Skip forward a whole decade and a bit, and now our walls and bookshelves hold pictures and memorabilia of experiences we’ve shared together.
Thanks to these memory makers, our family has a clear fingerprint—a family identity uniquely ours among the six billion people in the world.
Memories are powerful family possessions that profoundly link hearts together. We obviously think everyone should be diligent in planning memories (as well as enjoying those that come as surprises) and taking necessary steps to save or catch memories.
Nearly any event has the potential to become a treasured memory. For example, soon after we were married, we took off to the seaside, just the two of us. It was cold, windy and overcast, but for some reason it felt magical walking on the beach, climbing on the rocks and eating fish and chips on a bench in the cold.
Not everyone’s idea of a romantic outing maybe, but we had an absolute blast driving, talking, and laughing together. To this day, it remains a fun memory of our early days together as newlyweds.
Someone once said, “God gave us memories so that we could enjoy roses in January.” Let me share with you what we’ve learned about creating a vase full of long-stemmed roses in the winter:
Memories are best made with loved ones. That’s why a marriage is a ready-made unit for the rich production and harvest of memories. Memories enrich a marriage by giving us a common language of shared experience.
When out with the children on a trip, we also took the opportunity to make the drive as fun as we could. We often played a game called “Beetle, Beetle,” which involved spotting VW Bugs on the motorway. Points were awarded depending on the colour or position of the Beetle. We would yell, “Multicolour Beetle moving; that’s four points!” Even though they’re much older now, the children still remember those days. Maybe they don’t want to admit they treasure the memories, but you can tell by the look in their eyes, they definitely do!
Memories take time. Our best memories have been born out of extended time together. If we could have driven to the seaside in 30 minutes, I doubt that we’d even recall going.
Memories are made of varied adventures. Too many of us get in a rut and don’t realise the many wonderful ways to share our lives together. Stephen and I camped out on the Brecon Beacons one time. It was cold, raining and blowing a gale, but there’s no way we’ll ever forget the experience of being out in nature and being snuggled up in our tent as the wind howled outside.
Memories are both planned and unplanned. We think it’s great to plan traditions around family get-togethers for holidays. And anniversaries and birthdays should be observed with the same intensity we give to holidays such as Christmas and New Year.
By making a big deal of your anniversary, you not only honour your partner, but also send a strong message to your family and others about the importance of your marriage. And a birthday—this is the one day of the year when each person should feel totally unique, honoured, appreciated, and loved.
And what memory is more special than a new arrival? It’s true we celebrate it with birthdays, but there are many more ways to remember the incredible, unbelievable event of a new life arriving in the world. Where babies are concerned it’s all about keepsakes, and the more individual and personal they are, the more we tend to treasure them.
Memories are celebrated. A memory isn’t a memory if you don’t talk about it, look at pictures of it, and laugh or cry about it. “Do you remember the time …” can be a joyful introduction to a family conversation. One of our favourite questions to revisit as a couple or as a family is, If you could keep only one memory of all our years together, what would it be? Why?
Do you have an appointed Memory Catcher in your family? You need one, because a certain amount of record keeping and documentation helps a memory last. Taking pictures or videos is a good way to do this, but also collect concert programmes, newspaper articles—any object that records and preserves the memory. Creativity opens many possibilities!
And of course, the collecting never stops, because they memories just keep accumulating. Which ones will you remember?