Are you having trouble remembering special dates like birthdays, holidays, wedding anniversaries? To find out why, let’s see which dates we can remember and which we can’t:
Everyone can remember their own date of birth, although most of us have a hard time remembering the actual day of our birth!
So why do we remember our birthday?
Well presumably it’s because we celebrate it every year with our family and friends, and is a key part of every form we ever fill out. If we forget our birthday, we could never get a passport or driver’s license, get married, buy insurance, go fishing … you get the picture!
Holidays and other celebrations
Most of us can remember these parties and celebrations:
- Christmas day: December 25th
- New Year’s Day: January 1
- National ‘birthdays’: for example, US Independence Day: July 4, Canada Day: July 1
- Valentine’s Day: February 14th
- Commemoration day: November 11th
Why do we remember these? Well, they are rooted in tradition, they fall on the same date every year, and for most of them, we are rewarded with a day off!
Most of us celebrate other religious holidays and festivals, such as Easter and Thanksgiving. These events are important to us spiritually, emotionally, or simply because we have the day off to spend with family and friends! We know roughly when they occur, but because the dates vary each year (say, the first Monday in September, let’s say), very few of us know the actual dates.
Birthdays and anniversaries of other people:
Most of us can remember the birthdays of those who are close to us: family members, close friends, spouses. But it becomes increasingly difficult as the relationship weakens and most people turn to calendars and Facebook to remember their friends’ birthdays. As for other people’s wedding anniversaries, these are quickly forgotten and not traditionally celebrated by outsiders, except perhaps the 1st, 10th, 25th, and 50th.
Why do we remember some dates?
Based on this research, it appears that the reasons we remember certain dates are:
- Repetition: The event falls on the same date every year.
- Duration: The longer we have been holding an event, the easier it is to remember it.
- Importance: How important is the event and what is the penalty for forgetting?
- Tradition: The event is religious or is part of popular culture.
- Celebration: The more people participate, the more likely we are to remember
- Reward: Receiving gifts or taking a day off from work seems to improve memory!
Wedding anniversaries should be memorable
A wedding anniversary seems to meet almost all the criteria for a memorable event. It falls on the same date every year, it is traditional to celebrate it and we receive gifts. It is the most important date in a relationship and many say it was the happiest day of their lives. Not only that, but the penalty for forgetting can be quite severe!
Why can’t men remember their wedding anniversary?
I suspect it has a lot to do with:
- Duration and repetition: By definition, we don’t start celebrating wedding anniversaries until after we get married, so it’s a new date for us and it takes a while to get established. So if there is any good news, it is that the longer we are married, the more likely we will remember it!
- Support: Also, if we forget, we have to trust our friends to remind us. So for men that means having to depend on other men to remember their wedding anniversary, just imagine the possibility of that!
I also think it would help if:
- They gave us a day off to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
- We had to use our anniversary date on all government forms
- Our friends would help us remember by celebrating with us.
- We receive thoughtful gifts to show that we are appreciated
Why do women remember anniversaries when men don’t?
I think the answer revolves around the time and emotional effort that women put into planning and preparing for the wedding, who are generally more romantic than men, better at celebrating important life events, and have a network of more solid friends that helps them remember. Of course I could be wrong, I usually am! I’d love to hear what you think, leave a comment below.
Celebrate your anniversary!
I am proud to say that I have never forgotten my wedding anniversary in thirty years of marriage, and I am sure there are many more men who have a similar background. Also, I’m sure there are some women who have sometimes forgotten their anniversary. Regardless of your past history, you can correct it in the future.
So if you are having trouble remembering your wedding anniversary date, you are not alone! Look it up, write it on a calendar, or set an electronic reminder.
And, if your anniversary is coming up soon, you should celebrate it in style. Let me show you how at Anniversary Tips