Another key factor/secret to making it to 43 years of marriage is Forgetfulness. Yes, I really mean being forgetful is a must for a lasting and loving marriage.
I don’t mean the I can’t find my keys, where did I park the car, have you seen my glasses or I’m sorry I forgot your birthday type of forgetfulness. Although all of those will happen with increasing frequency with each passing year. I am speaking of deliberate, purposeful and chosen forgetfulness.
Why would anyone choose forgetfulness? Because so many things that happen in a relationship, and especially in a marriage, are not something that should matter in the long term. Therefore, learn the art of forgetfulness for the things that should not matter in the long run. If you don’t learn the art of forgetfulness you will harbor bad feelings and then remind your spouse of these things long after they should be forgotten.
Who was right about the color of bathroom walls in your first apartment doesn’t matter in the long run. Who remembered the name of your first next door neighbor doesn’t matter in the long run. There are other things to forget, such as who said the first harsh word when your discussion turned into something of an argument. There are many things to forget.
Some might call this forgetfulness “letting it go”. That is fine, because you are letting something go and not holding unto it. I use the term forgetfulness because you must make a choice to let it go and the only way to really let it go is to forget it. The difficulty is our natural tendency to remember stuff we should forget and then to think about these things too much. To remember the hurt and forget about the help. To remember the labels and name calling and forget the sacrifice. For a lasting and loving marriage, we must choose to reverse that tendency. We must forget better.
If we don’t learn to forget we will hold onto every hurt and annoyance and then these things will pop up when we are stressed. When they pop up will we throw these past incidents into the current situation and create chaos. We simply cannot remember and recycle every hurt. The result of remembering and recycling the hurts is stress, bitterness, resentment and eventually relationship fatigue.
It is time we learned how to forget better and choose to remember the kindness, the sacrifice, the intent and help of our spouse. If you can learn to forget the small stuff and remember what matters most, you can have a lasting and loving marriage.
One last word on this, forgetting is not pretending it didn’t happen. To forget we deal with hurts that run deep early, so they cannot get rooted in our relationship. We share what hurts then and help each other not do those hurtful things in the future and we recognize that some things are just not that big of a deal.
Here’s hoping you remember the great things about your spouse and forget the annoyances that shouldn’t be a big deal, and that you don’t forget their birthday or your anniversary.