Do you remember when we... (DW#437)

Talking and reminiscing about memorable events in your couple and family history allows you to celebrate how far you have come as a couple and family. How you remember and recall your past reflects how you feel about your present relationship. 

Our time together with our families is more than a collection of dates and events. All couples and families have a story to tell. There is a story about how you met, a story about your first fight, and a story about your wedding day and the birth of your children. 

How couples share what Dr. Gottman calls the "Story of Us" reflects whether their relationship is in the positive or negative perspective. And the positive or negative perspective in turn determines the future health of your relationship. 

In Gottman's studies, couples who had a positive view of their history together were more likely to stay happily together. Happy couples talked about their relationship history in a positive way and filtered the early days through a rose-coloured lens. They saw their relationship as one filled with more good times than bad and thought that even the challenging times, although painful, helped them grow together as a couple. Unhappy couples, however, focused more on the difficult times — the pain and the struggles and often saw themselves as victims in the story. Sadly, they tended to edit out the good times or saw them as exceptions to their general state of unhappiness. 

The good news is that you get to decide how to tell the story of your relationship. 

So go ahead. Put on those rose-coloured glasses. Reminisce about your time together and as you reflect on your relationship history, do it with humour and fondness. Intentionally highlight the good times and see how the challenging times have helped you grow stronger together. 

Jerry Jenkins puts it beautifully in his book Hedges:

Tell your [marital] story. Tell it to your kids, your friends, your brothers and sisters, but especially to each other. The more your story is implanted in your brain, the more it serves as a hedge against the myriad of forces that seek to destroy your marriage. Make your story so familiar that it becomes part of the fabric of your being. It should become a legend that is shared through the generations as you grow a family tree that defies all odds and boasts marriage after marriage of stability, strength and longevity.

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