Surviving an Anniversary When Your Marriage Is on the Rocks

The following five essential survival techniques will help you get through the day, control your emotions, stay loyal to yourself, meet your requirements, and perhaps even feel good about it:

1. How about “you”?

On your anniversary, treat yourself to something nourishing. Not for the two of you, but for you alone, so that you can be in a composed emotional state for the remainder of the day. Visit the spa and get a lengthy massage. Curl up with a good book, a warm blanket, and a cup of coffee. Go to lunch with a girlfriend who has always shown you love and support.

2. Give your activities priority over his

Couples who argue on their anniversary sometimes worry that they won’t do enough to celebrate the day, but they also don’t want to give too much and risk sending the wrong impression. Don’t overthink it; just do what feels right for you in this kind of situation. You should not be concerned about his reaction or interpretation of those activities. It is not your responsibility to interpret or respond to him; it is your business to set intentions and do what makes you feel happy.

3. Make a commitment to integrity

Be truthful with yourself about your current emotional state and your capacity for feeling at any particular time. In order for people to be able to meet your requirements, be honest with yourself about what you need and don’t be scared to tell them. In order to avoid betraying yourself, be truthful with your partner and only communicate loving thoughts that are real and true for you.

4. Make advance plans

On the evening of your anniversary, picture yourself finally falling asleep with your head resting on your pillow. What three adjectives would you use to best express your desired feelings right now, as you’re falling asleep? Content? Feeling glad? Feeling relieved? Optimistic? Calm? Begin the day with the desire that you will feel the way you wanted to feel and that you have manifested yourself as the woman you wanted to be today.

5. Be kind.

You know how every year on New Year’s Eve you get all worked up and make huge plans, just to end up disappointed? It never seems to live up to the strain and the hype, even when it’s enjoyable. The same applies on your anniversary if your marriage is having trouble. Avoid applying excessive pressure in any direction. Don’t expect it to be a complete disaster or an incredible experience. It is not necessary to attempt to mend what has been broken in a single day. Be kind with it. Allow it to develop naturally. Allow it to feel as comfortable and nurturing as you can.

It is unrealistic to expect a single day to end months or years of suffering in a marriage; trying to do so only sets yourself up for failure and disappointment. But it can also be a day where you intentionally, kindly, compassionately, and honestly treat the relationship and yourself. You might feel pleased with how you handled it and yourself at the end of the day. It might even be a day that slowly lets you consider the prospect that your upcoming year together will feel very different from your previous one.