A wedding anniversary gives a couple the chance to reminisce and rekindle the romance of one of the greatest moments in their life together. Unfortunately, sweet words can quickly become saccharine, and good intentions can come across as corny or hokey. You don't have to be a professional greeting card writer to say something special in an anniversary card, but several parameters can make sure your words sound genuine and from the heart, whether you're writing to your spouse or to another couple celebrating their anniversary.
Specifics Make the Heart Grow Fonder
Start at the beginning and write about when you first met each other. Generic is boring; specifics bring out your true sentiments and can help your spouse feel closer to you emotionally. Be descriptive about your thoughts and feelings in that moment, or unique things you noticed about your spouse. For example, perhaps you remember a specific joke that your spouse made, or noticed the color of their eyes for the first time when having dinner.
Mention highlights, accomplishments and shared memories from your previous year together. Perhaps you made a big purchase together, or started a new weekend activity. "Psychology Today" magazine reports that shared positive memories are one of the secrets to long-term relationship success. (Reference 1) These details can help show your spouse that you recognize the strength you have together as a couple, and together you two can build the life you both want.
Comment on the enduring qualities of your marriage. The University of Texas's counseling and mental health center reports that it's often the intangible things in a relationship — trust, respect, constant communication and the ability to forgive, for example — that build a foundation for lasting success. (Reference 2)
Comment on the strength of your marriage during challenging times. If you're going through a difficult period in your life--such as the loss of a job, a miscarriage, other health issues or relationship problems with your children or other family members--mention how your spouse's love and support has been important. If the struggle is your marriage, look for something encouraging to say, even if it's that you appreciate his willingness to go to counseling together.
Do something special for milestone anniversaries. If your 25th anniversary is a month away, buy a pack of 25 note cards. On the first card write, "Nov. 9, 1974; our wedding day." Mention how beautiful she looked in her dress or how it touched you to see him cry as he recited his vows. Continue to write something special from each year of your marriage on a separate card. Seal the envelopes with a heart or flower sticker. Give the cards to your spouse in a unique way, such as mailing them one day at a time leading up to your anniversary (or all in one big bundle), or by hiding them around the house with a special map to find them.
For that Special Other Couple
Mention the things you notice that the other couple does, whether they're your parents or close friends. For example, perhaps you saw them still holding hands after 45 years of marriage, or you noticed the way their eyes lit up when their spouse walked into the room.
Send the couple a card on your own wedding anniversary. Thank them for the example they set for you and your spouse. Mention something they do in their marriage that you have incorporated into your own.
Remember the other couple's anniversary even after one of them has died. This is especially true for older friends or for your parents. This will be a difficult day, but it will help the surviving spouse to know that other people remember. Avoid the "Happy Anniversary" cards, but instead find one that says, "I Remember." Keep the message simple and mention that you know this will be a day of joy and sadness.