Secret to Happy Marriage “Remember When..” Talk

October 29, 2009 Katja Presnal

I got an interesting phone call this week, my quote about our happy love story was checked for an upcoming Glamour magazine article (in the January issue). The fact that it might be published is tickling me, but it made me think more love, marriage and how do we keep “it” going.

One way we do it, is the “remember when..” talk. More about that in a little bit.

I have been married for eleven years, and known my husband for twelve years. There are days that I feel like it has been an eternity, and days that I feel that time has gone too fast, and I want time to go slower.

I consider myself lucky.

I am living my Cinderella story and happily ever after, and I believe in love at first sight. But does it mean that I live a fairy tale and my marriage is always perfect, full of sunny days and sleeping on rose petals? Far from it! This marriage stuff is hard, and I think marriage is a constant battle. Using the word battle with all kindness here.

After 12 years I am still absolutely head over heels in love with my husband, but it hasn’t come easy on us. I have almost walked away three times. I like to live life to the fullest every minute and if I am not, I am not afraid of changing my life to make it better. And I’m not patient. At all. I’m sure my husband has almost walked away many many times. I am not the easiest person to live with, and I know it – hey, I have to live with myself everyday! But yet after all the mistakes, and the love, and the life we have shared, we still go strong as a couple. In fact, stronger than ever. More in love than ever.

One of the ways we do it is the “remember when…” talk.

Remember when we first saw each others
Remember when we first kissed
Remember when you proposed me
Remember when our first baby was born
Remember when we decided to move to the other side of the world

We remember together, cherishing the moments and memories, and getting that warm and fuzzy feeling of those moments when we fell in love with each others in the first place, and living again the moments when we knew “this was it”. We remember, so we know those first feelings were true, and still are true. We remember, so we can see that we still have the same feelings for each others, even though little altered by time. We remember, so we can see how many amazing moments we have shared.

But it is not just that. We remember the heartbreaking moments and the obstacles too.

Remember the good-byes at international airports
…. when we didn’t know if we were ever even going to see each others again
Remember when you left for Kosovo, and we were so scared
…. and I was pregnant with our first baby
Remember when we gave CPR to our son together
Remember when you held me in the hospital and fed me
…. when I didn’t have the strength

We remember, so we realize how far we have become. We remember, so we see we can accomplish anything and everything together. We remember that even on hard times, we have each others, and always had. We remember that we’ve had obstacles but instead of them tearing us apart, they have just gotten us even tighter together.

I think for a while we forgot to “remember when..”. Now we are doing it again, and it feels good. It feels good to share the memories and how they reflect on us now.

On bad times remembering the good times gives you hope.

On good times remembering the bad times makes you appreciative, and staying humble and thanking for each day for happiness you have.

One of my secrets to happy marriage is “remember when..” talk. What is yours?

Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (12)

  1. We married in 1998 so this past May was 12 years for us. Congrats to you for sticking it out and not walking.
    I enjoy the remember whens, but my hubby tends to roll his eyes. :) I think he likes them anyway.

  2. Naomi

    A good reminder! It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget why you got together in the first place.

  3. I’d have to agree, both as a marriage/family counselor and a wife. We try to have the “remember when” talks because it grounds us and brings us back to a place of familiarity again. The phase we are at currently is filled with tons of transitions, and not all friendly, so we have to rely on our “remember when’s” to stay focused. It’s hard and my mom always said relationships do take work, but if you can tap back into those past moments, the work doesn’t seem quite as hard.

    GREAT post!

    Tamara
    http://theunexperiencedmom.blogspot.com

  4. Wow thank you for such an honest post. My husband and I have been married for 4 years and every day is still an adventure. I will try to remember this when 11 plus names.

  5. Very poignant piece Katja. Your recommendations are something worth remembering – what a great tool to use! Remembering… I’ll have to make my own list.

  6. I think having the hard times with my husband keeps us solidified so we can enjoy the good times. So in a way, I’m grateful for our struggles because they draw us closer every time. And I mean struggles outside of our marriage…things we can’t control..sicknesses, deaths, etc. We have had plenty of these since we’ve been married. And they always seem to be a blessing in disguise.

  7. Lisa

    What a wonderful post, thank you for the reminder of “Remeber When” sometimes life just gets in the way and you are too busy or just too tired to “Remeber” I think after the kids are in bed tonight, I will take the time and some snacks and snuggle up with hubby and “Remeber When” tonight..

  8. Great post! We too almost ended it about 6 years ago…and I am thankful we didn’t. Marriage is a lot of work – no doubt, but worth every minute of it – if you are with the RIGHT person! I have been with my husband for 18 years (married for 8)…he has always been my best friend and no matter how bad things may get sometimes…we always laugh and find things to joke about….that is what I try to remember when I get “aggravated”. Every night we laugh about something….but I often here my friends say they haven’t laughed with their husband in ages…so that .makes me realize I do have something worth working at and holding on to. I love my husband with all my heart…its a much different kind of love than I had 18 years ago…but sometimes when I think it may be better if we were not together….I remember our laughter….our beautiful daughter…all the challenges….all the good times….all the experiences I haven’t shared with him yet and how truly empty my life would be without him….all of these thoughts make me realize there is just no one else for me……he may not be perfect…he may not be romantic…but he is fun, handsome, strong, hardworking, smart and the best damn dad in the world! What more could I ask for?

    Great post!!!!!

  9. What a great article. I love those “remember whens” b/c like you said, it helps us remember why we are still married. I’ve been with my hubby since 1990. That is almost 20 years together and I love him more each day. We argue, we laugh, we love, we say some not-so-nice things but in the end, we love each other and we both know it. It also helps looking at pictures of the both of us together back in the day. Ahhh, the memories.. Thanks Katja for a wonderful post!! I love your writing!

  10. Great post! Hubby and I have been together for 7 years and our secret is communication. He travels most of the time and we used to talk at any break we both had. I believe we are stronger because of it.

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