Unless you are newlyweds (and possibly even then!) you and your spouse probably harbor memories that do your marriage no good. We are all imperfect human beings, and there are sure to be past arguments that left one or both partners hurt, mistakes made that left indelible scars, conflicts that may have never been resolved. As love is a choice we make intentionally, so too can memory be. In our efforts to be Christ-like, we can live out the words in Hebrews 8:12 where the Lord says:
I will be merciful towards their iniquities
And I will remember their sins no more.
Consciously replace negative memories with positive ones. If you have been married for any length of time, there are bound to have been moments great and small that made you smile sincerely with amazement that God put the two of you together. So start a fond memory log. It could be an email “conversation” or a small notebook. It could be a series of notes stuck on the bathroom mirror or hidden in each others’ lunchboxes, but it should be written – and shared. Take turns jotting down good memories of times you’ve spent together, memorable milestones, great vacations… or make mention of particularly meaningful gifts. Be specific as to what made those things or moments so special. As you answer with your own memories, add responses to your spouse’s entries too; this back and forth dialogue will provide insight into how God has made each of you. How often you write and share will be up to you; daily? Once a week? It should be an effort you make, but it shouldn’t seem like work.
In Ecclesiastes 9:9 we are implored:
Enjoy life with the wife (or husband!) whom you love, all the days of your life.
If you are remembering the good times the two of you have shared, the joy you have brought each other, enjoying your life together will be much easier. As you make focusing on the positive memories a habit, enjoying each other will become second nature. As the number of entries in your log grows, you will gain two important things. First, you will have a reminder of why you two got together ¬- and are still together - one that you can read and re-read when things are less than wonderful, when doubts nag and troubles might be brewing. Second, and maybe more importantly you will gain a precious glimpse into your spouse’s heart and soul. You will begin to see what kinds of things they think are special, are meaningful… you will learn what it is that makes them love being married to you! With memory reclaimed as a force to strengthen your marriage, act on that knowledge and make it so.