Every couple has their own way of celebrating anniversaries.

Sunday marked 23 years since my wife decided, "what the heck," I don't have any other plans this weekend, and it's a free meal," so she married me.

We marked this occasion by texting each other "happy anniversary."

We had earlier agreed that with our daughter graduating high school this month on top of her 19th birthday this month, our anniversary would be low-key.

We had made such an agreement a couple years ago with Valentine's Day. Except I broke the deal with flowers, which just made things worse.

This time I learned my lesson and kept my part of the bargain, and there were no gifts.

I marked the day by taking our son to a Huskers baseball game, and my wife went to work.

Maybe anniversaries are for the newly married or the milestone years.

When you first get married, it seems very important to mark each year by making it special.

The first year you eat year-old cake, exchange gifts, and the day is somehow supposed to recapture the feelings of your wedding day without the stress.

As the years go by, things change. The seventh anniversary is seldom as celebrated as the first or the 20th.

Then when you reach 25, 30, 40 or 50 and beyond, people help you celebrate by planning parties for you.

Sometimes you don't even have much of a say in where the party will be held and what's going on. I've been to anniversary parties in which the guests of honor do little more than sit down and wait for everyone to walk by and congratulate them.

It's the in-between years that get overlooked.

It is not that my wife and I usually ignore our anniversary. There have been flowers and gifts and dinners and time together, but life does take precedence.

But now days, there are two teenagers going in different directions.

One is on the verge of graduating and heading to college, and the other is still in high school and his baseball schedule keeps us on the go.

There are days my wife and I rarely see each other, and don't touch base on what's going on at home, what the kids are doing or how life is in general.

Not sure what the days will be like when our daughter goes off to college, and we are no longer wondering about school and her work and just wondering about school and why she isn't answering her phone.

Spring and summer are spent traveling around the state, trying to find ballfields. Meals are concession-stand fare followed by late-night drives home.

It's probably the best part of the year for us and one that takes too long to get here and ends way too soon.

As life evolves for married couples, there are kids and house payments, bills and work, schedules to follow and too little sleep.

But that's what life is about. It's what marriage is about.

What couple doesn't start off their married years with dreams of owning a home, working and raising a family and having a good life?

There are times when those things take precedence, but in our house that's OK. My wife is not overly sentimental, and sometimes a text message is all you need to mark 23 years and look forward to 24.

Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is the former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.