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Husband Forgets Anniversary - What It Means

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My husband of 27 years forgot our wedding anniversary yesterday. This is the first time that he has forgotten in all these years. Obviously my feelings are hurt and he apologized, but I still feel weird about it, like our marriage is not important. The next day my husband gave me flowers, a card, and gift and has made plans to celebrate our anniversary next weekend. However, does his forgetting our anniversary mean that he does not care about me any more? What if he forgets again?


Worried Wife

Dear Worried wife,

It is only natural that you feel hurt that your husband forgot your wedding anniversary. Since your husband has apologized, gave you belated gifts, and made plans to celebrate later, then your marriage is still important to him.

If folks are stressed and busy, then important dates such as wedding anniversaries or birthdays could slip their mind because they are so preoccupied. According to Dr. Herb Goldberg, professor emeritus of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, if the relationship is sound, then forgetting an anniversary or birthday is not meant to be hurtful, but rather a result of being too focused on other things. Also, if your husband remembered special occasions in the beginning, but forgets later, then it's not because he loves you less. For men, the goal in the beginning of a relationship is to win and keep your love. Now that he has your love, he's back to concentrating on battling the "jungle out there" and special occasions such as anniversaries are "distractions from the battle." (Goldberg, H., "What Women Should Know About Men," 2003: Wellness Institute, page 49).

Instead of worrying about whether your husband will remember your anniversary next year, help him out. Below are some ways to help folks remember wedding anniversaries or other important dates and occasions.


1. WALL CALENDAR: Mark important dates on the wall calendar. If you don't already have a calendar, then put one up on the refrigerator or other conveniently located area. Put a big Red Heart on the anniversary date so that it stands out.

2. ELECTRONIC CALENDAR: Give your husband the anniversary date and other important dates to input into his cell phone or computer calendar.

3. SUGGEST RESTAURANT: a few weeks before the event, ask your husband where he wants to eat on your anniversary. For example, say, "Do you want to try a new restaurant or go to our usual place to celebrate our anniversary?"

4. EMAIL: Send your husband an email with a list of possible places to celebrate your anniversary (i.e. restaurants, weekend getaway, beach, picnic) with the subject heading: Anniversary -Where to Celebrate

5. GIFT IDEAS: A few weeks before your anniversary, ask your husband if there is anything special that he would like for an anniversary gift.