A friend asked me the other day how our first year of marriage was. I responded "Great- best year of my life so far" He then gave me this little nugget of wisdom:
Each year will feel like the best year so far, but you'll never feel like you want to go back to it.
How great is that?
Have you ever been somewhere amazing? Mexico? Europe? Japan? Even just somewhere close like Canmore? The trip was great- the food, the scenery, the weather. Everything about it made you want to return as soon as you possibly could. I think this is pretty normal. You experienced something wonderful, and wanting to experience it again is a pretty natural response.
But what if you knew that your next trip, whether to a new destination, or to the same one was going to be better?
Is it possible that you might even enjoy your current trip a little more? Instead of thinking to yourself "Oh, I don't want to forget this very spot right here by the waterfall. We need to come back here next time!" Perhaps... you could enjoy the waterfall that much more? Drink in the moment that you are in instead of anticipating the next time you will be there?
The truth is, is that we never return to the exact same trip. We might go back to Mexico, but our experience will never be identical. Time has passed since our last time there; we may have new likes and dislikes. We might be more interested in seeing the ruins this time, or maybe we want to try para-sailing or snorkeling. The activities will differ, as will our entire experience.... and if it didn't, how weird and mechanical would that be? Picture this:
"OK... Day 2, 11 am. Last year we were walking to the beach right now. Would you stop looking at that lizard on the tree?? Hurry up! We were halfway there last time! Oh, and don't forget to tell me how beautiful my eyes look against the ocean water when we get there"
Oh yeah.... that sounds like fun.
And to be completely honest, it might not feel better than last time. It's possible that you might yearn for the last trip because you really enjoyed that one restaurant, or the hotel you were in had fluffier pillows. You might even just crave the new and exciting- maybe going to the market now that you've seen the same hand carved statue a million times feels a bit tired.
But here's the thing - if you are always wishing for the same experience you had last time, you're bound to miss the new and exciting part of your current expedition. Maybe you're so busy searching for that tiny little restaurant by the beach, that you completely miss out on the new Japanese Village style place right in your own hotel. Or you're so upset that that turquoise and silver ring to match the earrings you bought is no longer at the same vendor's, that you don't realize how much you like the one with the red stone in it.
I'm not saying there is anything bad about nostalgia. Remembering a good time and feeling the good emotion that went along with it is great. I love that each time we return to the mountains my heart leaps at the memories of our honeymoon. What can be dangerous though is if you are missing the emotion you felt during that time. Wishing you could be back there. Looking back will always cause you to miss what is in front of you. That's just a fact. Unless you truly have eyes in the back of your head... but I think that's a whole other discussion.
I really have enjoyed this past year with Chris more than any other year I have had. I would be quite disappointed though, if next year was identical. We are both going to grow- personally, in relationships with others, and with God; and we will learn more about one another. By that definition alone, the next year will undoubtedly be better! How much richer does life get when we grow, change and learn? I can't wait to learn more about my husband- to know how to better relate to him, to serve him, and to love him.
In an attempt to not be naive, I am aware there might be times when I feel as though previous years were better for different reasons. We will go through harder seasons, I am sure of that, but instead of wishing things would go back to the way they were, I pray my heart posture will be that I will look forward to when it is better than it ever has been.
I'm grateful for the lessons of this past year, and all the amazing memories, but I refuse to desire the exact same moments to happen. The next ones; the next chapter will be so much better.
This post was the fourth installment of a new series Confessions of a Newlywed. I hope you'll track along with me, as well as some guest posts as we explore the topic of marriage.
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