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23 Ways to celebrate your marriage

Merry matrimony

Opportunities to connect and feel good about your relationship are lurking everywhere.

Get your picture taken (and more)

7. Get your picture taken

If you're like most couples, the only recent photograph you have is of your forearm bracing your child as she tries out her new Jolly Jumper. Invest in having a professional photo taken of you and your man, frame it, and squeeze it in between those baby pictures covering the hallway wall. That permanent record of the two of you, beaming at each other, will reinforce your happy state of togetherness whenever you glance at it.

 

8. Avoid usual topics

When you do have some quality time together — maybe on Sunday morning while the kids are watching cartoons — don't let conversation fall into the usual ruts, says Dr. Wallerstein, be it complaining about the boss or strategizing how to get your toddler to eat something other than peas. "Really talking — about your hopes, say, or your innermost thoughts — has an energizing effect on the relationship and helps you better know and appreciate each other," she says.

 

9. Re-create your early bonding ritual

Were the two of you knocked out by a particular film on one of your first dates? Rent it. Is there an album that served as the soundtrack to the summer you fell in love? Play it — often. Or did you used to meet for a drink at that little bar near the bookstore? Go there again. All will remind you of those heady early days, and give you ample opportunity to note how your love has deepened since.

 

10. Check on your sleeping children -- together

The ideal time to moon over them is when they're soundly asleep, like angels. Tiptoe in together and revel in the fact that you made these wondrous little creatures. And remember, be very, very quiet.

 

11. Plant something

Some couples talk about how satisfying it is to plant a tree in their yard and watch it grow bigger and stronger every year with their marriage. If you can't commit to something that major, even a houseplant the two of you nurture will do. "We've got this one plant that's been everywhere with us," says a mother of two in Seattle. "We had it in Boston, when I was in grad school; it moved to Michigan, to Seattle, back East, then back to Seattle again with us. Every now and then, as we water it or move it to a new spot, we'll think about all the places we've been and how, like the plant, we're still going strong, no matter where we live."

 

12. Declare an extra anniversary (or two)

Should the only celebration of your marriage be that one fancy-dinner-with-good-bottle-of-wine a year? No way. Add both the day you met and the day you got engaged to the calendar as excuses to go out or give each other a special gift (even a simple candlelit massage counts). To push things further, listen to a mother of two in North Carolina: "I've been really inspired by a couple I know who celebrate their 'month-a-versary' — they make a big fuss over each other on the date of their wedding, every month. Hard for me to pull off, but a good goal to aim for."

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