The traditional symbol for a third wedding anniversary is leather. Why is this? You have to admit the symbolism is appropriate. Leather is durable, warm, strong, flexible resilient and in many ways associated with deep comfort, like a solid, rewarding married life. Those older than about 50 still respond with a warm smile at the mention of “Rich, Corinthian Leather”, the interior appointment of an otherwise mediocre car in the 70’s. Plus, resiliency, warmth, strength, flexibility admittedly help a marriage survive and thrive, so what better way to represent it? So what gift ideas and romantic notions might we use to celebrate a third wedding anniversary? Here are ten rich, original ideas.
1 For him, a new wallet. If this seems way too obvious, it’s not just any wallet. Even if he doesn’t need a new place to store his money, credit cards, pictures of you and the kid(s), this leather wallet is distinctive because it comes fresh out of the box with three crisp, new $100 bills. What are they for? One each for the three cards you’ve inserted, giving him access to one of three different getaways or treats you’ve selected. Take in a fancy restaurant; travel together to a weekend spa; buy him a selection of massage oils, waxes and application devices, then use them with him. Some new wallet. He’ll love it.
2 For her, a new leather handbag, or purse filled with, you guessed it, three crisp, new $100 bills. See number one.
3 For both of you, a three hour getaway at a full-service relaxation spa. Get your hair done–yes, both of you–get a full body massage, a manicure, pedicure, whirlpool treatment and facial. You’ve been together three years, and are really great friends. Make this a memorable treat; you deserve it.
4 Take a day off work, just because you can. Even in today’s economy three years together means a lot. Your boss will get it, and you’ll be glad you did. Take a road trip to a completely e-mail/FaceBook/MySpace/Twitter free zone. Go to a state park for the day, or stay home with the blinds shut, the TV off and the computers cold. Pamper each other. Fix lunch together. Let the phone ring. Make love at two in the afternoon.
5 Write separate accounts of the last three years, and then share them. Journaling is a great way to keep a marriage fresh anyway. Writing our daily interactions can be rewarding, revealing and refreshing. Plus, even though it may not be literature, the postings add up, and could become a history of your relationship. Imagine three years of notes to your spouse, all half a page. That’s 460 pages of your shared experience in marriage.
6 Fix a three course meal together. But do it separately. Tricky? yes, but it would be fun to show your mate that you’re aware of his or her preferences, and that you care enough about them to prepare what they love. It would be gratifying to see what they fix, too. Do dessert together.
7 Make an effort to start walking three miles a day together. This won’t be easy, but in our sedentary society, it’s probably the best thing we can do for each other. After three years we’re comfortable together, and know each other really well. This facility can lead to a bit of complacency by three years. And that needs constant attention to keep it from eroding the relationship. Walking together has many benefits: it’s possibly the best exercise there is; it can help us lose weight; walking is injury-free; and it gives us that much more time together. Three miles is about perfect, and all it costs is shoe leather.
8 Set the alarm for three am. Then get up, sneak outside, and watch the sun come up together snuggling under a warm blanket. Fix hot chocolate, or a pot of tea. Try to stay silent, just cuddling and kissing. And try to remember you’re outside, likely in a public place. If you can’t stop yourselves, go back in the house.
9 Write three separate love notes to each other. Mail them the same day. Mail them to her office, or his place of business. Make them three different colors. Inside each note scribble something you’ll do for your mate–a back rub, a massage, a bubble bath. Make the notes like IOUs. It’s the simple things that matter most.
10 Three red roses is still romantic as it gets. They’re not leather, or crystal, the other symbol for three years, but they say I love you, and I’d marry you all over again. Flowers are appropriate no matter what.
Three years together is an accomplishment. The third anniversary may be a time to reflect on how you’ve done reaching goals, becoming closer, showing friends and others what a solid marriage looks like. By this time there may be children around, scuffling through the house. Three years is a good time to reinforce that your marriage is about the two of you, and is not centered around the kids. It’s easy to make children the focus, and lose sight of the two of you. Leather is flexible, rich and supple. It wears well. In fact, as leather ages, it becomes more comfortable, and warmer. Like a good marriage. Congratulations, and happy third anniversary.