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Dating & Relationships

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?

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12 Comments

  1. Pat-5351 May 7, 2013

    Sure, these mini-milestones are a celebratory event for the two involved, but no one else really cares. I can’t believe all the “success stories” of look at us, we have met and are dating. That is great, truly. But I would love to see a “where are they now” of those folks, and see how many have broken up. As the “recipient” of a broken engagement, I know that even that does not a success story make. So sure, celebrate all you want. It’s darling, within the relationship. But getting married, and as a matter of fact, staying married, is the only true “success story” in this arena, if you ask me.

  2. Rebecca-963882 May 7, 2013

    I agree with Pat. These things can be celebrated within a relationship if the couple feels the need, but true success is a loving, committed and growing marriage.

    • Peter-793888 May 8, 2013

      I agree true success is a loving, committed and growing marriage; however, marriage is A LOT of work, and involves a lot of suffering (yes even the very best of marriages). True love demands great suffering, we need look no further then the Crucifix to see this. One of the ways couples can continue to grow their marriage is to take time our for themselves, a fancy dinner to celebrate a 1 month (its a good excuse to go out for dinner and talk), or scheduled sex breaks cause the kids are away, etc..

  3. Maggie-918313 May 7, 2013

    We used to joke around with the term “mensaversary”…but I’ve got Latin teachers in my family…

  4. David-870960 May 8, 2013

    Having heard young people (ok, kids!) continually talk about their “2, 3, 4, etc-month Anniversary” and at one point explaining to my younger son what was wrong with the term I offered up: “Lunaversary.” It’s certainly more correct than Anniversary, and not as cumbersome as Monthaversary. Heh, Maybe I coined a new word? Time will tell.

    My address to the real question at hand is to agree that it is wonderful to celebrate where there is a genuine relationship; but superficial celebrations only injure the “real thing”.

  5. Vanessa-503762 May 8, 2013

    I guess it depends on the background of the persons involved. I find it cute (and is personally practicing) doing ‘monthsary’ greetings and activities with my fiancee. Having a long-distance relationship with different time zones, we needed to do something different from time to time other than e-mails and skype dates. We celebrate by having breakfast/dinner together, play online games or just listen to music. It might sound cheesy or childish but it’s nice to remember little things and it somewhat gives us a peaceful feeling as we look forward to our future together.

  6. Lucia-551179 May 9, 2013

    I had a very bizarre monthsary situation: Precisely two months after I met my CM fellow he has a medical crisis and I found my father dead at my parents’ home. So every 16th of the month, I can’t think about one without the other. When I hit the two-year anniversary of the first face to face, I know it will be the 22-month mark for my dad’s death, and that Month 24 mark is not too far away.

  7. Callie-906634 May 9, 2013

    I feel like the habit of “marking the months” in relationships is similar to the practice of stating an infant’s age in weeks, or a baby’s age in months. It is talked about in a smaller increment of time because so much changes so quickly. A couple that has been dating six months has gone through many more experiences and gotten to know each other much more deeply (one would hope!) than a couple that has only been dating one or two months. The first twelve months of a relationship have more drastic development as the couple gets to know each other’s histories, meet each other’s families, have their first “big argument” with each other, etc.

    I would say that after 1 year, it seems a little silly to say something like, “We’ve been together 14 months” instead of “We’ve been together a bit more than a year.” On a similar note (as some others have said), it’s cute for a couple to remember each other — maybe send a sweet message to each other, etc — on a “monthaversay,” but probably not necessary to have a big “to-do” every time.

    I suppose a lot of it comes down the the attitude the couple takes towards it. Is it a celebration of, “We’ve been a part of each other’s lives for another month now…we’ve been through more struggles and grown closer in the past 30 days”? If so, it seems more like the couple is cherishing the time they’ve been given and looking forward to the time to come — and there’s nothing negative or transient about that!

  8. Diana-956573 May 10, 2013

    Every month is a celebration of another milestone to the path of marriage. I would love to celebrate ( as soon as I have someone to spend that moment with) that but it doesn’t mean it have to be extravagant. A greeting and a time together is the best gift. :)

  9. Denis-7978 May 14, 2013

    A good catholic type word VERY close to monastery. Getting it included in a dictionary would be a quite a hurdle, ha.

  10. Ruby S. May 14, 2013

    Glad I’ve found this site it help me more insipired to live even thought am single message ‘s wonderful .,

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