Remember. Recall. Revisit. Retrieve. Relive. Reminisce.
What comes to mind with those words?
Are those things primarily positive or negative?
As the United States of America celebrates Memorial Day this Monday, we remember the sacrifice of our founding fathers, military men and women, and their families.
These people fought bloody battles to protect the concepts captured in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. People who believed in something deeply willingly sacrificed their lives so others could live free. While we honor all who serve in the military at other times during the year, this Memorial Day, take time to remember, reflect, and reminisce about what their very real sacrifice means to your life.
Whether your marriage relationship feels safe and secure or you wonder if you’ll survive one more day, ask this question: What am I willing to do, give, learn, change, or reject to have a healthy relationship with my spouse?
Sometimes the sacrifice you might make for your marriage is to release “your way” to discover “our way.” This sacrifice might require death to selfish thoughts and desires. It doesn’t mean you become a doormat for your spouse. Rather, you bring all of yourself to the relationship risking vulnerability, authenticity, and honesty. And even when you do, your spouse may choose a different path.
Judy Herman, a friend and coach, talks about how relationships need to breathe AIR—awareness, intentionality, and risks of growth.
Herman refers to divine invitations with God as moments of awakening. “Sometimes we notice divine invitations right away. Other times we don’t notice them until years later. And, of course, some people tragically will never notice. But those invitations come from a loving God who securely holds us in both the light and darkness of our authentic selves.”
Like the thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives so we in the United States could continue to live with our founding freedoms, a strong marriage often requires both partners to die to their selfish ways so they can learn a new healthy dance.
Sometimes, that new dance doesn’t happen for many reasons, and the marriage dissolves. However, the marriage can survive when a husband and wife willingly submit to the healing journey with the same desired outcome.
The battlefields challenge both husband and wife to stay true to their deeply held convictions.
Days, months, and sometimes years of working through messy relational issues ensue.
Remember that a “perfect marriage” is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other! ~ DaveWillis.org
Jeremiah sometimes called the weeping prophet, wrote these words after pouring out his heart to God about the terrible destruction of his country and people.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:21-26 New International Version
While in the middle of his pain and confusion, and, yes, even some anger with God, he remembered, recalled, and retrieved what he knew to be true about his God. Notice the word “yet,” which indicates a change in tone from the previous writing.
Like Jeremiah, the husband and wife might need to find their “yet” so they can call to mind God’s help and goodness in the past and find hope that God will restore a healthy marriage relationship. Not because they have all the answers but because they believe in the God who does.
If you wonder how to restore your marriage, remember, recall, revisit, retrieve, relive, and reminisce to find the way forward.
Grab your journal and write your answers to the following reminders.
- Remember what attracted you to each other.
- Recall why you desired to spend time together.
- Revisit the wounds you caused the other.
- Retrieve what you believe to be true about your relationship.
- Relive those things you haven’t resolved with the commitment to healing the wounds.
- Reminisce about your dreams and desires. Have you let them go? What precipitated the letting go? How can you cross the battlefield to dream together again?
Drs. John and Julie Gottman, who have studied more than 40,000 couples over the past 50 years, say the number one phrase every successful relationship needs is “Thank you.” Practicing appreciation for your spouse doesn’t have to be challenging, but it requires you to notice the good they do daily. Many experts and studies prove focusing on the positives changes your mindset and brings fulfillment to your life. I know it’s changed our marriage.
Not sure you can build a healthy marriage relationship because of the betrayal trauma you’ve experienced?
Please reach out. Perhaps, someday you can look back on this day as the positive pivot point in your life.