Sage Advice: A Forgotten Anniversary

By Amy Dickinson | February 27th, 2019

But who's at fault?


Forgotten anniversary Image

Dear Amy: I forgot my 18th wedding anniversary. I completely forgot.

I discovered my sin when I opened the coffee cabinet that evening and found a “happy anniversary” note my wife had left in front of the coffee can. I was devastated. My wife was already in bed asleep. I did notice that she was acting coolly toward me that evening. I asked her what was up, and she claimed that nothing was wrong.

Doesn’t she share some of the blame here? One of us has to be the first to say, “Happy anniversary.” She was in a position to do something about it, but was waiting for me to make the move.

I know it’s a husband’s job to not pass up an opportunity to make a woman feel special, but isn’t this a 50-50 partnership?

Doesn’t she owe me the same apology I gave her?

– Anxious Anniversary

Dear Anxious: Your letter provoked much discussion in my household, as I’m sure it will in many others. The consensus is that you are right to take responsibility for your own forgetfulness. You are also right that your wife handled this poorly.

My insight into a woman’s (or any spouse’s) motivation on the anniversary is that, on some level, she is eager to relive and replay the joy and drama of her engagement day, which is so often orchestrated and initiated by a man (or whomever initiated the engagement and proposal in the first place).

This might be why a wife waits for her husband to remember the day. Regardless, when you asked your wife what was wrong, she should have told you. You can understand that she felt hurt and also a little embarrassed that this landmark day slipped your mind – but she also tossed away an opportunity to perhaps experience the joy of remembering your wedding day together. This is not your responsibility alone – nor is it a man’s unique duty to make his wife feel special.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2019 by Amy Dickinson

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