Married People Share The Epic Tradition They’ve Started With Their Spouse
A lot of people say it’s hard to keep the romance alive in a marriage after a lot of time has passed. While there may be some truth to that, there are ways to avoid the romance fizzling out.
These heart-melting stories of couples who have made unique traditions together could give anyone hope that marriage doesn’t equal romantic doom. In fact, some of the traditions these couples have made together are downright inspiring. You might even find yourself adopting a few of them for your own marriage so that you’ll never stop looking at each other with hearts in your eyes.
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#35 The Ever-Eloping Couple
Every time we go to Vegas, we get married again. We started doing this on our honeymoon, just because we had been upgraded to a convertible rental car and spotted a drive-through chapel. We have now done it nine times with various themes. My favorite was one was “white trash.” The vows were priceless.
#34 Notes From The Past
When my wife and I got married, we asked everyone to write notes to us and put them in envelopes numbered by their tables. Our tradition is to open one of those envelopes each year on our anniversary based on the table number. This year was our seventh anniversary, so we opened Envelope #7.
It’s something we look forward to each year. We don’t remember who sat where except for table 14 because those friends wrote all over the front. Some people made predictions of the future, while others described certain moments they witnessed during the wedding. Either way, it’s our fun thing that I recommend to everyone who is getting married.
#33 Snuggle Bugs
We enforce a pre-bed snuggle time. We have different sleep schedules, so every night, he gets in bed with me, and we have meaningful talks, sass each other with jokes, and just check-in on each other’s lives. Then I roll over and go to sleep and he goes back out into the living room to do whatever he was doing without keeping me awake. It usually lasts about 30 minutes. It’s how we keep connected amidst the craziness of our lives.
#31 What People Do For Privacy
This started when our kids were young, and there was no peace or privacy inside the house.
For Valentine’s Day, we’d put on our winter gear, go out in the backyard, lay in the snow, and share a bottle of champagne. I think we even managed to do it one year when the temperature hit -40 degrees. The best part? Sometimes we catch the occasional northern lights.
#30 Hats Off For Creativity
On our first Christmas living together, we went out got a tree, lights, ornaments, and all that good stuff. When we finished decorating the tree, we realized we didn’t get a star or angel to put on top. So, I grabbed my hats and put them on top.
We do this every year now. It’s been a different hat every year for six years.
#29 Boone’s Farm For The Win
When my husband and I started dating, we were both flat out broke. I forget what it was, but we had some small victory and decided to celebrate. We grabbed a bottle of Boone’s Farm wine. Now, whenever we have something to celebrate, like a new job or a pay raise, we grab a bottle and have a private party. It helps us remember how far we’ve come.
#28 A Potato Tradition
On our first year of being married, during the Halloween of 1987, trick-or-treaters came to the door. We were completely unprepared. My wife opened the door to apologize for having no candy. I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the first thing I saw.
It’s our tradition now that the first trick-or-treater every year gets a potato.
My wife and I started taking a picture every year on our anniversary. We started this tradition when we were dating/engaged. Each year we take a picture holding last year’s picture.
#26 When The Clock Strikes 12:53
When I was pregnant with our first child, my husband was organizing baby clothes. It was after midnight, so it was quiet while we were excitedly anticipating the birth of our first child. He kissed me, and I said, “I love this time with you!” I was referring to the quiet “us” time that would soon be a rarity. He smirked, cocked his head and said, “What? 12:53? So do I!”
Ever since that night, when either of us notices that the clock has turned to 12:53, we say, “Happy 12:53!” And then we make out for a few minutes. If we are not together, we text it to each other. After 24 years together, it has now become a thrill to try and be the first one to say it.
#25 Cupcakes Always Work
November 1 is Cupcake Day.
A few months after we started dating, we broke up. The day after Halloween, I convinced him to let me come over and talk. I brought him leftover Halloween cupcakes, and we ended up talking for hours and getting back together. Every November 1 since then, we’ve eaten cupcakes together. This year will be our 9th Cupcake Day.
#24 Better Than Compromise
My husband and I have very different Christmas decor preferences. After a couple of years of unhappy compromising, we decided to take turns being in charge of decorating. Last year, I had a very tasteful tree that I thought could go in a kitschy boutique store display that my husband said was so boring.
I’m pretty sure we’re gonna have a Batman tree this year.
#23 Second Thanksgiving
Many years ago, we attended a Thanksgiving dinner with our extended family. The next day, we talked about how great the food was and how we wanted more of it. Most of the leftovers were at the host’s house, so instead of asking for some, we decided to just recreate the dinner ourselves. We went to the grocery store, saw that all of the Thanksgiving foods were on sale, bought everything we needed, and prepared a second, fresh Thanksgiving dinner.
That was about ten years ago. We still celebrate Second Thanksgiving every year, only now it’s also with our kids.
#22 Who Likes Surprises?
#21 When Hugs Attack
Our tradition is to call hugs. You can call hugs, and the other person has to hug you, no matter what. Even if you’re angry with them, you have to hug each other. Usually, you get over petty things real quick this way.
The hug caller has to make the most effort though. She can’t be in the kitchen, call hugs, and expect me to come downstairs for it.
#20 Starting The Year Off Right
The first thing I say each New Year is, “I love you.”
She has been doing it for several years now as well.
I asked her to marry me in the first few seconds of 2000. That time, it was, “I love you, will you marry me?”
They have been the first words I’ve said to her every New Year for over twenty years now.
#19 Say Cheese
#18 Quality Time With Macaulay Culkin
#17 Oldie But Goodie
We do the traditional anniversary gifts, not the modern ones. The first one was paper, the second was cotton, the third was leather, and the fourth will be linen. It’s pretty fun to come up with a good gift that matches the old-fashioned gifts. My wife got me concert tickets for our first anniversary.
#16 And The Civic Award Goes To…
After voting, we go to Fuddrucker’s.
When we were dirt poor, our polling place was next to a Fuddrucker’s. We never ate out, but we started to make an exception on voting days to reward ourselves for doing our civic duty. Eventually, we started making real money and bought a house in the suburbs. But we still go to Fuddrucker’s after voting, no matter if it is a special election or a midterm. We have two daughters in school now, and we went to Fuddrucker’s a couple of weeks ago because they had student body elections. For us, it’s about rewarding the behavior. We make voting something that we want to do.
#15 When Every Day Can Be Tuesday
Whenever we see some small trinket we think the other might like, we would buy it, wrap it, and gift it with a note saying, “Happy Tuesday!” no matter what day it is.
Even though she has passed, I still sometimes can’t resist purchasing her a gift and leaving it in a public park with a note saying “Happy Tuesday!”
#14 The Magic Of Ketchup
We have a game where we hide a ketchup packet.
One day, we were at a fast food restaurant, and I had an extra ketchup packet left over. I put it in my pocket and snuck it into his sunglasses holder in his car so the next time he opened it, it would fall on him. It worked and scared the heck out of him. That was like, a year and a half ago.
Ever since then, we’ve been going back and forth hiding ketchup packets in different places to surprise one another. Sometimes, it’s days between hidings, sometimes it’s weeks. Some of my favorite spots are in his pillowcase, in the toe of his slipper, inside his water bottle, and in his retainer case.
#13 Guilty Pleasure
My wife wanted to go to one of those paint-your-own-pottery places. I didn’t want to go because it’s not really my thing, but we went anyway. There I sat, big, bearded and tattooed; all thumbs with no artistic talent whatsoever. She got a tile and informed me that we would be painting it together, so I assumed she didn’t care if it ended up looking half terrible.
And she didn’t. She said our new tradition would be to paint a tile together every year for our anniversary. They end up looking like cool pieces of art—half good and half bad—a perfect combination of our personalities into one.
#12 Morse Code For Lovers
I knew I loved her from the day we first got together. When we were 18, I didn’t want to seem like I was rushing the whole “love” thing. So, instead of saying it out loud, I squeezed her hand three times to tell her how I felt. She didn’t catch on until about two months in, and when she finally did, she realized I had been doing it this entire time.
We broke up two and a half years later. Her parents convinced her I wasn’t good enough and I moved away.
Fast forward eight years later, when I moved back home. I had some stuff of hers that I kept with me just in case I ran into her again, and I dropped it off to her mom. She called me later that day, crying. I had been through a couple of relationships, gotten married, divorced, gone through college and everything in between, but always kept that box of her stuff, unopened.
We ended up getting back together. On the first date after reuniting, I instinctively held her hand and squeezed it three times. The look she gave me terrified me at first because it had been so long. She started to tear up and squeezed mine back.
So that’s what we do now, all the time.
#11 A Dieting Pro Tip
Junk Food Night.
We go shopping on New Year’s Eve and get all the junk food we want. Literally, hundreds of dollars worth of junk. Then, we set it all up on the kitchen table and go crazy. For the next 24 hours, it’s pure gluttony. By the time January 2nd rolls around, we don’t want to look at anything “junky,” making it super easy to eat healthier for a few weeks.
#10 What “Elephant Shoes” Really Means
We were nervous to say “I love you” because we had only been dating for a week and it felt really weird. So instead, we said “elephant shoes.” Many years later, I still love her, and we still say it.
#9 No Gifts Allowed
We don’t buy each other presents at all, and it’s great. For Christmas, we adopt a family and spend the money on them. For anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, birthdays and all those special occasions, we go out for a nice meal or take a weekend trip. It’s much nicer than getting some random “thing” that you don’t really need anyway.
#8 Christmas In July June
We celebrate “Half Christmas” on June 25th. We exchange presents and buy a little fern or bush instead of a tree.
#7 A True Vegetarian Thanksgiving
We go to Mexico for Thanksgiving now. Plus, she’s a vegetarian, so traditional turkey is literally off the table.
#6 Tax Incentives
I instituted a car door tax. When we first met, she would open her own door even though I was ready, willing and able to open it for her. She really didn’t like me doing that. I explained that I’m from the south and it was just something I picked up from living there. She finally let me do it once, but I wouldn’t let her get into the car until she paid the door tax.
“What’s the door tax?” she asked. I kissed her as passionately as I knew how. “That’s the door tax.”
She waits for me to open the door every time now so we can kiss.
#5 The Best Woo Girl
Whenever I pop a bottle of champagne, I yell, “Party!” and no matter where she is I can hear a “Wooo!” after.
#4 Love, The Bus Driver With One Eye
I sign his birthday card from a crazy person or animal he’s run into at some point during the year.
“Happy Birthday” from the hoarder across the street, his dad’s mistress, the redneck guy with bad tattoos…
#3 Unplugging Together
We buy a new deck of cards on our anniversary, which we use throughout the year to play cribbage with at coffee shops. The quality time is amazing, and it’s nice to be offline together sometimes, just doing something simple. We always look forward to buying our new deck of cards.
#2 DIY Dates
Finding a good babysitter can be difficult sometimes, so we started the tradition of “floor dates.” We set down a blanket and essentially have an indoor picnic. Sometimes we’ll cook a nice dinner to share, and other times, it’s take-out.
Sometimes we’ll watch a rented movie or binge a show together, and other times we’ll turn the TV off and play a board game. Something about turning it into a picnic makes it feel more special than just sitting on the couch lazily watching TV together. It also saves us a ton of money.
#1 Keeping It Fresh
We were on our honeymoon at a resort and struck up a conversation with an older couple in a hot tub. Typical old people passing their knowledge onto the youngsters, that type of conversation. They told us he was on his third marriage and she was on her fourth, but they had been together for over eight years by then and were simply on vacation at a couples’ resort.
“They’re not wrong when they say the secret to marriage is keeping it fresh and interesting. But most people take that too far by cheating and ruining it all. You really just gotta keep the mundane stuff fresh.”
And that’s when they explained their dating plans. Every month, on the same day as their wedding day (i.e. every 8th, no matter what day of the week), they go on a date to a restaurant neither of them has ever been to before. Pretty simple, but man is it effective!
The longer it goes on, the more you want to make sure the streak continues. And, if you live in the same place, it also increases forces you to explore your area. A slight adjustment that we added recently is the 5-2-1 rule, where I choose five spots, she chooses two of them she’d be happy with, and then I make the final choice of where we’re actually going. It’s not always necessary, but it’s useful if either of us goes on a picky streak.
The true beauty is that, no matter what, we still get to have adventures together. That’s what marriage is all about.