Welcome to “Love and Sex Today.” I am Dr. Doug Weiss and today’s topic is “How to Walk Down Happy Memory Lane.” If you’re married or you’re in a long-term relationship, you’ve created memories. I want to teach you how to focus on the positive ones, and how to use that skill on a regular basis to give energy, strength, encouragement, and positive feelings to your marriage.
At “Love and Sex Today,” we want you to have a great life. We want you to have great love and we want you to have great sex. Today is one of those great life and love topics. It’s how to go down memory lane with a positive lens. If you’re in a marriage or long-term relationship, you’ve created memories and not all of them were positive, right? You have some painful memories, but you have a lot of positive memories.
Today I’m going to give you a tool that comes from my book “The 10-Minute Marriage Principle.” This is a great book because it has a menu of 10 different things you can do to help your marriage. You pick two or three things a day to do from that menu. The exercise I’m giving you today is exercise number five on that menu. It’s called “Memory Lane.” I really want you to practice this today.
I know if you’re human, you can easily remember “when we fought about this,” or “when you did this to me,” “when you hurt my heart,” “when you caused some kind of challenge or pain for me,” “when you were disrespectful,” right? Many humans focus on the negative. Now why would you want to become an expert on the negative of your spouse? You do not want to become your spouse’s critic. There will be a post somewhere down the line where we teach you how to be your spouse’s cheerleader and why you want to do that.
But I want to encourage you to take this one principle today, and even if you only do it today, see what it does to your relationship. See what smiles it brings to your face. I want you to go through the Rolodex of photos, movies, and memories you have with the love of your life, that special person who used to make you smile when they walked in the room. When they looked at you, you were undone. You know what I’m talking about. Those deep connecting, love feelings you have and have had for many years with that very wonderful, hot, charming, intelligent person you decided to call your spouse.
This is going to take some focus for some of you – because some of you live in the critical world – to come to this world. This world is where positive things happen. I want you to move your brain in a positive direction. I want you to think of maybe two or three very positive memories you have with your spouse, something they amazingly did for you. Maybe they sacrificed something for you. Maybe they bought you something that was outside your realm of thinking you would ever get. Maybe they were just kind to you and they brought you something special.
Positive memories are everywhere. It’s just how we choose to collect our memories. I choose to collect positive. I have a great wife. She’s constantly doing positive things and encouraging me. This last six or eight weeks, I’ve lost over 25 pounds intentionally. It wasn’t like I was grossly overweight. I’m a pretty big guy, but now I’m really down and ripped. You know what my wife did? She decided to start cooking really clean. I was cooking my own food and said, “I have to eat clean.” I didn’t ask her to cook for me, I just started cooking for myself, but she could see what I was doing and she got on one of these websites with clean menus and she surprised me with several clean meals. Now I pack my little clean meal to lunch. I would rather eat what Lisa cooks than go to a restaurant with all the salt and seasonings and extra calories. For this season I’m just trying to get trim. But I saw her heart join me, and that’s a positive memory. It’s a positive memory I am able to share.
I want you to have a happy memory lane experience with your spouse on a regular basis. You want to be able to recall these experiences. So pause and recall three or four in your mind. I want you to pick your favorite one of those. You can do this exercise together. You can share this idea with your spouse, “I was listening to Dr. Doug and he gave me this idea. Let’s do it together because I’d like to have that positive feeling as well.” You’re going to see your spouse light up maybe like you haven’t seen in years. You know, that smile that’s just ‘our’ smile. It’s an ‘us’ thing. That’s what you want to have.
So what you do is you take your positive memory, sit your spouse or partner down, and look them in the eye and say, “I just want to share something with you.” Look them right in the eye and tell them about the positive photograph or movie you have in your mind and how they touched your heart. Share how that moment was special, how that was just so encouraging of them, and how they touched your life.
Let me share a memory my client Shane shared with his wife: “I remembered a time we went hiking together in Colorado. We talked for hours and then we just held each other and we fell asleep for about an hour. I felt so close to you, I was glad you were my wife.” I can just imagine how his wife’s face probably lit up. Or how about Alisha’s memory: “I remember the day after I finished a semester at college. You drove 40 miles in your not-so-wonderful car to get me Krispy Kreme donuts and you brought them to me early the next morning.” The thoughtfulness of this guy, probably not having much money as college student himself, spending money on gas, going to Krispy Kreme and saying, “Hey, I know you had a rough night. I’m here, I love you. Here’s a symbol of my love.” And 30 years later, she remembers the Krispy Kreme donut.
You have many positive memories. This is the thing about long-term relationships—you get to do life together. You get to see the panoramic view through four sets of eyes. As you have children, those eyes increase. But see if you get really good at looking for the positive, you’re going to find it. If you do this happy memory lane exercise with your partner for about a month, you will be amazed by the results. Right now, somebody’s thinking, “I don’t know if I have 30 happy memories.” You do.
You’re going to have to sit down and train your brain to look for the best in your partner. Your brain might be mistrained. Your brain might have been trained by your parents or some other person who taught to be your partner’s critic and make sure they do things right, and condemn them and criticize them and then tell them you love them at the end of the day. Well that’s insane. You want to be able to find the good every day, or at least, most days. Almost every day, my wife serves me and is kind to me in some way, even if it’s just a simple text, you know? She sent me a text yesterday, “You’re the best husby.” Right. Well that’s a kind thing to do. She gets her texts from me on a regular basis. You know, that’s just a simple act of kindness. It wouldn’t take much for you to do that.
When you’re going down happy memory lane, you want to go way back. What were some of the fun things you did when you were dating? Go back before children. What were some of the fun adventures or funny times? I remember sometimes laughing so hard. Being with Lisa’s family is one of our favorite memories. We did this road trip with her sister and her husband, and it’s one of our favorite memories to this day to talk about how hard we laughed. I was literally sore. We have had adventures. I had my own TV show at one time and we laughed so hard because of the nature of the show. We have memories of just her and I, and those are great memories. Sometimes we go do a weekend thing together. Sometimes it’s just lying on the hammock and falling asleep on a cool Colorado day.
See, you can make positive memories but you need to remember them. And speaking them back to your spouse reminds them of how good your life is. If you’re managing kids and managing life, or maybe your kids are in college, you have to remember how wonderful some of those journeys were. I mean, I remember those sick days with the kids. I remember getting homework projects done with the kids. I remember having karate and piano and other things the kids were doing, and our lives were about driving our car one or two hours a day. But that’s not all that was there. In the middle of that were incredible positive memories.
So I want you to do the work today. Think of a few positive memories you have shared with your partner. Go home today with the intention of sharing a happy memory lane, and that will be an encouragement to your spouse and make them smile.
I also want you to go to loveandsextoday.com and please subscribe there. On the webpage, you can find a free chapter of one of my books that can help you in some positive way. Review us on iTunes and leave a happy memory you remembered: “I can’t believe my wife remembered this memory.” People love to hear your stories as well. Those reviews make us able to help more people, because you tell them what you’re thinking and your thoughts are just as important. One of you who leave a review will be picked for a private conversation with me that will be fun, engaging and accelerate some area of your life. I love getting to know you all. It’s a blast. And remember, have a great love.