Disney Challenge

I love a lot.  My family, starting with my Grandma Jean, has loved anything and everything Disney-related.  It was such a monumental aspect of my childhood that it's engrained in so many aspects of who I am as an adult.  So it is only fitting that I would come up with the rules for the Disney challenge.  Basically there are two Minnie and Mickey stuffed plushies.  Ryan gets one and I get the other and they become our companions as we plan two different romance and love-related events.  The only guidelines are that Mickey or Minnie (whichever one we have) makes an appearance, the event or date is infused with Disney themes or Disney culture, and it's not about the person who makes it but should be created and tailored to your spouse and his or her likes.

Learning Your Love Language

If you haven't heard about the book Love Languages, I highly recommend you do a Google search.  There are several resources online to help you discover your love language, but it's essentially the ways you most actively respond in life in regards to love, appreciation, and relationships.  I'm a gifter which means I really love to give out the perfect gift, whether that's a tangible object or a favor and I also like to receive gifts as tokens of appreciation and gratitude.  For some people their love language is solely verbal and for others it may be the reflection of the home.  I think it's important to know and understand your love language because it can help your partner respond to you better.

 Memory Jar
A really cute, simple idea of reflecting on some of my favorite memories of Ryan and our relationship together.  While Ryan was deployed, I made him a 52 Things I Love About You mini book that was made from a deck of cards but I really like the idea of either creating a full jar of noted memories or having one out that can be filled throughout the month and throughout the year.

This lady rocked the "I love you because____" project at $1.99. That's awesome. :-)

I Love You Because...

I've seen this all over Pinterest but the idea of using a simple framed message to convey love every day is magnificent!  Basically you frame a sentence like "I love you because" and leave it blank for someone to fill in a message of love on the glass surface.  What I love about this is that it's a sweet little love note everyday.

21 "Open When" Letters for my long-distance boyfriend's 21st birthday. When I can't be there in times of need, my words will be.
Pinterest Source

 Open When Letters
Open when letters are letters that are written for very specific occasions and are special because your significant other has access to them whenever he or she feels the need to open them.  What I think is so beautiful about this idea is that if Ryan is feeling sad then he has a letter to go to, in which I can be his personal cheerleader, even if I'm not there.  Sometimes we need that encouragement and sometimes we just need a message of love.  It's so romantic and at the same time is "planned spontaneity."

The Game of Love
This idea came straight from Pinterest but is so unique and clever that I just loved it!  It's all about fostering fun and sass in the bedroom.  The makers of the game created it on a fitted bed sheet with puffy paint and each block had a sassy set of rules and instructions.  You and your partner can roll the dice and see where you land next.

Just Married!
I plan on writing a cute "just married...3 years ago" message on Ryan's car for our anniversary.  Our good friend Jenny wrote on my car the day we got married and it's such a fun message.  I firmly believe in the importance of celebrating special days of love and simply declaring it to everyone!

Catalog of Love
The presentation of this idea on Pinterest, with its stained wooden box and sweet manila colored cards had me swooning! The idea was based off of the old cataloging system for library books.  Instead of dates of books, dates of important events were used.  This could be your first date, a military homecoming, or the birth of a child.  It's totally up to you.  Here is an awesome link to create your own cards:

hope to find it in my room. anniversary surprise - surprise boyfriend with 12 balloons in front of his door or in his bedroom. each balloon should have a photo hanging from it. on the back, write a favorite memory of him related to each photo.

Balloon Memories
This idea is literally on every anniversary search on Pinterest but it's cute and very simple.  You fill a room with helium balloons and at the end of the strings, attach cards and pictures of sweet memories.  It's fun, decorative, and very special.

Couples' Appreciation Journal
Love letters are so amazing.  When Ryan was deployed, although a really difficult situation on our first year of marriage, I adored receiving every letter, e-mail and message from him.  Each was filled with so many memories, future hopes, and affirmations of love.  Now that we live in Montana and see each other almost every day, it's a little different.  Love letters don't really come all that frequently.  So the idea of a couples' appreciation journal really resonated with me.  The journal would be passed back and forth between the couple and each would take a turn writing a love note or letter to his or her partner.  It's a way to hold each other accountable and to also reflect in doing simple, romantic gestures for one another.

Such a beautiful and inspiring bible to wake up to in the morning!  If only I could get past the guilt of highlighting a single verse in mine.....

Highlighted Bible
Haha, I know that subject title is kind of boring but the Bible has been an incredible source of strength, encouragement, and knowledge over the past few months especially.  Around Christmas time I wanted to highlight passages in the Bible that I felt were applicable to Ryan and I never got around to it.  However, I still think it's a great idea.  Whether you're religious or not, many of the concepts simply are that you need to believe in yourself, be kind to others, and to humble yourself.  All of which are great things to know and understand just to be a good person.  A Bible with worn pages, highlights, and notations in the margins often means that it was used well and provided a source of love.

I Love You Journal
What got me interested in the idea of journaling in our relationship was actually that the third anniversary's theme is leather.  I suppose one could head in the direction of 50 Shades of Grey, but I was really attracted to the idea of showing gratitude, appreciation, and love for my partner.  That's when the idea of an I Love You or Appreciation Journal came to mind.  I found a leather journal at Walmart and I want to have it embossed.  The goal is to write a nice thing about Ryan or something that I love about him for the next year.  In my marriage, I get really caught up in everything that's going wrong with our relationship or how he's upsetting me but I don't often enough tell him how much he means to me.  So this journal is a tool to help me gain perspective and to show him how much I love him.
Unraveling a Letter- 19 Great DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Him
Unraveling a Love Letter

I liked this idea because it's silly but also reminds me of being a kid and unwinding a surprise.  The main purpose of this month is to fill it, to the brim of small, thoughtful reminders that love conquers all.  It doesn't matter if the marriage is in a good place or a dark place, love is the greatest gift. 

Now these are just some of the ideas and gifts. I definitely plan on sharing way more throughout the month and even surprising y'all with what I've come up with. Stay tuned for more ;)
If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
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