A good friend and I were talking about how alluring it is to glamorize a time in the past, especially if we are feeling weighed down or discouraged by the present.
Sometimes it’s a song or a smell or a location that stirs up memories of a particular time in your life.
When I hear a song by the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Meatloaf or Yaz, I think of college (even though some of the songs pre-date my college years by quite a bit!)
It can feel invigorating and melancholy to reminisce—even if only in our heart—about a different time in life, especially if that time in hindsight looks so good. And it’s not just a feeling about where we were or what we were experiencing, but also the people with whom we were doing life.
Maybe more than just doing life. Maybe they were people with whom we were having sex (or even just fooling around).
It’s easy to idealize those moments, isn’t it? It’s tempting to yearn for those moments, to the point that we downplay what was less than ideal about them.
We wash those memories clean of the imperfections or unhealthiness or dysfunction, because it sharpens the contrast between then and now. We want then to look way more appealing, because the feeling we get from just thinking about then eases the pain of now.
If this all sounds familiar, you are not alone. Been there. Done that. I know what it feels like to romanticize in my heart past relationships or moments, including a few sexual moments. I would be the last to pass any judgment on you if you tend to do this when you are feeling dismayed by your current lot in life.
But I have learned a few things along the way, and my heart is that you can, too.
Sometimes hindsight isn’t 20/20. If you are clamoring for a past relationship (or even just for the feel that past relationship gives you as you think about it now), take a breath and recognize hindsight isn’t always 20/20. There is a reason the two of you did not stay together, and it’s good to keep that in mind.
Romanticizing the past doesn’t do anything for your current situation. I know I don’t know your current situation, but I do know this. Energy and emotional effort you put into dwelling on the past is energy and emotional effort you don’t have available for nurturing your life now.
If you are feeling lonely or discouraged about intimacy in your marriage, pining for a past lover isn’t going to make you feel less alone. If anything, it may make you feel more alone. I don’t know all the solutions to what you do need, but I am fairly confident you don’t need anything that ultimately leaves you feeling more alone.
When you find yourself going down memory lane to revisit in your mind another time in your life, I encourage you to ask God for guidance on how to live life forward. Yes, I totally get that living life forward may entail so much. So. Much. But the truth is we can only find our footing moving forward.
My heart’s desire for me and for you is the Lord’s equipping to live life forward. It’s not bad to have fond memories of the past. We just can’t camp out there.
And I have a 5 video series available on building better sex in your marriage. Great way to invest in your marriage! You can find out all about it at this link: Better Sex in Your Christian Marriage.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.