I hope you didn’t forget…today is day #4 of ‘Women vs Men’ week!
Learning While Falling Apart
If you have followed me a while you know I was married the first time for 20 years. The marriage started breaking down around year 18 but ironically that was also when we started REALLY talking to each other about the marriage, who we were, what we wanted, how we felt. It really was a life altering period for me that I now deeply appreciate. Among things that I learned or I improved were my ability (and willingness) to listen and communicate, feel empathy, think ahead about consequences, and not assume the surface is the reality. I am grateful for those lessons, as is my new wife, Linda (though she knows I still have a long way to go).
Remember I Forget
But there is another thing those years taught me first hand. Kathy and I were in the middle of a long discussion about our marriage when she said ’But you once said…’ and she then proceeded to say what it was I supposedly said. I didn’t remember saying it. I asked her when I said it. She said, ‘about 1991′. She was telling me this in about 1999, 8 years later. My response? ’uh…1991? really?’ She not only remembered that I had said whatever it was I said, but she remembered the year. Now if this was an isolated incident I would chalk it up and forget about it. But Kathy did it other times as well when we were going over things from our past (including once remembering something I said from the year 1983!). My wife now, Linda, has also brought up something I said years ago with frightening attention to detail.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to get out of saying what I said. I wish I could remember things as well as Kathy or Linda. But I can’t, at least not yet. From my experience not many men can. I am sure some women can’t either, but I think overall they can remember a hell of a lot better than men do.
But there is a problem with remembering so well and that is that one can easily get stuck with that one memory in your head, playing over and over, and it can blind you to subsequent events, words, deeds, that modify or change that thing that is in your head. So, while forgetting important things we say or do is not always a good thing, it can also allow new, more relevant and true things to come in, things that are who we are now, not who we used to be.
What think you about this?
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, who does remember saying ‘I love you’ a lot to both my wives, no matter how far back it was.
Quote is anonymous
Here is a great duet from the musical ‘Gigi’ that brings this point out perfectly. My father used to sing the trademark line, ‘ah yes, I remember it well.’ when he would forget something from the past. I do the same thing now. Not many get it when I do that, but I don’t care. It makes me smile.
Speaking of remembering AND forgetting…While I was writing this I was browsing YouTube and came across something I remember very distinctly. My college roommates and I were LA Dodger fans watching the 1977 World Series when this happened. Funny though, in my memory she was wearing short shorts. Ah yes, I remember it well.