I still remember how thrilled I was with my new iPhone!
I’d never owned such a sophisticated cell phone in my life! That afternoon, I went home and looked at all the features and I remember calling my husband for the first time like it was rocket science! I was so excited it had a built-in camera. A 2-mega pixel on the back! It was the year 2008, and yes it was the iPhone 3! I remember being impressed that it had 8GB of storage and 128MB of RAM on a 3G network! Oh boy!
Ten years later we have at least another seven newer versions of iPhone and still counting! How quickly the newness runs out. Looks like it goes even faster than our payment plans! Of course I’m talking about technology here, and if you need a new phone every year, that’s great. There’s a market for that.
But seriously, what about the things in our life that aren’t devices? Does the freshness in our relationships get stale too? Do they fade faster than what we’d banked for?
I am hoping a marriage doesn’t automatically go into some rut mode after the 25th Anniversary! Or, that our relationships are not somehow unwillingly entered into a “newer model” contest too! When do we run out of ideas to talk about with our kids because they’re always on their phones? At what age do we stop understanding what our kids are saying because “we just don’t get it”?
If we still have our parents, did the age gap get too wide to talk to them? So we stop trying because they’re prone to forget. I’m sure it happens but hopefully we can still fix it. Most of it, anyway.
Maybe paying attention to the people in our life is potentially more important than technology. Let’s not give the ones we love for granted! If we have a spouse or a friend, it’s so important to remember why you fell in love with them in the first place.
September is the month, twenty-two years ago, when we started dating with my husband. I love to remember our love story. How we fell in love at work and how we got married and raised a family. Your husband or wife might have had some birthdays between that time and now, of course! Life happens to all of us, but essentially that’s the same person. Remember what you most liked about him/her when you first met? The aspects of their personality you were so drawn to? There must be a reason you picked them in the first place, of course. So how do we still keep these relationships new?
I read a sign in a store just the other day that said: “Every love story is beautiful but ours is my favorite.” I didn’t buy it, because we’re running out of wall space, but I still love what it says!
It’s so important to keep these memories fresh in our minds. When we remember it, the feelings all seem to come back along with the memory.
I think that doing new things together with your spouse is a fun way to keep up the relationship. Having time to communicate, but I don’t mean via text, more like in 3D! Finding ways to you can nourish that relationship and feel loved as well.
Focusing on the things you admire about her/him. What are their gifts? Tell him or her what you appreciate about them because it will give them an instant boost of self-confidence and they will feel so loved! How do these special people in your life help or encourage you? It’s crucial they know this.
Maybe you'll have better luck, but I found that if you decide to talk about their defects instead, somehow that conversation never goes down very well. It’s better to think about the things that make you laugh, or remember the happy times you shared. That’s going to refuel the marriage or the relationship much faster than criticizing.
If you have kids, you might think, Wow! They were so cute growing up, but now they are teenagers and they’ve turned into a total different person! I heard a funny Mom say about her kids: “Who are these children and why are they calling me Mom?”
I think we’ve all been there at some time! It happens. But how can we reconnect to our kids in more positive and teachable moments that can improve our communication with them, without feeling frustrated?
I love to listen to what my boys tell me because I always learn something about how they view the world or how they think. It’s amazing to see these glimpses of maturity if you really listen to what they have to say.
Such a blessing we have Google to look up later half of what they are talking about! But really, enjoy them while you still have them at home!
If we’re lucky enough to have our parents, let’s not give up on calling them or visiting them just because the age gap is growing too wide. They cared for us growing up and it’s our turn now to visit and care for them. Let’s keep in touch with them, even if we know they’ll probably forget what we chatted about last time. It makes their day every time we call them. Making time for them, is letting them know we still love them.
I’m pretty sure there’s no fairy dust for difficult relationships. I’m not trying to sugar-coat everything that’s caused you pain in your life. Relationships take work and some might not even be possible to save. It's just what it is.
But today we can still honor the family we do have, the friends we still care for and our parents who are still living.
Let’s tell these special people in our life how much we love them. Almost like the very first time when they felt “new” to us because there’s just only one of us. There’s no newer updates on our model. Each one is unique.
Hopefully this is more important to us today than the next iPhone!
All the best,
Maria A. Mansfield
Author: Life is Worth Getting Better