Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. — Kevin Arnold, character on TV’s The Wonder Years
What comes to mind when you think of great love stories? Romeo and Juliet? Gone with the Wind? Pride and Prejudice? Although your personal love story might not be quite as famous, you still have your own amazing memories of two people joined together as one.
Yet when was the last time you and your spouse reminisced about your love story? Has it been a while since you talked about the good times? One powerful way to strengthen your marriage is to deliberately call to mind the highlights of your life together. It’s amazing what reminiscing does for a relationship when you talk about special moments, revisit special places, watch home videos, look at old pictures or listen to special songs.
You have your own version of the greatest love story ever told!
Reminiscing reminds you of the things that first attracted you to each other. The positive memories provide hope as you navigate the rough spots and anticipate future good times together. This is why Philippians 4:8 says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
We’re on date no. 3, so you should know the ground rules by now: Behave as if you’re trying to get a second date. Dress up, even if just a little. No talking on your phone or checking scores. Be polite. Be chivalrous. Be complimentary and affectionate. And don’t forget to protect your date night from conflict. If an argument arises, agree to talk about the issue some other time.
Step 1: Go somewhere special and reminisce about the special times in your marriage.
Reminiscing should be enjoyable. As you take this stroll down memory lane, make sure you focus on the positive experiences. Don’t use this time to be negative, criticize or use put-down humor. Here are some questions that might evoke some precious memories:
- What would you consider to be “our” song? Why is it so meaningful to you?
- What caused you to first be attracted to me?
- What do you remember about our first date?
- What are some of the things that you value about me (my personality traits, character qualities, spirituality, etc.)?
- How did you know that I was the one you wanted to marry?
- What stands out about our marriage proposal?
- What are some of your favorite memories of our wedding ceremony?
- What are some of the things you enjoyed about our honeymoon?
- What’s the best gift I’ve ever given you? Why was it so special?
- What’s the most romantic thing that I’ve ever done for you?
- What’s your favorite household item we’ve bought together? Why?
- What’s your favorite family tradition? Why?
- What’s been your favorite place we’ve lived? Why?
- What was the best vacation we’ve taken together? Why?
- What are some things I’ve done for you that really made you feel loved?
Step 2: Relax and unwind
After you’re done reminiscing, be sure to ask the following three questions. Take care to keep your responses positive, encouraging, and uplifting.
- What was your favorite part of our time together?
- What’s one thing you learned about me that you didn’t know before?
- How can we make sure that laughing and playing together are a regular part of our marriage?
Step 3: Home sweet home
On your way home, don’t forget to spend time planning your next date. Remember that there’s no substitute for investing in your marriage!
- Regularly talk about special moments and positive memories of your life together.
- Recall funny stories from your marriage.
- Look through photo albums together.
- Watch your wedding video on your anniversary.
- Listen to music that was popular when you were first dating.
- Go through some of your old recipe books, and cook a special meal from your past.
- Revisit a special vacation spot (or do this online).
- Rent a movie you enjoyed together when you were first married.
- Reread old cards and letters you’ve saved from one another.
- Share select quotes from your personal journals with each other.
- On a map, retrace all the locations that you’ve lived and some of your favorite memories from each place.
- Recount your love story to your children and friends.