BENGALURU: Do you remember the first time you exchanged a text with your loved one? Or the date you both said the first awkward ‘I love you’ to each other? Or that date when you were actually out on your first real date – date? If you think about it, the number of different firsts that a couple experiences together is practically endless, and yet, we pay particular importance to all these happy anniversaries. Yet, there are a whole lot of other anniversaries that pepper our relationships.
Would you remember the first time you both had a fight – a real argument that left you both pissed off and in conflict with each other for a while? How about the first time either of you talked about ending the relationship? The time when you seriously considered if you had fallen in love with somebody else, or wondered if you fell out of love with this person?
Was there a particular party or event that you, in whatever state of awareness, ended up kissing someone else – and your partner noticed? Or maybe that evening when your partner’s best friend hit on you, and your partner broke up with the best friend and put you on notice? Maybe the date you decided that you didn’t really like your partner’s parents and refused for the first time to spend a holiday with them?
What about the memories of these less than happy anniversaries? Do you brush them away and leave them in bins to be discarded, or do you remember those days as well as a couple and mark them in some ways?
Happy anniversaries are easy to celebrate, to have a festive occasion with friends and families and enjoy ourselves. Yet, these not-so-happy anniversaries have their purpose and occasionally, it might actually be a good idea to remember these dates as well.
Imagine if you and your partner actually mark the date when you came close to splitting up, and on the anniversary of such dates, you take the time to think back about where you were and where you are now. Imagine further if you could both talk about it with each other, acknowledge what had happened, revisit the tough moment together, and check in on how you feel now.
What do you feel might happen? Would the old wounds open, or would you both be able to experience how far you have come?
If the former, then there is still some healing to do. There is some forgiveness waiting to happen, some growth still needed. Work on it. If the latter, then it becomes an opportunity to reaffirm to each other that your relationship is a choice you make each day, every day, and that being together is a choice you both are making. Affirming that again, can help you both feel closer.Either way, there is a lot to be said to mark the not-so-happy anniversaries, along with the happy ones.
The author is a counselor at InnerSight