Band Of Love

This is a guest submission by Michael Smith.

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Georgia slipped the band of gold around my finger, looked into my eyes and completed her vows. We were husband and wife.

A week later, I sat in my chair, mindlessly watching television. I twirled the unfamiliar band of gold circling my ring finger. It was the first piece of jewelry I’d ever worn. It made me feel different.

My life changed. I no longer thought of “me”. I thought of “us”. I had a wife. The band of gold proved it. From that day forward, people saw it and knew I was committed to another. It became a part of me. Whenever I sat idle, my right handwould reach to play with it. Other times, my left thumb would polish it – savoring the symbol of love.

******************

“Michael?” Georgia asked?

I looked across our dining room table at her. Her brown eyes sparkled.”What, Hun?”

“I’m pregnant.” She smiled.

“You are? Are you sure?” I rose from my chair.

“Do you feel OK? Do you need anything?”

I had an expectant mother to take care of.

“The doctor confirmed it today. And yes, I am OK. Now sit and finish your dinner.”

“But?” I stammered. “This calls for a toast. I’ll get that bottle of champagne.”

I rushed from the table.

“Michael!” she reached for my hand. She rested her other hand on her stomach.

“I can’t. The baby! Remember?”

I stared at her and frowned. “Why.”

I paused. “Oh right! The baby! I forgot – no drinking.”

“Relax. I’m OK. Sit and finish your dinner.”

We sat and ate. Afterward, I reached across the table and held her left hand in mine. I looked into those sparkling brown eyes.

“Thank you, Hun. Thank you for wanting to be the mother of our children.”

I looked down at the table where I still held her hand. The flickering candle reflected off our bands of gold.

“I love you, future Mama.”

I lifted her hand and kissed her ring.

******************

“It hurts so bad!” Georgia screamed.

“Pant!” I screamed back. “Pant! Puff, puff, puff, pufffff!”

“Stop blowing in my face!” She yelled at me.

Another contraction ripped through her body.

“Mrs. Smith!” the doctor said. “I need one more big push.”

“You can do it, Hun!”

I held her hand, or rather; she gripped mine in a vice. I saw our hands. My fingers were white from the lack of circulation.

The lights above the table reflected off our rings.

******************

“Look at her eyes, Michael! She’s so alert.” Georgia was in the recovery room. She cradled our little Vanessa in her left arm. I stroked Georgia’s hair.

My ring twinkled as her hair polished it.

“She’s beautiful, Hun. Thank you.”

She looked up at me. “That wasn’t so bad. I could do it again?”

Tears streamed down my cheeks. “Honey, you mean you would go through this again? You had so much pain!”

“I want our dream of a girl and a boy.”

Her hand rested on the blankets warming our new daughter – the gold of her band accented by the white cloth.

******************

“Mr. Smith, meet your new son.”

The nurse smiled and placed him in my arms.

“Hi, Justin!” He cried and waved his tiny arms in response. I placed our new son in Georgia’s arms.

“Thank you! Thank you so much!” I bent and kissed her.

My left hand stroked her cheek. The gold band sparkled with her perspiration.

“I love you.”

******************

We sat across the table from each other. A candle burned between us. Hushed voices from other tables filtered through my thoughts. I looked into those brown eyes, as I so often did.

“Happy anniversary, Georgia.”

“Happy anniversary, Michael.”

“Ten years! Can you believe it?”

“I hope the kids are OK.”

“Hun, they’re fine. This is our night.”

I reached for her hand and held it in mine. Like the bands in a tree trunk, our skin had begun to show the wrinkles of life. The fire of the candle reflected off our rings, reminding me of a night long ago, when she smiled and said, “I’m pregnant.”

******************

I sat on our sofa playing with my ring. I remembered forgetting to put it on after Georgia cleaned it one day. At work, I kept reaching for it with my thumb. I felt empty without it. I looked at Georgia’s picture on the TV stand. I was alone. Our children were in their rooms, grieving in their own way. Georgia’s urn rested on the credenza in the dining room. We’d brought her home from the service that afternoon. Her ring rested in my left palm. I had a decision to make.

“When do I take mine off?” I asked no one.

I was afraid. If I took it off, would it mean the love we shared was gone? The band of gold stayed on my finger. When my thumb touched it, my thoughts drifted to past times and not to the future and the life we planned.

“When do I take it off?” I asked myself again.

It was with me from the day we’d married more than nineteen years earlier. It’d been on my finger when I changed my children’s diapers. When we took drives, my hand held the steering wheel. The ring reflected the sunshine. The day she took her last breath, I held her hand and the ring reflected the machines that had kept her alive. I reached behind my neck and undid the clasp of the gold chain.

She’d given it to me on our first Christmas together.

I threaded her ring onto it and started to put it back around my neck. I paused and put it down. The fingers of my right hand reached for my ring a final time. I twirled it around like old times and then slipped it off. I held it to the light. It was scratched and dented from the rigors of living. It joined Georgia’s ring on the chain. My hand felt empty without its comforting weight, but the combined rings hanging around my neck soothed me – a reminder of our years together.

******************

Almost a year later, I stood with Ginny in a New York City court house. She took my hand and placed a new band of gold around my finger.

The Justice of the Peace smiled.

“I pronounce you man and wife. Michael, you may now kiss the bride.

“Ginny slipped into my arms. Our lips met. I hugged her to me. On her shoulder, I saw my hand and the ring on my finger – a band of love.

******************

Ginny and I sat on our deck reading. I held my book in my righthand. My left hand rested on my lap. A sparkle caused me to blink. I looked down. The new band reflected the sun. Ginny looked up at me, “I love you.”

“Love you more.”

“Love you too.”

We played our game. She turned back to her book. I stared at my ring again. It meant more than marriage. Like life, it had a beginning and an end. I started one journey with Georgia.

“Until death do we part.” we repeated – a beginning and an end.

We followed the band of gold to her end.

“Gin?” She looked up from her book. “Yes?”

“I need to do something.” She looked puzzled.

“What?” I reached up, unclipped my chain, and removed the two rings.

“Michael, what are you doing?”

“It’s time to let go, Gin.”

“But they mean so much to you.”

“Yes they do, but it is time to move forward. It’s like starting a new year. I need to let go of the old and enjoy the new. “

She stood, walked over and sat in my lap. She wrapped her arms around me.

“I understand.”

I held up my left hand. “Look!”

She stared at my hand. “What?”

“See how the sun reflects off it? I’ve been blessed to have you in my life. I have a new band of love, a new life, a new beginning, a new year and you. It’s time to move forward with you.”

Soul Mates

This is a guest submission by Lanette Nelson

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He walked into the house rather sheepishly, hoping she wouldn’t fuss over the fiery tiger lilies too much but also hoping she’d like them. She loved them, and the two shared a swift kiss. To an outsider it may look like an ordinary peck. But to the wide brown eyes of the on-looking little girl, it was the essence of true love, and she hoped someday she would find someone as great as her daddy to bring her flowers and make her a queen.

******************

When I was nineteen I believed in soul mates—like when two people are made for each other and are destined to be happy forever because they are so meant to be. After my first year of college I came home and helped my grandma watch my siblings while my parents went to Wales. One day while talking to Grandma about wanting to find my own soul mate, I was horrified to learn that she didn’t believe in such nonsense. She said you can marry anyone and choose your happiness. The logic of this certainly overshadowed my own Hollywood-based ideals, and I was devastated to think that the stars did not have a predetermined course for me.

After a few weeks my parents came home, and for the first time I wondered if they were really “soul mates” as I always assumed they were. I never thought of them as wildly romantic and yet I never doubted, even for a nanosecond, that my parents were perfect for each other. It was an undeniable truth. I watched them closely at this time, and noticed a tender, loyal and gentle love that truly seemed to be the stuff of soul mates. But I also knew that my grandma was right—the stars aren’t going to make us marry someone—it’s up to us to choose. We can choose who we marry. Maybe we can choose our soul mates, I decided.

******************

She was angry with her mother. Deep down the little girl knew her reasoning was silly, but she could not suppress her bitter retort and the mean words that spewed from her lips. But her mother didn’t fight back. She just sat, all composure and poise. It was her daddy who appeared from the shadows and scolded her. Her eyes shamefully met his, and she realized that she’d hurt him as well when she hurt her mother. It was like they were connected—like they were one. As she apologized it seemed only right that she say sorry not only to her mother, but also her father.

******************

Neither of my parents are what Hollywood defines as “romantics,” and yet their marital happiness touches others. I’ve felt it touch my own marriage when times are tough—my parents are less showy about their love for each other—at least when it comes to things like jewelry and making-out during movies. But in other ways their love is very distinct and obvious. They are best friends, and think very much alike. They defend each other mightily and are the most loyal pair you will ever meet.

******************

The wide brown eyes were older now, and rather than watching her parents she was watching a tall boy fumble awkwardly with his keys at her door. The two stepped into the warm summer night toward his truck. She reached the passenger side and realized he was already sitting in the driver’s side. She struggled with her door and he chuckled. She remembered her dad, so tender and sweet with her mother, and knew that nothing would come of this date. This boy did not seem the tiger lily giving, unconditional love and loyalty radiating type.
She kept looking for someone who would bring her tiger lilies, and one snowy night years later she found him. He would fight off anything threatening her and she felt the same way about him. It was now that the wide-eyed girl realized that soul mates are real after all.

******************

I still believe in soul mates, just like my nineteen year-old self, but I suppose my definition of the term is different now. Soul mates are potentially everywhere. You need to work to become soul mates with the one you love most, and you need to work to stay soul mates forever. But the work is worth all of the stress and the sweat, and the result is amazingly sweet. I’m still learning from my parents in my young marriage—they teach me so much. The most important lesson they taught me was how to love—the real kind of love—and how to find my real-life soul mate (rather than the Hollywood type) because the real stuff is what wide-eyed little girls really dream of.

The Day My Life Changed

This is a guest submission by Stuart McGraw

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I was one of those driven boys who was determined to be the next Donald Trump. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a bazillionaire and I even had a pretty good idea as to how I was going to get there. College was critical, so was living in New York City and landing a job with a big Wall Street financial firm. Dating was fun, but I had determined early on that I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of a serious relationship until I was settled in New York working towards my second Million.

After three years of college, I was working on my next milestone… New York City. My degree was in Business, and I wanted to supplement that with an internship on Wall Street. My plan was to get a paid summer internship with a Wall Street firm and then while working in the Big Apple during that summer I would focus on networking and meeting as many people as I could to understand each of the different companies, what job functions were available at each, and which ones I would then follow up with once I actually finished my degree.

I was able to find the perfect summer job working with one of the top-three brokerage firms in the country. I couldn’t afford to actually live in the city, so I found a roommate to split rent with and we found a small apartment over somebody’s garage up in Westchester County. This was going to be the best summer ever, I would get the full New York City experience of riding the train in every morning to Grand Central Station, then I would either take a quick subway ride, or take a brisk walk, if the weather was good, to my office up on Madison Avenue.

This was going to be great! Plans were all set and ready to go by Thanksgiving and now it was just a matter of finishing winter term and then I’d be flying to New York by the end of April.

Then one day in January, my whole life changed. What was so important before suddenly wasn’t. There is absolutely no way of even anticipating something so traumatic and life-altering as what happened to me that day.

I had driven home for the weekend to visit my parents and as I pulled into the driveway another car pulled in behind mine. I didn’t recognize the girl who stepped out of the car, I’d never met her before, but I couldn’t stop staring. She cheerfully introduced herself and asked if my parents were home because she had been asked to pick something up from them.

As we walked into the house together we chatted briefly, I found it difficult to concentrate and I was stuttering and sputtering the entire time and I was getting angry with myself because of my reaction. I was not one to get tongue-tied around women and this was very frustrating for me, but I could not stop staring at this girl. Her voice was hypnotic, her smile was magnetic and I could not concentrate. It was obvious I had contracted something, and it was fatal.

Then, just as quickly as she had arrived, she retrieved the item and she was gone. I must have stared out the front window a bit too long as my mother noticed that I wasn’t quite myself.

(The only thing worse than totally reacting like a schoolboy with a silly crush in front of a woman is having your parents witness as you react like a schoolboy with a silly crush in front of a woman.)

With a smile on her face she asked me if I would like her to track down the girl’s phone number since she knew her parents. After a failed effort at trying to shrug it off as no big deal, I got her number and I spent the next couple of days working up the courage to ask her out. (Plus, I didn’t want to call too soon and act desperate, did I?)

To make a very long story a bit shorter, we went on our first date that next weekend. By Valentine’s Day I knew I was in serious trouble and I was starting to think crazy thoughts about not going to New York. By March, I was thinking more crazy thoughts and trying to figure out how to tell this girl how I was really feeling about her and by April I was entertaining the idea of actually marrying her. I was a mess!

One day in April, I drummed up the courage to let this girl know how I felt about her. We talked for several hours and she shared with me that she was feeling the same way, but she made it very clear that she did not want me to change my mind about New York because she did not want me to someday regret having missed that opportunity. It was only for a few months and it would not hurt either of us to slow things down a little bit.

Well, I did go to New York and it was a good experience, but not for any of the reasons that I had originally intended. My ambition and my goals of living in New York and making all that money suddenly just didn’t seem that important any longer. What I learned in New York was that I was miserable without her. I could not stop thinking about her. I had never considered that I could be so hopelessly and helplessly in love with someone else that it would make me physically ill not to be around her. After a few months of trying to stay focused on my dream, I finally accepted the reality that my dream and my goals had changed. Now, what I wanted more than anything else in the world was to be married to this woman and share the rest of my life with her.

I didn’t care about the money anymore, I didn’t care about the fame or notoriety, I only cared that I wanted to make her happy. I wanted to tell her I loved her every single morning as I left to work and I wanted to kiss her goodnight every night of my life.

What I learned by going away to New York is that without someone to love, any other success has no real value.

I recently celebrated 20 years of marriage with this wonderful woman. I think I love her more today than ever before, and she is certainly more beautiful now to me than that first day in my parents’ driveway. We have four children and I cannot imagine living one day without her. I don’t live in New York, and I don’t have a lot of money, but I am wealthier than any banker on Wall Street.

I love you sweetheart.

Never Give Up

This is a guest submission by Amber Williams

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They were married May 6, 2004. It was an unseasonably cold day. All of the guests were forced to stand outside in the wind and cold to take pictures with this young couple about to start their journey into what would hopefully be wedded bliss. Little did this couple know what they would have to face together as they started their journey.

About a week into their new lives together Dan started to feel weak and sick. He noticed that he was bleeding every time he went to the bathroom. His brand new wife Danika (they both believe it wasn’t a coincidence their names were similiar) unsure and worried about what was going on took Dan to the doctor. After many tests it was decided that Dan had ulcerative colitis which is severe inflammation in the colon. The doctor warned that if they weren’t careful ulcerative colitis could turn into colon cancer within 10 years. This news broke Danika’s heart because she had lost her father to colon cancer when she was 15 years old.

The next couple of weeks were spent trying to find a way to get Dan feeling better. Medication the doctors prescribed seemed to be doing more harm then good so they went searching for alternatives. They tried water treatment, colon massages, herbal medications, and many many different diets. Nothing seemed to be working and Dan seemed to be getting weaker. He would wake in the night with severe headaches and he would get out of bed and there would be a pool of blood underneath him. Danika was scared and unsure of what to do. They were both attending a wonderful university and were looking forward to graduation. Dan had to miss many days of school and Danika had to work to support them and finish up her schooling. As soon as she was finished for the day she would race home to their small apartment to make sure Dan was okay. There were many days she was unsure of what she would come home to.

One day after a brief period of Dan feeling well enough to get out of bed they decided to hang out with friends. They were having a great time until Dan looked at Danika and he couldn’t speak. His words were slurring and he looked as if he were having a stroke. Danika rushed him to the emergency room with tears in her eyes, praying that everything would be alright. In the ER they learned that Dan wasn’t absorbing any of the nutrients he was eating and toxins had built up so much in his body that it had caused stroke like symptoms.

Later that night Danika brought Dan home from the hospital thankful he was alright. Her husband had lost so much weight and he could hardly keep anything down. Danika’s schooling was suffering and her meager $5.15 an hour she was making at her job on the college campus was hardly enough to pay for rent let alone all of their medical bills and medications. Here she was 20 years old with a very sick husband, mountains of homework and bills that needed to be paid. She had no idea what she would do and she got discouraged and wondered if she had married to quickly and if she had made the wrong decision. Her life seemed to be falling apart.

That night she tiptoed into her room where her husband was sleeping. She looked at her home that was in complete disarray, her homework and the bills. She was thinking to herself this is crazy when a picture on the wall caught her eye.

It was a picture of their wedding. She looked at the picture long and hard and then looked at her sleeping husband and she realized she had made covenants with this wonderful man and he loved her. Despite everything she had gone through she knew she loved him and that together they could face this challenge. Life has not always been easy in the few short years since Dan and Danika have been married but they have faced their challenges together and held on to one another. When times get tough for Danika she remembers that dark night when she vowed to herself she would never give up on her husband or their marriage.

Two Shall Be One ~A true story about young love~

This is a guest submission by Karen Bork

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I was just 15 years old when I attended a summer church camp in a neighboring state and met a new friend. While flipping through some of her photos, I saw a certain one that really leaped out to me. I had no idea who this ‘boy’ was, but there was just something about him that drew me. When I inquired about him, I learned that his name was Rick, he had never had a girlfriend, that he was very particular and that he would not be interested in ‘just anyone.’

Meanwhile, nearly 3,000 miles away, and unbeknownst to me, another friend of mine accidently dropped my senior portrait at this boy’s home. He returned home from work that evening and found (in his words) the most beautiful girl he had ever seen on the family coffee table. He quickly pocketed the picture and carried it with him for several weeks before shyly inquiring of my identity.

That year, within just a few days of Christmas, the postman delivered a letter which changed my life and sealed my destiny. Back in that day, there was no Facebook or Myspace. We didn’t even have free long distance, email or cell phones. We got to know each other through snail-mail and with only the aid of pen and paper.

Finally, the day arrived when he picked up the phone and made the first costly long distance call. We heard each other’s voice for the first time 4 months after beginning our correspondence. For the next 4 months, we averaged a telephone bill well over $200 each month but we were having fun and becoming better acquainted in a very special way.

Gradually, the desire to meet grew, and though I was a country girl of only 16, my parents allowed me to use the plane ticket which he purchased for me. Imagine if you can, meeting for the first time, your 19 year old ‘boyfriend’ of 8 months! To make a long story short, we were not disappointed and continued our courtship right through his 1st year of college. Ours was a mostly long-distance relationship with him in college and me finishing my last year of high school. In fact, the 3rd time we were together, he asked me to marry him. By this time, I had just turned 18. I realize that most people do not think it is safe to trust ‘young love’; after all, young people now days just aren’t mature enough to know their own heart are they?

Well, once in a while, there are just 2 people who are created to be together. We have 3 (soon to be 4) beautiful little girls and after 12 years of marriage, we are more in love today than we ever dreamed possible! Like every couple, we have had out ‘bumps in the road’ but have found a secret in the phrase, ‘Two shall be one.’ You can’t truly become one until you share everything and when you do, it is simply impossible to be separate again. We celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary on the 21st of this month with….You guessed it! “Another awesome experience at The Anniversary Inn!”

The Gift of Apology

In an earlier post, I wrote about the difference between a present and a gift. I submit that a present is something that is purchased or given simply because it is expected that you will give something. We send our kids to birthday parties with presents and sometimes our own children don’t even know what’s inside the wrapping paper. No real thought given to the present, we just have to give something.

A gift can be purchased, but it also comes with some level of meaning attached to it. Some time has been spent thinking about what would be the perfect gift for a particular individual. A ring is a lovely present for a wife on Valentine’s Day, but a Mother’s ring with a stone representing each of your children is a well-thought-out gift.

Could we apply that same concept to an apology? Should an apology be a present, or a gift? Do you sometimes say, “I’m sorry” even though you don’t really believe you were at fault? Or do you say you are sorry, but then spend several moments explaining why you were justified in your behavior. Why would you even bother apologizing in that case, you obviously don’t really mean it?

The power of an apology is profound, if given as a gift. Think about the last time you and your spouse had a disagreement. Voices may have been raised, hurtful things may have been spoken, and at the end of the incident both of you are feeling angry and misunderstood. Both of you have hastily built up a defensive barrier that neither of you is eager to cross.

Now you have an important decision to make. How do you knock down that barrier? How do you open up the lines of communication again? It doesn’t really even matter if you were at fault; you still have a stake in trying to fix things.

This is the power of a sincere apology. Once it is offered, those barriers seem to come down quickly. It may not be instantly, and your spouse may still need some additional time to process his/her feelings, but you have provided the opening that they can take hold of when they are ready.

However, if an apology is given simply as another way to re-introduce your points of the argument (“I’m sorry that we argued, but if you would only…”) then the apology is negated and the opportunity to diffuse the situation is wasted.

We need to stop trying to justify ourselves through our apologies. If you’re going to say it, mean it. And then stop talking.

Let’s treat the apology as a real gift that we put some time and thought into and give it sincerely. Don’t treat it as a present that we just picked up on our way through the checkout stand because it was within reach and didn’t cost much.

Enter the Anniversary Inn essay contest and win big prizes

I love the month of February here at the Anniversary Inn. It is always fun to see how many couples take the time out of their busy lives and make the effort to do something special for their loved one on Valentine’s Day by spending a night or two with us.

This is what our business is all about. We want to encourage everyone to remember what is really important in life. If you can find that special someone that makes you want to be a better person, or that makes you want to think outside of yourself, you are truly in love.

In keeping with this idea, we at the Anniversary Inn thought it might be fun to get some of your stories about love and commitment to marriage. I recently posted a short story taken from my personal life about my grandfather and the example he was to me in showing devotion and commitment to the woman he loved. In that same vein, we’ve decided to sponsor an essay contest where each of you can submit a short story about an individual, or couple, who showed their devotion to one another in a special or inspirational way.

All submissions will be reviewed and scored by the Anniversary Inn and the top five winners will win a cash-value Gift Certificate worth $100.00 at any Anniversary Inn location, plus they will be entered to win the Grand Prize.

The readers of the Anniversary Inn Reminder will select the Grand Prize winner. Each of the top five stories will be posted here on the Anniversary Inn Reminder and we will let you, our readers, vote for your favorite. The person whose story receives the most votes will receive a free night stay good at ANY of our locations for ANY night of the week. Plus, they will win a dinner for two at one of our Select Partner locations.

The following guidelines will apply:

1. Each story must be an original work created by the individual who submits it.

2. The story should be between 500 and 1000 words in length.

3. The story should be focused on how an individual or couple has shown a commitment to their marriage.

4. The story should be inspirational and positive with no sexual innuendo or vulgarity.

5. The Anniversary Inn will own the copyright to any story that is submitted and will have the right to reprint, or publish the story.

6. Each entry should include a contact name and mailing address, or preferred email address, so we can contact you in the event you win one of the awards.

7. The Anniversary Inn assumes the right to make any grammatical, spelling or context changes as deemed necessary before re-publication.

8. First names only should be used in any story.

9. All submissions are due by February 28, 2009.

10. Only one vote per email address will be accepted for the Grand Prize drawing.

11. Judging for the top five finalists will be based on writing style, substance of the story, inspirational aspect of the story, and the relevance to promoting marriage and strong family relationships.

12. Submit all stories to the following email address: blog@anniversaryinn.com

Love is a verb, not a noun

I’ve always looked at love as a verb, an action word, something that is shown or demonstrated. I think sometimes we tend to minimize the concept of true love by treating it simply as a noun, something that you might possess or hold.

My grandfather taught me about what it really means to love someone. His generation had a different perspective on marriage. When people got married back then, it was a covenant before God and each other that “For better or for worse…” they were committed to one another. No matter how difficult things got, they stayed together and determined to make things work.

Today people get divorced for no other reason than they’ve “fallen out of love.” No-fault divorce has become so rampant in our society that the institution of marriage sometimes takes on the appearance of a social networking program rather than a true commitment between two people to support and take care of each other through the good times as well as the bad.

My grandmother suffered from depression for many years and was not always the easiest person to live with. But my grandfather loved her. He was a humble, gentle man who worked by the sweat of his brow his entire life. He was a farmer, he was a storeowner, he was a steelworker, and he was a volunteer fireman. He was never wealthy, but he was wise and kind and he took his responsibility as a husband very seriously.

As my grandparents got older, grandma became very ill. She was bed-ridden and spent every day lying on her back in their tiny little bedroom. If she needed to use the bathroom, he would carry her from her bed to the bathroom and then back again. He would cook every meal for her and bring it to her. Eventually she began to lose her eyesight. She became more dependent on him even for discussion and entertainment. She could no longer watch television, or read. She would listen to the radio for hours and my grandfather would sit in his chair and talk with her or read her the newspaper, or other stories.

One day when I was visiting, he was so excited to show me this “new” invention that he’d discovered. It was a cordless telephone that he had just purchased. (The rest of us had been using them for years, but he hadn’t been paying attention.) He showed me how he could now go outside and spend more time in the garden without worrying that he wouldn’t hear grandma call from the bedroom. If she needed him, she could page him by pushing the little button on the base unit and his phone would beep. He had devised a cool little phone-holster that he could strap on his belt to carry the phone.

He cared for my elderly grandmother day and night. Keeping her company, ignoring her complaints, loving her regardless of her negativity and promising her that he would always take care of her.

Eventually it became difficult for him to walk, his hips were giving out and the doctors told him that he needed to have both hips replaced. He told me later that the hardest thing he’d ever done was tell my grandmother that he had to temporarily place her in an Elder-Care facility while he had his hip operations. He felt so much guilt over leaving her alone in an unfamiliar place that he rushed through his physical therapy in order to get her back home with him. He later told me that the day he brought her home was the happiest he’d seen her in years. “She was very kissy,” he said, and they spent the next week together, with him sitting next to the bed keeping her company. She died a week later.

Marriage isn’t only about the romance; it’s also about the commitment. We are going to learn a lot about our spouse over the years we are married. We are going to know what makes them happy, we are going to know what causes them pain, and we are going to be able to choose daily which of those results we want to produce.

Romance requires some planning

Alright, so let’s get right to it.

Husbands, this one is for you. If you’re like me you’re thinking something like this: “Valentines Day is next month. This time I’m going to plan ahead. Good thing for me, there’s plenty of time to get something nice for my wife….”

Then we continue on with our daily routines and next thing we know it’s February 12th and it’s too late to get tickets, or plan an overnight getaway.

One thing to be aware of this year, guys…. February 14th falls on a Saturday. That means lots of people will be out and about. If you are planning on doing something that requires reservations you’d better start thinking about it now.

Although this site is obviously going to give shameless plugs for the Anniversary Inn on a regular basis, the reality is that February is one of our busiest months, so seriously…… plan ahead!

But even if you don’t stay with us, with Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday, this year is going to be crowded. My sense is that even though our economy is struggling right now, folks are still going to want to do something nice for their loved ones.

Husbands, my suggestion to you (and to me, because I’ve seriously got to atone for last year’s “blender” fiasco) is to start floating a few “test balloons” past your wife to see what things she might be hoping for.

From my vast wealth of experience a hastily purchased present doesn’t go as far as a poem that took you some time to put together. I think we too often forget that buying stuff isn’t the same as giving a gift.

“Presents” are stuff you buy, “gifts” are things that you give with some level of meaning attached. A gift may be something that you purchased, but there is significance behind its purchase. A ring is a lovely present, but a Mother’s ring with a stone representing each of your children is a gift.

All I’m saying, husbands, is take a little time to think about this upcoming holiday. Valentine’s Day is the one time a year you really get to tell your wife that you do still care. And to represent that caring you’ve purchased, or written, or put together, or planned, this Gift.

Good luck men, I’ll see you on the other side!

Welcome to the Anniversary Inn Blog

For anybody who has ever stayed at the Anniversary Inn, you know the unique atmosphere that exists when you arrive and enter into one of the themed rooms. The whole point of The Anniversary Inn is to be able to find a place where you and your spouse can get away from everything and just focus on your relationship. Once you shut the door behind you and enter into one of our rooms, you almost feel transported away and your daily cares should fade into the shadows.

While this forum will obviously emphasize the unique concept of the Anniversary Inn, it is not intended to just be an online advertisement. We hope that this blog evolves into an online forum where people can share some of their ideas on what makes marriages last, what makes relationships stronger, and share ideas on how we can take time out to strengthen our own relationships.

We would like to have guest bloggers submit posts from time to time, and we may point readers to other links that provide ideas, or products which will help strengthen marriages.

The bottom line is that we want to promote strong marriages and healthy relationships and we hope this online forum will be another way we can provide this service.

Thank you for being a customer of the Anniversary Inn and allowing us to serve you for these many years.