One of my favorite things to do is enjoy a cup of coffee with my husband, preferably at a quiet coffee shop or sitting somewhere outside with a scenic view. These “coffee conversations” often lead to reminiscing about funny experiences or fun trips we took together. I enjoy these times because no matter what we may be going through in our lives, focusing on these memories always makes us smile. These memories connect us. As we reflect on our past together, it leads us to look forward to the future. We can’t wait to make more memories together. In fact, it’s not unusual for us to start planning our next adventure (usually in the form of a date night or day trip) by the time we are done with our coffee.
Create Opportunity for Memorable Moments
We typically think of memories as purely circumstantial events. Most of the time they are, but they don’t have to be. What I mean is that rather than waiting for moments worth remembering to happen to us, we can proactively make our own memories together. Author, speaker, and leadership expert John Maxwell states, “Some memories come as the result of circumstance, but many can be proactively created…The richest memories are often those we plan and intentionally create.” Proactively making memories requires that we set aside time to creatively plan memory making opportunities and to initiate them with others. It takes time and effort, but it is worth it.
Why This Matters to Your Marriage
Research conducted by marriage expert, Dr. John Gottman, reveals that a primary key to a successful marriage is the ability to keep overall negative thoughts and feelings about your spouse from outweighing your positive thoughts and feelings. He calls this positive sentiment override. This doesn’t mean you never have negative thoughts or feelings about your spouse, of course you will. It just means that overall your positive feelings outweigh your negative ones. In other words, you have more positive feelings than negative feelings built up within you, so when you do experience a negative thought it is more easily washed away by your positive feelings toward your spouse.
Shared memories form a strong bond in relationships. In addition to smiling as you reflect back on positive experiences, you and your spouse may also be able to laugh at yourselves as you think back to some of your silly fights. Or you may realize you feel grateful for the obstacles you’ve overcome and how your marriage has grown stronger because of them. Whether positive or negative, memories make you feel connected and have the ability to increase positive sentiment override in your marriage.
So why not strive to make as many memories as you can?
Let’s Make a Memory
Here are a few ideas to help you get started on making memories with the one you love. You may want to plan these events along with your spouse or plan them as a surprise.
- Plan a date night that includes going to a new restaurant or doing something you’ve never done before
- Go on vacation
- Create a scavenger hunt or treasure hunt
- Cook a meal together using a new recipe
- Plan a day trip to a new place or a place you haven’t visited in a while
Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.
– Corrie Ten Boom