This post is a part of The 15-Day Relationship Challenge. If you’re just now tuning in, click here for the whole series.
Remember Us. Our story.
Good morning. Welcome to Day 8!
We’re taking a shift from focusing on you as an individual, to you two together as a couple. The next week will be a similar experience to last week, only the readings and assignments will be more directed to your relationship. These assignments might take you a little bit longer than last week, so just ask if you need more time to finish these well. If you missed any of the days/assignments from last week, now is a great time to pause the challenge here and get caught up.
Today is about your relationship story. The story of us: How we came to be together.
All great stories have similar themes, characters, and storyline. There’s the hero/heroine, a partner, villain, purpose/plot, the journey, struggles, hope lost, hope found, a guide, and happily ever after. These components of a great story are only great because we all live a similar story.
We’re all embroiled in a fight of good vs evil, and in our context here today, we have a partner in this fight. Unfortunately in this fight, we mistake our partner for the evil and ourselves for the good. We’ll get to that later this week, but today we’re going to help you tell your story. There are three main parts you’re going to tell about your relationship: Origin, commitment, and passion.
Your story involves this guy who met this girl, and they started finding reasons to spend more time together. Perhaps it was love at first sight (or fight!), or maybe you both came along for the ride unsure about the other person. Regardless you both had some first impressions that clearly didn’t dissuade you from getting together.
Your story also involves some kind of promise to one another. A promise of commitment to, but also a promise of giving up others. Commitments to someone are only good insofar as you let go of the other someones you used to be committed to (parents, exes, self, possessions, etc). You might have used the phrase “forsake all others” and truly a better phrase doesn’t exist to describe the surrender of two people to one another. Fidelity means we live our lives on behalf of benefiting the other, in all manner of things. Most of us didn’t have a clue what we were committing to!
Lastly, your story involves passion. Passion for each other. Passion for sex. Passion for love. Passion for the euphoric feelings of being together until all hours of the night. Just like fire, passion is a beautiful and powerful force. Left unwatched it can burn out of control, or lose it’s flames. Something has happened to your passion for one another and has turned into something like a raging wildfire to a pile of ashes with a barely felt presence of heat. Or perhaps you’re somewhere in between those two metaphorical places. Regardless of where you are, the story needs to be told.
On our 15th anniversary I took my wife on a 3 hour car ride. We stopped at each of the significant landmarks (or representational landmarks for those out of state) in our relationship, and I read aloud the part of our story that took place there. It was a great for me to remember, as it was for her to hear. We both needed to remember where we had been, and where we were going.
Today you’re going to answer the question of “where have we been.” What story will you tell? Dr. John Gottman says that happiness in couples increases when they choose to tell stories of positive past experiences together. Happiness decreases when these same couples tell negative stories from their past. I invite you to leave the negative experiences alone for another day, they probably won’t go too far away!
- What did I think about my spouse in reading today’s material? Was it kind? Was it thoughtful? Was it loving?
- Did I have feelings, thoughts, questions, or stories that came to mind?
- What is something I can do for them today?
- How can I welcome and receive what they have done for me today?
Write your story. Take the 3 components discussed above, and write what comes to mind about these questions:
- What do you remember most about the early dating days with him/her?
- What’s something you’ve never told about that meeting?
- Where was your first kiss?
- What hope did you find for your life in your relationship together?
- From a positive perspective, What do you miss about you, and about him/her, and about your relationship from those early days? (Note: this is not an opportunity to air resentments, or past hurts. Save that for another day)
- When did you know you wanted to commit your life to him/her?
- What was it like for you waiting for the right time to ask, or to be asked?
- What didn’t you know about yourself then about commitment that you wished you would have known?
- What was hopeful about your commitment together?
- What are the three most admirable traits about your spouse?
- If you were stranded alone on an island for six weeks, what would you miss the most about your spouse?
- What is a story of passion together that you never tire of telling?
Hello! Welcome back. Great to see you again. How was your day?
Stories are awesome. They give us hope, they let us see things about ourselves, and they provide clarity on the battles we find ourselves facing. What isn’t named cannot be celebrated, nor can it be fought. I hope the story you worked on telling today has brought some life and hope into you and your relationship.
Take 10-15 minutes tonight with your spouse to talk through your day.
- What were the highs and lows?
- Where were you surprised?
- Was there anything different about your day because of the assignment(s)?
- From this mornings reading, what stood out to you?
- If you’re willing, share your answers to the assignment.
Write a note of gratitude for the work your spouse has put in to the challenge thus far.