“True Meaning of Marriage”
The true meaning of marriage is love. By love, I mean not just what we feel but what we do. Love just as a feeling is very flimsy, an up and down roller coaster – Love is an action! In order for it to become the ultimate force and for us to rediscover the true meaning of marriage, love has to be unconditional. You are not looking for acceptance or validation. You are giving of yourself to another not because of them, but because of your values
The true meaning of marriage is expressing love unconditionally to another. It is an unstoppable force that can endure anything. How do you find it? You have to draw strength from you, neither seeking validation nor acceptance, just seeking the opportunity to show love.
A marriage should be celebrated every day and even more so when you reach certain milestones. The names of some anniversaries provide guidance for appropriate ways to celebrate or traditional gifts for married couples to give to each other; if there is a party these can be brought by the guests or influence the theme or decoration too.
These gifts can vary in different countries, but some years have well-established connections now common to most nations: 1st Paper, 5th Wooden, 10th Tin, 15th Crystal, 20th China, 25th Silver, 30th Pearl, 40th Ruby, 50th Golden, 60th Diamond.
The tradition may have originated in medieval Germany where, if a married couple lived to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their wedding, the wife was presented by her friends and neighbours with a silver wreath to congratulate them for the good fortune that had prolonged the lives of the couple for so many years. On celebration of the 50th anniversary, the wife received a wreath of gold. Over time the number of symbols expanded and the German tradition came to assign gifts that had direct connections with each stage of married life. These symbols have also changed over time – For example in the United Kingdom, diamond was a well-known symbol for the 75th anniversary, but this changed to the now more common 60th anniversary after Queen Victoria’s 60 years on the throne was widely marked as her Diamond Jubilee.
Traditional Symbols and Gifts By Year…
For a first anniversary a gift of paper should be given, this symbolises the strength that comes from an interlaced connection of the paper’s individual threads. It is also tradition to eat the top layer of your wedding cake on this date.
Your gift doesn’t have to be expensive; you could get your husband/wife a journal or scrap book to record memories of your anniversary or stick photographs from events over the last year. Or you could write a love letter and sneak it into a lunch box or work bag or for a bit of fun make a paper trail around your house, each clue could lead to the next and then finally to some printed tickets to a show or the cinema. Why not decorate your romantic dinner table with some homemade paper flowers and use doyleys as your table mats, be sure to be careful if you are lighting candles with all that paper around!
Some other great ideas might be postcards, a calendar, magazine subscription, jigsaw puzzle, a special book or a map (maybe somewhere you have been or would like to plan a trip to together)!
A fifth wedding anniversary gift of wood should be given to celebrate this milestone, wood is strong and long-lasting and should be symbolic of the strength your marriage has.
You could plant a tree together, in your garden or perhaps at a park or church that is special to you both. Choose a plant or tree that means something to you, perhaps an evergreen or a flaming red maple – something that particularly represents your love for each other. You could have a romantic dinner and eat your meal out of wooden baskets and drink from wooden chalices. Wood can be easily and elegantly engraved or sculpted into romantic shapes and figures – perhaps a personally engraved plaque with your names and the date or of your house name or a family welcome sign.
The first major milestone – a tenth year of marriage should be celebrated with a gift of tin or aluminium; this gift will reflect the strength and beauty of the connection between the couple which after 10 years will have learnt to work together – a relationship that is flexible yet durable, can be bent without being broken.
Consider a keepsake gift made from either material such as a picture frame or a garden decoration – the style that you choose will of course be dependent on the hobbies or personality of the couple.
Perhaps some artistic jewellery that combines the traditional material with a diamond for your wife – or a blue Sapphire is the alternate modern gemstone for a 10th anniversary. You might even find a tin box that you could give; you could include a CD of songs from the year you were married or a special photograph.
Fifteenth anniversaries should be marked by the giving of a crystal or a crystal themed gift; this represents the clear and sparkling love between two people.
A modern gift idea of a watch symbolises the time spent together with a ‘watch crystal’ referring to its transparent glass face. A beautiful crystal vase with some flowers, a stemware wine glass or champagne flute will make a perfect gift that can be treasured. You could add a touch of humour and get a crystal ball to help you see into the future.
You could have a romantic dinner for two, choose a simple table cloth and some crystal candle holders, remember the colours that you had at your wedding for some ‘brownie points’ and even a similar flower arrangement for that extra special touch.
Reaching a 20th year of marriage is a massive achievement and should be celebrated by reflecting on the commitment made. The symbol for this milestone is to give a gift of china as this signifies how elegant and delicate love can be.
Plan a cute picnic in the park using china plates and cups that you picked up from the opportunity shop, or you could invite friends and family along and make a party of it, after 20 years you certainly have the right to celebrate.
Use Chinese lanterns as part of your decoration or head down to china town for a Chinese meal and a night out, it is quite likely that your rice or noodles will be served in an authentic china bowl.
Some nice gift ideas would be a Wedgewood china vase or cake plate, or you could buy any small gift or tickets to an event and present it in a china cup or bowl.
Thirtieth wedding anniversaries also known as a pearl anniversary should be considered very highly by friends & family members as this is a wonderful accomplishment. Symbolic of a hard exterior and soft inner the pearl is the perfect gift to represent a marriage that has lasted as long as 30 years.
A gift for the lady would be a set of beautiful pearl earrings, a necklace or bracelet. There are several types of pearl to consider classic white, black Tahitian or delicate pink – after 30 year a husband should know which will be most suitable. Perhaps a mother of pearl bowl or vase or simply choose another gift and incorporate an image of a pearl into the design and decoration.
If you are planning something really special you could arrange a trip to an exotic location that has pearling in its history, such as Broome, WA. If your wedding date falls between April/May and September/October then this is the perfect time, it will be during the dry season – warm days, blue skies, and lots of clean beach. It is a multicultural place with the pearl industry attracting settlers from all over the world.
A fortieth or ruby wedding anniversary is a very special one. Rubies are thought to hold an eternal inner flame, a perfect symbol to reflect that a 40 year long marriage is still alive and strong!
If you are planning a party make sure that you include Ruby coloured decorations and party favours, if you are having speeches and a toast then you should ask for this to be made with ruby red wine appose to the traditional champagne.
For a more casual affair, perhaps a picnic in the park, choose ruby red plastic cups and plates to decorate and choose red grape juice as your soft choice alongside red wine. Whichever location or style of celebration you choose you can be sure to reflect the ruby red in all of your decorations, invitations, gifts and party favors.
The golden anniversary for the 50th year is one of the most deservedly celebrated, this half a century milestone is a fantastic statement!
Gold all the way for this event, decorate your party venue with gold glitter, golden flowers and centrepieces, balloons, candles etc
If you are in the US and know a couple who is celebrating 50 years or more of marriage, or who was just been married, you can have an anniversary greeting or wedding congratulations sent to them from the White House.
In Australia you could plan a trip to the Gold Coast or to a Gold mine – Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, VIC would be perfect! Take a trip to the museum and experience a golden adventure.
A great gift for this anniversary would be a large album filled with photographs and memories throughout 50 years of marriage, start with the wedding and include major events and family gatherings – you could even organise a guest book for people to sign and write messages of congratulations.
Whether you are celebrating your first or fiftieth wedding milestone I hope that this article helps you with gift ideas and planning your event. Congratulations!