How You Remember Falling in Love Says A Lot About Your Marriage

Falling in Love

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When you re-tell your falling-in-love story to friends, what gets your focus? What's the narrative through-line? The emotional tone of your story?

How you remember falling in love, according to marriage researcher John Gottman, can reveal a lot about the state of your relationship. "In happy marriages, couples tend to look back on their early days fondly," writes Gottman in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, "They tend to remember the highlights rather than the low points."

Say your fiancé arrived 10 minutes late to your third date — the night you felt yourself fall in love with him. What memory dominates? How sweetly harried he was, how sweaty he was from running, how worried he was you were mad or had left the restaurant? Or your feeling angry, inconvenienced and doubting?

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If it's your bitterness that predominates, it may be a sign that there's some negativity between you and your fiancé, and that it's becoming more intense. "When a marriage is not going well, history gets rewritten — for the worse," writes Gottman.

You can panic with this new knowledge, or you can get cracking on addressing the current challenges in your relationship before you get married. Having an open and honest conversation about it, or even meeting with a pre-marital counselor, can help you and your fiancé get back to a place where his 10-minute-late arrival becomes an endearing, sweet, sweaty, funny, and loving detail in your falling-in-love story once again.

Allison Moir-Smith, MA, is a bridal counselor, creator of How Brides-To-Be REALLY Feel videos, and author of Emotionally Engaged: a Bride's Guide to Surviving the "Happiest" Time of Her Life.

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