When was the last time you reminisced about your love story with your spouse? How long has it been since you talked about the good times?
It’s amazing what a little nostalgia does for a relationship: talking about significant moments, revisiting important places, watching home videos, looking at old pictures or listening to special songs is a powerful way to strengthen a marriage. Taking time to remember back reminds you that you did have fun together, that you did enjoy spending time together.
Maybe you are reading this and you feel like you just don’t have fun anymore. Perhaps you’re starting to think you’ve never had fun in your relationship.
Take that lie and toss it out. Because unless you’re in an abusive situation, there have been good times. You’re just forgetting them.
Remembering back can also help us navigate through some difficult times. It helps to celebrate our relationship, it helps us to laugh together and reminds us of the friendship we do have.
Here’s a fun activity to try.
Sit with your spouse and finish the sentence, “Remember when we….” Go back and forth for as long as it takes to rid yourselves of the idea that you’ve never had fun in your relationship.
For us, a fond memory is remembering one of our anniversary dates: we went go karting, ate greasy burgers, and then went for a walk, Starbucks in hand. It was full of fun and laughter — not to mention two sore tummies.
We also remember the time we ran through the sprinklers in the park while on a walk. It makes us smile and reminds us that we can be spontaneous. This is great for when we get stuck thinking we never do anything spur-of-the-moment.
So how do we create fond memories in our marriage? Here are five tools that can help.
1. Experience New Things Together
The reason why we remember the beginning of our relationship so well is because everything is new and exciting. We enjoy learning about the other person while doing fun activities and experiencing new things together.
But, over the years, it’s easy to get into a rut. Date nights — if they even happen — are predictable. Maybe it’s time to try something new, like going to places we’ve never been to before or trying things we’ve never done.
We don’t have to love all these experiences. The point is to get out of our relationship’s comfort zone, activate our senses and create happy memories together. And who knows, we may even bond over our mutual hatred of one of these new experiences!
2. Create Together
This is something that can be a lot of fun and a great way to create some fond memories. We know pottery classes aren’t for everyone, and that’s OK. But remember what we just read above: don’t be scared to try something new.
Being creative together doesn’t have to involve anything fancy. It can be as easy as building a snowman together, creating a cozy space at home, cooking together or pulling out the lego pieces. Just have fun creating something together and let go of the results.
3. Be Active Together
We can easily get into a routine of passive entertainment: watching Netflix, going to the movies, or eating out. While these things are fun and relaxing, they actually don’t strengthen our connection very much or create occasions that are memorable.
Please don’t get me wrong — these aren’t bad dates. My wife and I enjoy doing all those things too.
But when we remember special times, we are not drawn to the movies we have watched or the restaurants we enjoyed. For us, the moments we remember are times that have helped grow our connection together: activities like boating, camping, bike rides, canoeing and playing board games.
Do we go to the movies? Yes. Do we go out to eat? Yes. Do these things help? Yes. But have those things at times made us feel like we are in a rut? Absolutely.
Find what works for you as a couple and be active together. Not all the time and on every date, but sprinkle in activities that are not always passive entertainment.
4. Include Others
It is important to do things as a couple and build memories, but it is also a great idea to have other couples to build memories with. Adding different personalities together can make for some of the funniest moments.
Doing things with other families and other couples also helps to build solid friendships. When we go through a hard season, we know couples who can encourage us, people we can talk with who can help us remember the good times.
Doing things with other couples shouldn’t take priority over one-on-one time, but I would suggest working time with other couples into your schedule from time to time.
5. Serve Together
Serving together helps couples to grow in their faith. Serving together actually deepens our spiritual intimacy as a couple. It is something that is remarkably fulfilling.
One of the things that I love about working with FamilyLife Canada is the opportunity to serve with my wife Valerie. I love sitting back and watching Valerie stretch her limits and give her yes to God. I love serving with Valerie; it draws us closer together, creates a special bond between us, and builds lasting memories together.
We have also experienced this in our family. In 2016 our family went on a mission trip to Rio de Janeiro. During the time leading up to the trip, we fundraised, trained and prayed together as a family. We watched God’s hand move time and time again, both before and during our trip. We have some amazing family memories because we served together.
Experiencing new things, creating, being active, including others and serving together are great ways to build beautiful memories in your relationship. One of the common threads in healthy relationships is good memories. Taking time to remember those memories reminds us that we can have fun together. And it helps us to appreciate our spouse and navigate through some difficult times.
So, no matter where we are in our relationship, no matter what struggles we are dealing with — we can always hit pause and take some time to reminisce.