Have you ever shared a time of reminiscing with your spouse about your courtship years, or your engagement? Perhaps you have thought back to the deliveries of children, or hard times like being unemployed, moving, and problems with relatives. Or maybe you are a young couple who doesn’t have a lot of shared history yet.
Turns out, these times of recalling shared memories can be a part of a successful and close marriage. John Gottman in his book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail…and How You Can Make Yours Last calls it “finding the glory” in your marriage. It is worth doing, helps strengthen our bond with our spouse, and gives hope for the future.
In my own marriage reminiscing played a key role in keeping us together during our desert years when we were committed but not close. Many times we tried to work through the issues. At times we’d even have understanding of each other, but somehow it didn’t translate into action or growth. But that’s another story… For now, know that we took care of responsibilities, but not each other. When I look back and realize the state we were in it is amazing that we made it to the great marriage we have now. Many things contributed to our longevity, like our stubborn commitment to our vows, but reminiscing is the thing that brought us back to the oasis where we could find joy together now and then.
Taking time together was a priority for us. Every three or four months we’d take off overnight to the beach. We’d go out for special occasions. We started celebrating the anniversary of our first date and our engagement (which happens to be my birthday!) All these celebrations gave us time to remember our beginnings, the romance, getting to know each other, and happy carefree times. It was time to connect again with what we loved in each other.
As time passed we weathered many storms together. There were periods of unemployment, difficult childbirths, sick children, stressful family times. All the usual life difficulties. But we’d look back at those and see how the Lord brought us through together. It gave us a sense of camaraderie and confirmation that we were still right for each other after all. As Dr. Gottman would say, we were “glorifying our struggles” and remembering them in a positive way that gave us hope for a bright future.
When we finally did work through those long-standing issues we realized what a role those times of reminiscing played. They really did give us little oases of positive feelings to hold on to through the next desert trek!
I hope this story encourages you to take time with your spouse to remember back to your beginnings, to happy times, and even sad or stressful times. Share the joy and blessings together. Find meaning and growth in the hard times. Just don’t forget your past. Lessons from your history together may be just what you need to get to a soul mate marriage.
Share some of YOUR special memories in the Comment Box below.