Why We Must Remember the Past - Crosswalk Couples Devotional - May 9

Why We Must Remember the Past
By Jen Ferguson

"Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me.” Isaiah 46:9

Stories are powerful. This is why we often retell them over and over again — they make us feel good, they cause laughter, they bring a sense of nostalgia. We often tell stories when we’re gathered with family, when we’re reconnecting with friends, when we are remembering loved ones and olden days. The retelling does something within our hearts and impacts our emotional state. There is power in the remembering.

This is not a new discovery. Continually throughout the old testament, God tells the Israelites to remember, too. In 1 Chronicles 16, King David delivers this psalm, possibly the first one ever used in a tabernacle service:

Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, you children of his servant Israel,
you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones. He is the Lord our God.

His justice is seen throughout the land.
Remember his covenant forever—
the commitment he made to a thousand generations. (vv. 12–15, emphasis mine)

Twice David reminds his people to remember all God has done and the promises He has made to them. Throughout the entire song, David implores the Israelites to give thanks for what God has done in their lives—for His provision, their deliverance, and the strength He has given them to endure treacherous trials. He knows that their remembrance and gratitude will fortify their souls, creating an oasis when they feel spiritually or physically dry and weak.

Just as the Israelites could recall the fiery pillars that led them through the wilderness after their escape from Egypt and the manna that dropped from the sky to fill their hungry stomachs, I can remember times Craig loved me and loved me well. I sit and think about how he cried with me when I discovered my hearing loss was more severe than I thought and I would have to wear hearing aids in order to do my job as a special education teacher well. I think about the time he got the sewing machine off the high shelf and helped his youngest daughter sew a dress for her stuffed rabbit. I think about the coupon books he made me our first Christmas after I starting staying home with the girls because we couldn’t afford to buy presents for each other.

All of those times, I delighted in my husband. To remember those events from the past elicits that same feeling of delight I had when the events originally occurred. I am refilled with pleasure and enjoyment. I become enraptured by moments profoundly good. Remembering helps to shift my perspective. Instead of seeing my husband as a person who has hurt me with his addiction, I see a more complete picture of him. Yes, he has sinned, but he is so much more than that sin. And if I spend enough time remembering the good, the sin pales in comparison with who God created him to be for me as a husband.

These memories also help me to delight in him in the present, too, which allows me to love him better. as I am reminded of the good times, I seek to look for those glimmers of goodness in the present moment, no matter how dark that moment may be.

Sometimes, we are afraid to remember because we’re afraid to feel those emotions that first drew us to each other, especially if we’ve been hurt by our spouse. And yet, God uses the power of remembering to keep us tender, even when we want to harden ourselves with walls of self-protection. We need things like this to help keep us pushing through the hard, grasping the hope that God is still in this marriage with us and that He is able to make a way even when we do not see one or feel that one is possible.

When we remember delightful times or events and take time to notice new similar times and events, we become more apt to steadily recognize the good aspects of our spouse and our marriage. Make it a point to pull a good memory out about your spouse every day and watch for things he or she does that bring you delight, on a small scale or a large scale. Then, share your delight with your spouse with words of praise and thanksgiving. Thank God for those moments, too.

A portion of this devotional is an excerpt from Jen and Craig’s book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography.

Jen Ferguson is a wife, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping couples thrive in their marriages. She and her husband, Craig, have shared their own hard story in their book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography and are also creators of the Marriage Matters Prayer Cards. They continue to help couples along in their journeys to freedom and intimacy at The {K}not Project. Jen is also a mama to two girls and three high-maintenance dogs, which is probably why she runs. A lot. Even in the Texas heat.

It's time we get real about marriage & relationships! Join marriage coach, Dana Che, as she and her guests deliver witty, inspirational, real relationship talk from a faith-based perspective. New episodes of the Real Relationship Talk Podcast drop every Tuesday.

Real Relationship Talk banner ad

Originally published Thursday, 09 May 2024.