Think back to the time when you first laid eyes on your spouse. Can you remember the scene? What they were wearing. What you said. Their response.
It’s probably safe to assume that most of this memory is intact.
This could also be said about the high points of your marriage thus far. If you sift through your memories of your relationship with your spouse, I bet there are many good things that come to mind. The vacation you spent together on the beach. The time when you were both laughing so hard you cried. The memorable sexual experiences. The deep connections.
With all these thoughts that stand out, it’s no wonder that when the routine of marriage and life overtakes you, you long for ways to recapture the way things used to be.
“If only we could get back to the way things used to be” is a very common thought.
Some theories of psychology refer to these memories as anchors. These anchors are then associated with emotions and feelings, which when called upon can help you deal with stress, frustration, fear, whatever. We even have a Webinar on this idea to help you create a more “sexy” anchor.
Let me explain.
If I can anchor in my mind a time when I came through. A time when I gave the great speech, or hit the game winning shot, or excelled in some other arena, this gives me the ability to draw from the emotions associated with the anchor when times get uncertain. The next time I have a speech in front of a large group and feel it’s not going well, I can access this anchor and the emotions tied to it to help boost my psyche in the current situation.
On an individual level, this is a good technique to use to make the most out of your life and career. However, when it comes to marriage, things can get quite convoluted.
If two people are trying to apply this technique relationally, they run the risk of drawing from one person’s anchor while isolating the other person.
If I draw from a time when in my memory my wife and I experienced a really deep connection through our conversation, she may have entirely different emotions tied to that memory. For her, the conversation could have been just another in a long series of conversations that end up nowhere because to her, marriage may be about actions, not words.
I’m not saying that theses techniques can’t be used at all in a relationship. But it is filled with pitfalls.
The biggest of which is it seeks to go backwards in the relationship. Life is not lived backwards. Marriage is the same. It’s lived in the present. It’s created. Designed.
Bottom line: marriage is lived forward.
Married life is about decisions.
What do you want to create in your marriage? Regardless how the past few years may have gone, the future can be designed. What do you want it to be?
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