I’ve been a bit nostalgic today. I Skyped with my friend Debi, who lives a long distance away from where we live. We talked about our husbands and family —all good. We also were talking about good memories we’ve had. But we also talked about living so far away from our grown “kids” and grandkids. And that is when our conversation took on a sad note.
We both have them and hate living so far away from them. We’re thankful for Skype and the times when we can be with them. But we’re sad for the times we can’t.
I told her how I try to tuck those memories away when Steve and I ARE able to be with them. That way we’re better able to get through the times when our arms ache to hug our family members who live thousands of miles away.
Good Memories in Marriage
I was thinking today about this, as it applies to marriage. A couple of thoughts come to mind. The first is summed up in a quote that I found in “An Activity Calendar for Couples” (which is no longer being published). It is written by Kandi Arnold, Andrea Devin, and Dale Sprowl. I think most of us can relate to what they wrote:
“Marriage is difficult! Somewhere between ‘we are gathered here today’ and ’til death do us part’ there is a lot of real life going on. There are ups and downs, highlights and failures, dreams attained and dreams lost. Real-life marriage is hard, a balancing act of jobs, children, friends, in-laws, paying bills, cooking meals and maintaining a home.
“Not only these, but we also deal with transitions to different stages of marriage. We’re adjusting as newlyweds, working dual careers, having kids, kids growing up, moving, changing jobs, and growing older. Often the one we’re supposed to love most is lost in the confusion of life. You need to put activities into your life together to help you to enjoy and encourage each other as husband and wife as well as to foster talking, learning and growing together.”
Stockpile Good Memories and Feelings
As I read the above statement, I thought of another great piece of advice, on this issue. John Gottman, an internationally known marriage expert, gave the following advice “when it comes to confronting sticky marital issues” (which we all encounter). He said:
“The issue isn’t whether you fight, it’s how you fight and how rich your stockpile of good feelings is about each other to weather difficulties and keep your basic attitude toward your partner positive.”
(You can find out more about this statement in the article, It’s Not IF You Fight But HOW You Fight That’s Important.)
Make sure you “stockpile” good feelings about your family. This way you can ponder them in your heart. And put “activities into your life together to help you to enjoy and encourage each other as husband and wife” because it’s important. It’s important to tuck away the memories and the smiles so that when things are gloomier, you can pull up those better memories. You can ponder them and then ride through the storms in better ways than you ever could have otherwise.
Stockpiling Good Memories
As parents and grandparents, we stockpile all the memories we can of when we ARE able to be together. We purposefully tuck away those smile times in our memory banks. Our one son and our daughter in law live on the other side of the country. And our other son, our daughter-in-law, and grandkids live in Korea. So we aren’t able to be with them very often at all. But when the geographical distance gets to us, we pull out our memories. They DO help us a bit to better ride the tide of missing them.
It demonstrates all the more what the Bible says, “Laughter is as good medicine.“
In our marriage, we find ways to laugh together and enjoy just “being with” each other, in big and small ways. This way when testy times come, we have a reserve of good feelings stockpiled (as “good medicine“). This helps us to give each other grace a little bit better.
Yes, we have our stormy times too, just as you and others have. Thankfully, we’ve just learned how to get past them quicker and healthier than before. Stockpiling good feelings toward each other and tucking away the smiling times helps us with that mission of being able to have better attitudes during “difficult times.” It helps us to give each other more grace than we might have otherwise.
Doing What it Takes
But first, we have to do what it takes so we can stockpile and tuck away those good memories and feelings of the smiling times. And you do too. That’s one of the reasons we make the topic, Romantic Ideas available on our web site. We love the ministry of Theromanticvineyard.com. Both are available as tools to help you, when you need them. Please take advantage of them when you can. Both of our ministries regularly add new things to help you in this mission.
I hope for you, that despite the “busyness” you may be going through, you can still find loving times to tuck away in your memory to help you get through some of the more difficult times.
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.‘” (James 4:13-15)
“Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
Lord, in all of our busyness, in all that attacks us, and the wonderful choices we have at our fingertips, please:
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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