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My Husband Forgot Our Anniversary and It Was The Best Ever

Sheila, Retired Laura Doyle Certified Relationship Coach

Our anniversary starts like any other day. As far as I know, we do not have anything special planned.

On this morning, I ask myself, “How do I feel? What do I want?”

I feel full of happy reserves and a yummy lightness in my heart. I have been honoring what makes me happy with lots of delicious self-care and saying no to stressors.

What do I want? I want to celebrate our thirty-two-year anniversary.

I snuggle up to my hubby like an enamored schoolgirl and say, “Happy Anniversary, Baby. I am so happy you are my husband.”

He responds, “You better be. Wow, with all that’s going on, I forgot about it.”

How do I feel now?

Hurt! Disappointed! Angry!

How could he forget our anniversary after 32 years of marriage?

But rather than say that, I decide to use a certain gesture.

No, not that gesture!

Instead of showing how mad I am that he forgot, I use a gesture that saves our anniversary.

1. How I Got Myself Out of Needless Emotional Turmoil

Not too long ago, my mind would have gone to fear about what my husband wasn’t doing instead of shifting to gratitude. My rose-colored glasses were hijacked by my Needless Emotional Turmoil, or NET.

Now I get to swat away the NET with a flourish of the hand.

What used to become a blowup is now an opportunity for peace and understanding. Full of a strong Spouse-Fulfilling Prophecy in my heart that he is powerful at shifting his thoughts to find connection with me, I choose patience and wait for him to process his thinking.

2. Awww, He Said the Sweetest Thing!

I remain silent. Now I instinctively know to give him space while he is thinking. Thank God for the “duct tape” I have been using to get comfortable with silence. Priceless!

He says, “I am happy you are my wife.”

Big win! My shift to gratitude is creating a shift in him too.

I hug and kiss him. And say, “I want to acknowledge our thirty-two-year anniversary.”

No you’s or should’s in sight. I am getting good at expressing my pure desires!

He says, “It’s early. Let’s walk and I will think about it.”

Wow! He used to get so uncomfortable when his plans altered. Because of my reliable efforts not to display any pressure, guilt or resentment, his natural tendency to want to be my hero is trumping his need to protect his plans as if they were gold.

3. This Inspired Him to Be My Hero

I am proud to say my tireless work keeping my side of the street clean has shifted his thinking. He now gets to be safe to think freely.

I jump up with joy to walk with him on this beautiful South Florida day!

As usual, our walk is filled with light sharing. He loves to get political and to share his poker strategies with me. I have learned that this is important for him, so I practice receiving with a lot of “I hear you!”

Receiving graciously has stopped any resentment that I am not getting what I want. I now look forward to mornings with my hubby. Nights are for my rest and self-care while he is free to have fun playing poker.

4. This Was Not What I Wanted to Experience

After our walk, I find him on his phone. The first thing that flies into my mind is Oh, no—he is checking out!

I swat away that NET with a flourish of the hand. I notice that I actually move my hand now as I process this.

I smile and blow him a kiss.

He says, “I was planning to play poker, but now I am looking at the band schedule on the beach.”

“Thank you!” I reply. “I appreciate that you would rearrange your plans for us to have fun. I would love that. What do you think?”

“Farraddays Steakhouse at the Isle Casino in Pompano,” he says.

I used to feel casinos to be a source of pain since he plays a lot of poker there. Recently, however, I have embraced them as destinations for our control-free dates. With lots of receiving, I have discovered they are fun with great entertainment.

We have a lovely dinner at Farraddays. The waitress offers to have the chef make me the special dish I want.

My husband tells me, “See, you’re getting what you desire!”

Win! It feels great to hear him acknowledge how good I’ve gotten at expressing my desires.

After dinner, my husband is thinking out loud about whether we should wait an hour in the casino lobby for the band.

5. To Make Me Happy, He Needed to Know This

With a flourish of the hand, I swat away my discomfort and NET about having to stand around waiting. With my rose-colored glasses on, I see he is thinking of my comfort. Time to bring out a desire!

I say, “I would love to see a good band and have fun.”

He says, “You’re right. Let’s go.”

In the car, he gets on the phone. I swat away the NET with a flourish of the hand.

A-ha moment: The phone, which used to be such a source of disconnection, is now a source of having my desires met!

He says, “Coconut Creek Casino has three bands playing there.” He proceeds as my navigator to tell me which lane to drive in.

I feel some NET. If I were driving by myself I would be fine without instructions. Swat!—with a flourish of the hand.

Would it be worth the loss of intimacy if I told him to stop? No, it would take me out of the fun zone.

So I say “Sure!” with a smile.

The band is the best cover band we’ve ever seen! We have an amazing time.

6. This is How He Responded When I Was Real

At one point I am really getting into the music dancing, and I see my husband laughing at me. NET bubbles up. Do I not look good? I swat it away with a flourish of the hand.

He quips that I’m acting like a sixteen-year-old girl.

How do I feel? Oh no! Do I look silly? Swat with a flourish of the hand.

Immediately, I realize I’m being the real me! I feel sixteen again.

I’m not pretending to act the way I think a fifty-something-year-old woman should be acting! I am my Girl of Fun and Light. And he’s dancing too!

So what started out as a potential disaster, my husband forgetting our anniversary, ends up with him being my hero on our special day.

My plan for next year is to bathe in the joy of knowing that by transforming myself with the Six Intimacy Skills™, I get to swat away the NET and feel more relaxed, dignified and taken care of.

We all deserve to feel cherished and adored!

By Laura Doyle

Hi! I'm Laura.

New York Times Bestselling Author

I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

23 replies on “My Husband Forgot Our Anniversary and It Was The Best Ever”

Sheila, this is so valuable. I love how you take us step by step through a day where, by swatting and pausing and giving your husband a chance to step up, you let him succeed in showing you his love. Brilliant. Love the swatting movement!

Thank you for describing your day, thoughts and decisions in so much detail. I found it enlightening and very useful.

What a great story! I enjoyed reading it. Keep em coming, Laura.

When my man does something that hurts me or bothers me, I find I am faced with a choice between intimacy and revenge. I think we’re conditiobed somehow to think we can’t move forward and have a good experience until we’ve gone over and hashed out the hurts. But really, the important thing is to move forward and together create new and better experiences by us as women choosing intimacy over revenge. As a woman my choosing intimacy creates a favorable environment for my husband to also do what’s right by me. I’m taking this more seriously… working on the self care 🙂

I totally loved sheila story as she is a great model for us all with her swatting the NET away and using duct tape and self care so wisely!!

What a great story. I loved reading it. I love how Sheila chose intimacy over revenge when she discovered her hubby had forgotten their anniversary. Rather than beat him up over it or “express honestly” how deeply hurt she felt (choosing revenge), she created a positive environment and gave him the chance to step up and show her a wonderful time (choosing intimacy). Thanks for posting it, Laura!

I loved this post! Walking through your day using the skills was soo practical and relatable. I loved when you said you could feel the NET rising and then you swatted it away. you did this multiple times through out the date with your husband, which is incredibly honest and realistic.
Happy anniversary!

Great post! I wish I had read this BEFORE I let NET take over! Good to remind myself though!

Thanks for this. So special. Brings me hope.

This is my first introduction to Laura’s method and it seems to fit right in to my readiness to get to the next stage of my marriage.

Many Blessings!

Hi Laura,
Would you consider writing a blog how best to support your husband when he has been struggling at work for a long time?
And how to do it incorporating the Skills?
Your fresh perspective is always so helpful!
Thank you!

Laura or Sheila, would you elaborate on how this would FEEL intimate? As I read it, I felt so uncomfortable, especially the part where it seemed like the husband was micromanaging her driving. It sounded like she kept squelching her true feelings (although perhaps not desires). I think I would feel distant from my husband in these scenarios, not intimate. I usually find the blog posts inspirational, practical, and helpful, but this one was a lot harder for me to “get.” I would love to understand it better. Thanks!

Ilana, I can see why that part of the story might give you pause. Maybe you heard this as, “To make your relationship happy, just do what he says!” but that’s not my intention.

I don’t like it when my husband tells me how to drive either, and I always have the option to say, “I know how to get there,” in a light tone, or “ouch,” or to playfully say, “I’m a very good driver!” Usually that’s the end of it. In the old days, I would say, “Stop telling me how to drive!” which, while justifiable, often contributed to a tense car ride.

In Sheila’s case, it sounds like she was more interested in keeping the fun and connection going than making a fuss about him telling her where to turn. Everyone gets to choose in the moment what is important to them. In this case Sheila decided to just let it go in the interest of prioritizing the intimacy.

You always get to decide what to do when you feel uncomfortable as you are the expert on your own life. My goal, and the goal of this blog, is to help you see what your options are so you can decide which one suits you best.

I appreciate your providing options. Often they’re options I hadn’t thought of. I still am more likely to think of the response I want to give only after an interaction, but I’m working on it. One of these days ill remember to say “ouch!” Fortunately, I don’t encounter too many opportunities – things really do go more smoothly with the intimacy skills.
I had spent several years of my marriage going along with my husband, prioritizing relationship peace over saying my piece or insisting on what I want. The result was that my husband liked it and felt closer to me, but I felt cut off from my feelings and distant from my husband. So I don’t want to return to that dynamic.
Sheila was well able to express her pure desire. But what do you do if your desire is to have your husband remember and notice you? Or to listen with interest to your feelings?

Ilana, You’re only wanting what we all want as far as having your husband remember and notice you, and I find that the Intimacy Skills work wonders with that, but expressing a desire for him to pay attention to me never did get me what I have now in terms of connection and closeness and feeling heard. On this question, you would find my free webinar on How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life so valuable. You can register here:

I do not agree at all. A man needs to know when he behaves hurtful, disrespectful and mean. He needs to feel it and be remorseful if he wants to enjoy a good marriage. This day was not about you both but abut him. He selfishly expects you to be servant to his every whim.

Nin, That’s certainly an option. It would have been a very different night for Sheila if she had told her husband he was hurtful, disrespectful and mean. Most of us had tried that approach many times and it never did bring about remorse and a good marriage we wanted, but only you know what’s best for you.

I think I can speak to that a little, because I’m kind of in a place where I’m struggling with the choice to let my husband know exactly how I feel about something he did that I consider to be hurtful or process it apart from him and work on practicing the intimacy skills with him. I think it’s really all about the outcome I want. Telling my husband “honestly” how I feel (sorry, Laura, I didn’t think to say “ouch” at the time!) will lead to an outcome involving more distance and hurt. Practicing the intimacy skills will lead to better connection. That’s the way it is. I have to admit I really want to have it both ways: let him know how much he hurt me AND enjoy intimacy with him. But I don’t think it’s possible to have both, at least not at the same time, so it comes down to choosing the path that leads to the outcome I most want, and then swallowing my hurt pride to put my feet firmly on that path.

Why are we always babysitting men and their fragile egos? I’ve been married 30 good years and I’m still amazed that as the woman, it seems like I need to keep two feet in one shoe so things don’t blow up. Relationships shouldn’t be about coddling. I respect my husband as a human being, and it is up to him to respect me as well. He is a great guy who I love. But this strikes me as begging in the shadows of someone’s fragile…and possibly irrational boss. Why is it the woman’s job to smooth things over and to jostle and cajole things that should be mutual? Men are not a special species.

Hi Laura,

This great article comfort me in some way. I failed miserably when I forgot our Wedding Anniversary. I tried everything to deal with it by admitting how fool I was. I invited her to go out and spend the day but unsuccessful. Did many things to the point that I was feeling stupid already but still my desire to make it up to my wife has overcome everything. At the end of the day, I failed.
Do not know if everything will return to normal. She turn down all my offerings, I will keep a distance for now to let her think.

you are teaching folks how to police their words & behavior to avoid conflict, as well as deny their emotions.

Abby, I get where you’re coming from because when I first heard this approach, I was afraid I might turn into a Stepford Wife. I’m relieved to say I’m still a real girl! I learned to express myself in a way that actually feels liberating and creates connection rather than conflict. I wouldn’t have believed it myself had I not tried it!

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