Ever tried to listen to a story told by someone who is repeatedly interrupted by his or her spouse “correcting” every other statement made? Then they get into an argument about who remembers it right, ending with one of them saying “whatever” or “that’s not how I remember it”. Most annoying is that the things being “corrected” usually don’t matter to the story. Don’t you dread those couples?
Ever been one of those couples? I’m just asking.
I confess I have tended towards this in the past. I’m doing that less and less as I learn more and more about how very poor our memories are. A dozen folks see something, and when you ask them about what they saw you will get a dozen different stories. The longer you after the event you ask, the greater the divergence of the recollections from the reality. Thing is, they will all insist they have remembered it right. Some folks are so stubborn that if you showed video of the event they remember incorrectly, they would accuse you of editing the video!
Our memories are often wrong, but our failure to understand that results in us thinking we are recalling things correctly – and everyone else is wrong. We think that clearly recalling something means we are correctly recalling it, and that’s just not the case. To put it into the context of marriage, if you and your bride remember something differently, the odds that you are right and she is wrong are less than 50% – way less. No, I’m not saying her memory is better than your memory – rather I am saying the odds are very good that you are both recalling the event inaccurately.
You can make your marriage a lot less stressful if you will accept that your memory is not as good as you think it is, and choose to act as if what you recall is not, necessarily, completely accurate. Then, when you and your bride remember something differently, don’t make a big deal about it. Maybe even let it slide without saying anything! (You could get really radical and assume that some of the time her memories are better than your memories.)
By the way, I am NOT advocating allowing your bride to exaggerate, mislead, or flat out lie. Letting her get away with such things is neither right, loving, nor in her best interest.
Read more: How Memories are Distorted and Invented: Misattribution is one in excellent series of articles on the ways our memories can fail us. The other articles are linked at the bottom of the page.