Happy Birthday to Us?


My husband and I share a birthday (in fact it’s tomorrow!) It’s one of the things I’ve loved most about us, that we get to share our special day with each other.

Sunday I learned that it’s not something he enjoys at all.

We were having our weekly after-Mass coffee and doughnuts in the church hall when I over heard him say to a friend, “It seems like it would be cool, but what ends up happening is that it’s really her birthday and mine gets forgotten.”

I moved away from them to give him space to talk to his friend, but his words have stuck with me. After a while, my indignant “that’s so not true!” gave way to an honest admission that it really is.

We may share the day, but we want very different things from it. While extrovert me loves a party and wants to be surrounded by the people I know and love, introvert him craves a quiet evening spent together without the intrusion of the world. I want to cram the house or pack a restaurant with people and dance and play until the wee hours of the morning, and he wants nothing more than dinner out, a quiet walk together, and going to bed before the sun comes up.

This means that many of our past birthdays have included me partying with my girls at least one night of our birthday weekend, and him at home apparently feeling forgotten (although, to be fair, he’s never breathed a word of complaint to me, and has encouraged me to go.)

On our wedding day, my mother said, “Marriage is spending the rest of your life in a house that’s too hot with someone who thinks it’s too cold.” In twenty years of marriage, I’ve found that to be the truest description of marriage that I’ve ever heard. The great challenge is balancing the needs of both spouses without asking them to give up who they are. The extra challenge in our marriage is how to take a day which should be a celebration of each individual’s life, and still keep us both feeling happy, loved, and respected.

Anyone have any ideas for a loud, raucous, people-filled celebration that’s also private, quiet, and just the two of us? I’m taking suggestions for next year, and would love to hear what you have in mind.


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About Rebecca Frech

Rebecca Frech is a Catholic author, speaker, CrossFit coach, and the Managing Editor of The Catholic Conspiracy website. She is the author of the best-selling books Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us and Can We Be Friends? She is a co-host of the popular podcast The Visitation Project, and is a columnist for The National Catholic Register. She and her husband live just outside Dallas with their eight children, a German Shepherd named Dave, and an ever-multiplying family of dust-bunnies.
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1 Response to Happy Birthday to Us?

  1. Vanessa says:

    Would it be possible to have a lunch party, with a quite dinner for two afterward? Or perhaps alternating – one year it’s his choice, the next year, yours.

    I hope your birthdays were happy ones! 🙂

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