Do You Remember the Good Times?

Two years ago, I acted on God’s nudging to start a blog called Messy Marriage. I felt that He wanted me to write about all the ways life and marriage is and can be messy.

But I also felt God wanted me to tell of how He is able to redeem the mess—making it into something beautiful and reflective of His heart to a hurting world. I hope that we, as a team, have come close to fulfilling that vision here.

But I must say, this blogging ministry hasn’t been easy for me. Not surprisingly, it’s also been messy at times! But I’m learning so much in the wrestling of words, the facing down of giant fears, and the unveiling of unflattering vulnerabilities. It truly has been a blessed journey.

And I hope that you too are learning here and being blessed as well, my friends.

In true nerd fashion–had my eyes closed in this pic!

Anniversaries offer a special opportunity to reflect on the good God has done in our marriages and lives. Just this past Sunday and Monday, my husband and I took our youngest to check out our alma mater way down in Southern Missouri.

It’s the place where we met and began to date. In fact, I think it’s rather ironic that we won “nerdiest couple” in a college nerd contest, since we now represent “Messy Marriage!” 🙂 Aside from that dubious distinction, I was amazed at the flood of old memories that came tumbling back as we walked the aisles of the buildings and strolled the sidewalks and roads of the campus.

It reminded me of the treasures we all hold in memories.

Too often couples who’ve been married for any length of time neglect the practice of remembering—at least remembering the good times and blessings God has given them. 

Consider taking just a few minutes today and meditating on the many blessed memories you have of your marriage and family. And if you have the chance, perhaps plan a date that is designed around your shared past …

Get out an old photo album or two that can help you remember the good ol’ days and look/laugh through it together. Go to a restaurant or favorite spot to reminisce. As you sit and chat, brainstorm with your spouse about the fun things you loved to do with him or her.

I think practicing “remembering” will certainly increase your gratitude, but more importantly, it will deepen your sense of love and connection.

And since it’s our 2 year anniversary here at Messy Marriage, we have a 6 book give-away for those who live in the continental United States and comment on this post by 1 p.m. CST, Saturday, October 13, 2012. Three of the books available to win are from John Townsend, Loving People and the other three are from Gary Chapman, Desperate Marriages.

To enter, please tell us one of these three things:

  • A good memory from your marriage
  • What you plan to do for a reminiscing date
  • How Messy Marriage has helped or encouraged you

(If you don’t have a link to your blog in your comment, please email me your email address at messymarriage@gmail.com as well, so that I can contact you if you win one of the books we’re giving away. Thanks!)

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Linking up with NOBH, Imperfect Prose, Women Living Well, and New Life Steward

  • A good memory: Eating at Taco Bell for our first Valentine’s Day. We were moving the next day and had to finish packing, so we didn’t have the time to do anything “special”. It was a memorable time because it helped us realize that date nights are not what keep the marriage strong. It’s just living life TOGETHER. 🙂

    • Yes, this is so true, Jenni. We really need to “do life” together, but I love initiating “fun-times” in the middle of that life together as well. It’s what brings a spark to what can often dwindle to a dying flame in our love lives. Thanks so much for coming by and weighing in, my friend!

  • A good memory: Eating at Taco Bell for our first Valentine’s Day. We were moving the next day and had to finish packing, so we didn’t have the time to do anything “special”. It was a memorable time because it helped us realize that date nights are not what keep the marriage strong. It’s just living life TOGETHER. 🙂

  • Heather C

    Awesome reminder! One of my good memories is of Scott taking me for a ride to look at Christmas lights. We listened to Christmas music and ate ice cream from DQ. We drove all over Edwardsville.

    • Thanks for sharing a special time with Scott, Heather! Isn’t it fun to remember those long-gone-by days? I hope you make it a special date this coming Christmas season. 🙂

  • Heather C

    Awesome reminder! One of my good memories is of Scott taking me for a ride to look at Christmas lights. We listened to Christmas music and ate ice cream from DQ. We drove all over Edwardsville.

  • messymarriage

    Thanks for sharing a special time with Scott, Heather! Isn’t it fun to remember those long-gone-by days? I hope you make it a special date this coming Christmas season. 🙂

  • messymarriage

    Yes, this is so true, Jenni. We really need to “do life” together, but I love initiating “fun-times” in the middle of that life together as well. It’s what brings a spark to what can often dwindle to a dying flame in our love lives. Thanks so much for coming by and weighing in, my friend!

  • First, happy blogaversary! Are you at all like me and had no idea you’d have that much to share? I’ll make it to my one year blogaversary next month and I’m still in shock…

    And now I’m all excited because we have planned a reminiscing date for this Saturday!! We used to go to this huge park near our college and rollerblade and fly kites and have picnics. we were cheap 🙂 but they were sooo much fun! It’s a drive for us now, but we’re doing it this Saturday! we’re bringing our bikes this time around, but still 😉 I can’t wait!

    • Thanks, Nikki. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years. It seems like yesterday. And yes, I kind of did know that I had A LOT to share. I had another blog before this one and it kept going in the direction of marriage, so I took the leap to be more focused on this important topic.

      I’m so glad you’re going to plan a special reminiscing date, Nikki. It sounds like a perfect way to spend time with your guy. I love an “active” date outdoors too. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  • First, happy blogaversary! Are you at all like me and had no idea you’d have that much to share? I’ll make it to my one year blogaversary next month and I’m still in shock…

    And now I’m all excited because we have planned a reminiscing date for this Saturday!! We used to go to this huge park near our college and rollerblade and fly kites and have picnics. we were cheap 🙂 but they were sooo much fun! It’s a drive for us now, but we’re doing it this Saturday! we’re bringing our bikes this time around, but still 😉 I can’t wait!

  • Christina

    When life gets crazy and our marriage gets centered on responsibilities and kids, I remember fun times from the past, trips we’ve taken together. I have shadow boxes of trips we’ve taken, just the two of us which helps trigger rose memories.

    • That’s great, Christina. I love to have special reminders of times that my husband and I had in various places around the house. In fact, above our bed are pictures of our honeymoon and a second honeymoon we took a year later. Good times!

  • Jessica

    happy anniversary! what a good discipline. after reading this i texted my husband at work of a memory of sitting on a chairlift together and the conversation we had on it. we went back and forth on how fun that day was. your blog is a huge blessing, beth! okay, sometimes painful, because you bring up issues i don’t want to face, but after some softening of my heart, i will read it and God always uses you to challenge and encourage me. thank you for putting yourself there and sharing your own struggles too.

    • Awww, thanks, Jessica! Your kind words have really ministered to me. And I’m so glad this inspired you to connect with your hubby over a meaningful memory, my friend. That’s what it’s all about–being intentional about connecting with our mates in a way that is meaningful. 🙂

  • Heather Spooner

    Messy Marriage encourages me with every article. Most importantly, its not afraid to ‘step on my toes’ and tell me what I need to hear. It introduced me to wonderful authors like John Townsend. I have begun walking in truth and love in my relationships.Thank you so much. Happy Anniversary!

    • This seems to be the theme – “I step on toes” here at MM. 🙂 Believe it or not, that’s a new revelation to me and I think explains a lot, Heather. I hope that I also provide lots of grace–cuz we all need some of God’s good grace! Thanks so much for your kind words, sweet friend. And I’m also very happy you’ve discovered Townsend. And, by the way, his colleague, Cloud is amazing too!

      • Heather Spooner

        Beth, you are being a true friend to us when you “step on our toes”. Hebrews 10:24 says that true Christian friends stir up one another to live righteously. The message of God’s grace permeates your writing. I want to encourage you to keep “stepping”. It stings for a bit, but the healing is sweet.

        • I’m replying to you again on the off chance that you get this comment sent to you, Heather, because I’m not sure how to reach you any other way! Please know that you are one of the winners of the book giveaway! Email me at messymarriage@gmail.com and let me know your mailing address soon! 🙂

  • Vicki

    I very sweet memory for me is when my husband and I took a long weekend drive down to Southern Illinois. It was beautiful fall weather and the leaves were changing color. We took our time and the back roads. If we felt like stopping at rummage sales along the way we did so. We stayed at a B&b that had no form of connection to the outside world (tv, phone, etc). On our last day we took a walk along the river front where Chris drew “I love you” in the sand. This time of year makes me think of that really special weekend.

  • What a great reminder to celebrate memories! On Wednesday night, we have a small date night where Tyler puts himself to bed. Usually we play games and just hang out. (Sometimes we argue – definitely not in the plans but hey it happens) Tonight is my night to plan date night and I wished I would have read this earlier so I could’ve pretended that I had this great date planned. I have 2 things in mind. I have been wanting to create a scrapbook with a page for each of the years we’ve been married and writing down our memories of that year together so we could have it to remember and it would also be a special book for Tyler and his future spouse (He needs to know that marriage is not a breeze). That is one of my goals to complete by Christmas. The 2nd thing is I will plan a reminiscing date for my night in 2 weeks. We will watch our wedding video and just sit and talk about the great time we had at our wedding. Thanks Beth for this great advice to really REMEMBER why we fell in love. We are coming up on 16 years and when you have lived in/created a MM, those positives are VERY easy to forget. Looking forward to seeing what God will do with your blog in the NEXT 2 years! I know He has blessed me tremendously! Happy Anniversary!

    • I’m so glad you are investing in your marriage in this way, Becky. Your scrapbook project is a great idea–especially, as you’ve said, to show your son an insider’s view of marriage. And I really hope your reminiscing date brings you and your hubby closer. I wish we (my husband and I) could watch our video, but it’s on a VHS tape and we don’t have a VCR anymore! ha!

      And thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement! They mean so much to me and so do you, my friend! Hugs to you!

  • Blog life is so fun isn’t it? Messy…yes…but fun!
    My fave memory is decorating our first Christmas tree. It made Charlie Browns tree look wonderful. I am so not exaggerating! I can post pictures of the fishing line we had to tie up the branches to hold our bulbs. Haha!! We laughed for years about that tree!
    http://www.pagesofprayer.blogspot.com

  • Lisa

    When i was pregnant, my husband would lay his head on my belly and talk to the baby and she kicked his head every time!

  • Christina

    When life gets crazy and our marriage gets centered on responsibilities and kids, I remember fun times from the past, trips we’ve taken together. I have shadow boxes of trips we’ve taken, just the two of us which helps trigger rose memories.

  • Jessica

    happy anniversary! what a good discipline. after reading this i texted my husband at work of a memory of sitting on a chairlift together and the conversation we had on it. we went back and forth on how fun that day was. your blog is a huge blessing, beth! okay, sometimes painful, because you bring up issues i don’t want to face, but after some softening of my heart, i will read it and God always uses you to challenge and encourage me. thank you for putting yourself there and sharing your own struggles too.

  • messymarriage

    Awww, thanks, Jessica! Your kind words have really ministered to me. And I’m so glad this inspired you to connect with your hubby over a meaningful memory, my friend. That’s what it’s all about–being intentional about connecting with our mates in a way that is meaningful. 🙂

  • messymarriage

    Thanks, Nikki. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years. It seems like yesterday. And yes, I kind of did know that I had A LOT to share. I had another blog before this one and it kept going in the direction of marriage, so I took the leap to be more focused on this important topic.

    I’m so glad you’re going to plan a special reminiscing date, Nikki. It sounds like a perfect way to spend time with your guy. I love an “active” date outdoors too. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  • Heather Spooner

    Messy Marriage encourages me with every article. Most importantly, its not afraid to ‘step on my toes’ and tell me what I need to hear. It introduced me to wonderful authors like John Townsend. I have begun walking in truth and love in my relationships.Thank you so much. Happy Anniversary!

  • messymarriage

    This seems to be the theme – “I step on toes” here at MM. 🙂 Believe it or not, that’s a new revelation to me and I think explains a lot, Heather. I hope that I also provide lots of grace–cuz we all need some of God’s good grace! Thanks so much for your kind words, sweet friend. And I’m also very happy you’ve discovered Townsend. And, by the way, his colleague, Cloud is amazing too!

  • What a great reminder to celebrate memories! On Wednesday night, we have a small date night where Tyler puts himself to bed. Usually we play games and just hang out. (Sometimes we argue – definitely not in the plans but hey it happens) Tonight is my night to plan date night and I wished I would have read this earlier so I could’ve pretended that I had this great date planned. I have 2 things in mind. I have been wanting to create a scrapbook with a page for each of the years we’ve been married and writing down our memories of that year together so we could have it to remember and it would also be a special book for Tyler and his future spouse (He needs to know that marriage is not a breeze). That is one of my goals to complete by Christmas. The 2nd thing is I will plan a reminiscing date for my night in 2 weeks. We will watch our wedding video and just sit and talk about the great time we had at our wedding. Thanks Beth for this great advice to really REMEMBER why we fell in love. We are coming up on 16 years and when you have lived in/created a MM, those positives are VERY easy to forget. Looking forward to seeing what God will do with your blog in the NEXT 2 years! I know He has blessed me tremendously! Happy Anniversary!

  • Happy Anniversary Beth! I can see that it’s been an amazing two years, and your blessings have been shared far and wide. Here’s to many more anniversaries to come : ) ~ Ann

    • Awww, thanks so much, Ann! I really appreciate your friendship and encouragement from afar. I can’t wait to meet you face to face someday … at an AACC conference down the road! 🙂

  • Happy Anniversary Beth! I can see that it’s been an amazing two years, and your blessings have been shared far and wide. Here’s to many more anniversaries to come : ) ~ Ann

  • Emily Wierenga

    oh friend, what an awesome photo! i love it!!!

    • Yeah, it gave me a good laugh to look at again! And may I say, we still know how to get our “nerdy on” even after all these years. 😉

  • Emily Wierenga

    oh friend, what an awesome photo! i love it!!!

  • Finding a blog written by another Christ-focused counselor has been a rare thing, a true gift of encouragement to me in recent months! I’m so thankful!

    • Yes! It truly has been a blessing to me as well, Linda. Thanks so much for your support and encouragement, my friend!

  • Finding a blog written by another Christ-focused counselor has been a rare thing, a true gift of encouragement to me in recent months! I’m so thankful!

  • Congratulations, Beth on the 2 year anniversary! I have a wonderful memory of my marraige. One Valentine’s Day Jim surprised me with flowers and 4 chocolate covered strawberries. He rarely acknowledged Valentine’s Day, so I was very surprised! I thanked him, and asked if he would like to go out to dinner that evening. I remember seeing his panicked look, and since that year Valentine’s Day was on a Friday, I can only imagine what went through his head. When I continued that I really wanted dinner at Jack-in-the-Box, I saw his relieved look and heard him saying “yes” at the same time. I smile several years later with that memory…

    • Sounds like it was the kind of special memory my husband and I would have, since we both enjoy the simple pleasures of life … one of which is “chocolate covered strawberries!” haha! And it also sounds like you and your husband understand each other very well. That’s a sweet nuance I’m sensing about your story. Thanks so much for sharing it with all of us, Shirley!

  • Congratulations, Beth on the 2 year anniversary! I have a wonderful memory of my marraige. One Valentine’s Day Jim surprised me with flowers and 4 chocolate covered strawberries. He rarely acknowledged Valentine’s Day, so I was very surprised! I thanked him, and asked if he would like to go out to dinner that evening. I remember seeing his panicked look, and since that year Valentine’s Day was on a Friday, I can only imagine what went through his head. When I continued that I really wanted dinner at Jack-in-the-Box, I saw his relieved look and heard him saying “yes” at the same time. I smile several years later with that memory…

  • Funny thing, we just had a date on Tuesday and spent the drive to the restaurant talking about what restaurants we consider “defining” us at different points in our 15 years together. It was just what you’re saying, Beth. Such a great place to draw out more memories connected with those times and bless each other with roads we’ve traveled. A fantastic idea! 🙂

    • That’s too cool, Kelli! I’m so glad this idea resonated with you and that you and your hubby had a head start on reliving some good times together. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, my friend!

  • Funny thing, we just had a date on Tuesday and spent the drive to the restaurant talking about what restaurants we consider “defining” us at different points in our 15 years together. It was just what you’re saying, Beth. Such a great place to draw out more memories connected with those times and bless each other with roads we’ve traveled. A fantastic idea! 🙂

  • Heather Spooner

    Beth, you are being a true friend to us when you “step on our toes”. Hebrews 10:24 says that true Christian friends stir up one another to live righteously. The message of God’s grace permeates your writing. I want to encourage you to keep “stepping”. It stings for a bit, but the healing is sweet.

  • messymarriage

    I’m so glad you are investing in your marriage in this way, Becky. Your scrapbook project is a great idea–especially, as you’ve said, to show your son an insider’s view of marriage. And I really hope your reminiscing date brings you and your hubby closer. I wish we (my husband and I) could watch our video, but it’s on a VHS tape and we don’t have a VCR anymore! ha!

    And thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement! They mean so much to me and so do you, my friend! Hugs to you!

  • messymarriage

    Awww, thanks so much, Ann! I really appreciate your friendship and encouragement from afar. I can’t wait to meet you face to face someday … at an AACC conference down the road! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    Yeah, it gave me a good laugh to look at again! And may I say, we still know how to get our “nerdy on” even after all these years. 😉

  • messymarriage

    Yes! It truly has been a blessing to me as well, Linda. Thanks so much for your support and encouragement, my friend!

  • Oh my goodness, Beth, this post is so timely. I was just reminiscing today about the day my husband and I met, how we found each other (or, more accurately, how God pointed us to each other!) at a time in life when both of us wondered if we’d ever meet the right one. And I looked around my messy house stacked with toys and crayons and Goldfish crackers and was struck at what a blessing my mess is. This life I live – this frazzled, beautiful, tear-my-hair-out wife and mommy life – is a gift. How far we’ve come. Suddenly all of my little frustrations melted away and I realized I am wildly blessed. Thank you for your blog! It’s worth the journey, yes? (P.S. I was excited to comment on this even without the giveaway! Great post!)

    • Isn’t that cool? … when God puts on our hearts what our blogging friends are sharing about. I’ve had that happen to me so many times and it’s always a blessing. I’m so glad that you love your “mommy and wife life,” Becky! That’s exactly what I was thinking tonight as I climbed the stairs to my bedroom. It’s a good place to be–enjoying the blessed messes God brings us through. 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind words and “yes” it is worth it all when I keep my eyes on the One I’m doing it for. Thanks, dear friend, for stopping by and joining the contest–even though your kind heart would’ve commented anyway! 🙂

  • Becky Kopitzke

    Oh my goodness, Beth, this post is so timely. I was just reminiscing today about the day my husband and I met, how we found each other (or, more accurately, how God pointed us to each other!) at a time in life when both of us wondered if we’d ever meet the right one. And I looked around my messy house stacked with toys and crayons and Goldfish crackers and was struck at what a blessing my mess is. This life I live – this frazzled, beautiful, tear-my-hair-out wife and mommy life – is a gift. How far we’ve come. Suddenly all of my little frustrations melted away and I realized I am wildly blessed. Thank you for your blog! It’s worth the journey, yes? (P.S. I was excited to comment on this even without the giveaway! Great post!)

  • messymarriage

    Sounds like it was the kind of special memory my husband and I would have, since we both enjoy the simple pleasures of life … one of which is “chocolate covered strawberries!” haha! And it also sounds like you and your husband understand each other very well. That’s a sweet nuance I’m sensing about your story. Thanks so much for sharing it with all of us, Shirley!

  • messymarriage

    That’s too cool, Kelli! I’m so glad this idea resonated with you and that you and your hubby had a head start on reliving some good times together. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, my friend!

  • messymarriage

    Isn’t that cool? … when God puts on our hearts what our blogging friends are sharing about. I’ve had that happen to me so many times and it’s always a blessing. I’m so glad that you love your “mommy and wife life,” Becky! That’s exactly what I was thinking tonight as I climbed the stairs to my bedroom. It’s a good place to be–enjoying the blessed messes God brings us through. 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind words and “yes” it is worth it all when I keep my eyes on the One I’m doing it for. Thanks, dear friend, for stopping by and joining the contest–even though your kind heart would’ve commented anyway! 🙂

  • Writing down positive memories is one of the first things I have all my marriage clients do. It’s so important to reflect on those good times and blessings! Thanks for linking up and Congrats on 2 years of blogging!

  • Writing down positive memories is one of the first things I have all my marriage clients do. It’s so important to reflect on those good times and blessings! Thanks for linking up and Congrats on 2 years of blogging!

  • messymarriage

    I’m replying to you again on the off chance that you get this comment sent to you, Heather, because I’m not sure how to reach you any other way! Please know that you are one of the winners of the book giveaway! Email me at messymarriage@gmail.com and let me know your mailing address soon! 🙂