Cherished memories

by

This summer changed my life forever.  I know this sounds a little corny, but my experience abroad in Italy did indeed change my outlook on life and my commitment to helping families!  The magnitude of the greatness of this experience is hard to put into words.  At times, when people ask me about my experience abroad, I almost feel like a deer in headlights.  How can I explain standing in front of Michelangelo’s statute of the David, sitting on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, eating authentic Italian cuisine, and becoming a part of the Romani Castelli community (the list could go on and on)?  Well, words just do not measure up.    At times, it almost feels like my time in Italy was a dream—almost too good to be true.  Whenever I feel this way, I will take a look at my photo album in order to remember my cherished memories.

As I was thinking about how easy it is to forget the wonderful experiences that have occurred in our lives, I also contemplated on how it is easy to forget some of the wonderful experiences that we have in our relationships with others.  When I think about the goodness that I have experienced in my personal relationships, I feel like a deer in headlights again—mere words just do not measure up.  Remembering the cherished memories from my relationships helps me to appreciate my loved-ones more.  And in essence, when I am conscious of those memories, I have positive expectations for my interactions with them that usually come true.  You know, it is interesting how researchers have found the same experience to be true for couples.  For example, research has shown that when individuals generally have positive attributions (explanations) for their partner’s behavior, their partner tends to act in ways that reinforce those positive assumptions.  Also, I think that it is a little easier to make those positive attributions of our loved-ones’ behaviors when we remember the cherished memories we have had with them.   So, what are the cherished memories that you have of your relationships?  Why did you decide to marry your partner, or be in a relationship with your significant other?  At what moment did you know that you were “in love?”  How has someone made you feel like you are irreplaceable?  Thinking about these moments may help to fuel the development of future cherished memories.

~Cassandra Kirkland, M.S.

Graduate Research Assistant

Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative

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