Why is it so hard to remember that very important date? It seems like your wedding anniversary date would be obvious, yet all too often it slips your mind until it’s too late. Suddenly, you’re in the dog house and your partner is fuming. She accuses you of not caring, and you’re not sure how to respond.

Granted, the Bible urges us to be forgiving:

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Unfortunately, your partner probably isn’t going to be open to that sort of reminder! Instead, use strategies to help you make peace and to prevent any future oversights:

Offer An Explanation, Not An Excuse

Your partner doesn’t want to hear excuses. If she feels like you’re trying to justify your mistake, it will only make her angrier. If you want to explain why you forgot your anniversary, let her know that it’s simply an explanation. Tell her that you’re not trying to excuse yourself. You’re simply telling her what happened, and you recognize that she has a right to be mad and is under no obligation to stuff her feelings simply because you have a reason for forgetting.

The explanation might be as simple as being scatterbrained and terrible at remembering dates. It might be deeper, such as being so stressed out from work projects, and perhaps even the threat of potential layoffs, that your anniversary totally slipped your overcrowded mind. Either way, be honest with your partner and preface it with a disclaimer.

For example, you could start off with something like this, “I’m not saying this makes it okay, but I really want you to know why I forgot our anniversary. It has nothing to do with my love for you or the importance of the date that we made our commitment to each other. I just want you to know what happened. You can still be mad at me because I know how important it is to you, but please give me the chance to explain why I forgot.”

Make It Up To Your Partner

No, you can’t turn back the clock and get back that lost anniversary date, but you can still make it up to your wife. You’ve probably said “I’m sorry” already, and you might have even repeated it multiple times. The problem with an apology is that it doesn’t fix the problem. Words are easy to say, but actions prove that you really mean them.

Plan a special surprise for your spouse based on what she likes. Does she love going out on the town? Set up a whirlwind night of dinner at her favorite restaurant and dancing at a lively nightspot. You’ll win even more points if you book a limo to pick you up. If you can afford it, add a bouquet of roses waiting on the seat.

If your wife is more of a homebody, or if your budget is limited, plan out a special night at home. Send the kids to a sitter’s house and greet her with a bubble bath where she can soak while you prepare a romantic dinner. Rent some chick flicks to watch after you dine and then invite her to enjoy a soothing massage. Let things progress naturally.

Maybe your wife is juggling a job with household duties. Imagine how much she’d love it if you cleaned the house from top to bottom for her. Send her out on a spa day and get to work! If you’re not good at cleaning yourself, hire a maid service for a few hours of deep cleaning.

Those are just a few ideas. The field is wide open, based on what your partner would consider a special day or night. She might still be angry that it’s not happening right on your anniversary, but she’ll melt if you wow her with your effort.

Make Sure It Never Happens Again

Once you manage to soothe your spouse, you don’t want to bring down the same kind of wrath next year. Take steps to ensure that you won’t forget your anniversary ever again. Mark it on your calendar and in your day planner. Send yourself a reminder email post-dated a week ahead of time and another reminder the day before. Sign up for an online reminder service, or even more than one. The more reminders you get, the less likely you are to slip up in the coming years.

Most importantly, remember that this shouldn’t be a day of obligation. It’s a day to celebrate the commitment you made to each other, so make sure you do it right next year (and all the years after that).

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