This husband’s in a holi-daze

She grew up celebrating holidays. He didn’t.

Our elder offers a creative fix for being festive on your own.

Dear EWC:

Hello. Two years ago this week I married the man I have spent the last 8 years with.

A little background… We are 17 years apart in age (he is older) and we have three kids at home. He grew up a Jehovah’s Witness, which means he never really celebrated holidays. That leads to why I am writing this letter. Some holidays over the years he has done amazing with, especially in the beginning. It isn’t always about material things but just making the day special because he knows what they mean to me. He has known this from the beginning of our relationship and the first two years really made an active effort for me… And I try to make an effort to be interested in things he cares about that I otherwise might not.

More often than not, he now either ignores them or forgets. He blames the fact that he never celebrated this stuff, and for years I have accepted that and figured with time it would change. Then like I said sometimes it will but most often it just gets ignored. I can understand most holidays because he really didn’t ever celebrate until he left the church about 15 years ago…

But I found out recently that while they don’t do religious holidays they DO celebrate wedding anniversaries. 5 days ago was our second wedding anniversary. I talked about it for weeks, put it in big letters on our calendar, etc., and still he ignored it though he said he did not forget, it was just the middle of the week and he figured we were both busy. I’m hurt. I am hurt for every special occasion (birthday, valentines, Christmas, mothers day, etc.) but I can move past those even if it hurts… But I can’t seem to get past this.

Am I overreacting? Should I just suck it up and accept that he’s just never going to care about these things, or care that they mean something to me?

Grandpa-Bill replies:

What I have learned in my life is that some people, even if they are not Jehovah Witnesses, didn’t have a big deal made about the holidays in their homes when they were growing up, so they don’t see them as a big deal.
After years of me hurting my wife because that was the case with me (I forgot anniversaries, didn’t get her a birthday gift, etc. and I didn’t think about how it was a big deal for her), she came up with a plan.

Even though my daughter tried reminding me about upcoming days, as she didn’t want my wife disappointed, I still forgot to do anything. So my wife decided she would plan her own birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays to be what she wanted those days to be like and buy herself presents. So she plans what she wants to do and tells me and she has never been hurt since.
What I try to do is give her gifts for no reason and tell her I love her often and show her in other ways.

So trying to change your husband or hoping he will change over time may just bring you hurt, resentment, and frustration and you might be better off accepting that he was raised differently and isn’t going to change, and planning your own days so you won’t be disappointed.


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