I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how time is presented to us. Our mobile phones have plans based on minutes, not hours. Store return policies are stated in days, not weeks. Creditors, official documents, and contracts are also calculated in days rather than weeks or months.
Parents refer to the age of their babies in weeks instead of months, and months instead of years. I was perplexed when I first heard it described this way: 12 weeks? Isn’t that 3 months? 26 months? Isn’t that about two years old?
But after giving it some thought, I realized that developmental milestones in children occur almost weekly: the first smile, first steps, and the first tooth. So in this case, I came to understand it.
But I’ve heard people do the same thing in relationships: “We met 90 days ago,” or, “This is our fifteenth week together.”
I also understand that relationships have their own set of special moments too: first date or kiss, first holiday, or meeting each others’ families. But does it really mean anything that one month, or 40 days or 19 weeks, have passed? Should couples celebrate each month they’re together?
As a culture, we are stuck in what I’d call a mixed message media. Couples who have stayed together are celebrated, as they should be. I love to see news stories of couples who’ve had 60, 65 or even 70 years together. I would like to see more of this kind of coverage rather than celebrity gossip.
Obviously, for Catholics we are called to marry only once and remain married until we are called to unite with God. “Til death do us part” is something to be taken very seriously.
But our secular culture seems to celebrate the short-term achievement. The three-month mark is significant, but it seems to me that the months within the first year are celebrated as well. I wonder if this is due to the short-term, non-monogamous, fling-like relationships that are fairly common in our secular “hook-up” culture.
If that is the case, why celebrate the short amount of time that passes, particularly if that time is not going to be a pathway to longer-term monogamy and stability?
But if, on the other hand, each month is to be celebrated simply because it is on that pathway, and in the spirit of pushing back against the hook-up ethos, I can begin to see how it’s an important gesture.
As a word nerd, one concern remains: we can’t really mark a monthly achievement if the very word “anniversary” refers to a yearly event, right?
Maybe, but I think I found a solution: I recently discovered the term “monthsary” to mark the first 11 months of a relationship. Cute, isn’t it? “It’s our 4th monthsary” just sounds sweet.
I really like the idea of a monthsary, but is anything before the first year significant and worth marking? Is the term “monthsary” respectful and sweet, or is it an adolescent gesture that implies any amount of dating, no matter how short, is important?
I’d love to hear what you think about this. Is each month together a celebratory event?