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Elephant Memory

A lady said to me, “My husband has an elephant memory.” He never forgets anything—especially things she says to him in the heat of an argument. In times of anger we oftentimes say the most cutting and hurting things. We do not live together as husband and wife very long before we know what really hurts each other. Then when an argument comes up we usually strike for the jugular vein. We say the most hateful, hurting, hideous things possible.

Usually we don’t really mean those things. We are just trying to inflict punishment. Oftentimes we are sorry for what we said. We would be ashamed for other people to know what we said. However, once the words have been spoken, they cannot be retracted and they often lodge indelibly in the mind of the person who was hurt by them. They almost never forget. One man said of his wife, “My wife has a terrible memory—she never forgets anything.” Most of us are that way. We seldom forget past hurts and wounds. If you are having this problem in your marriage, several things will help.

1. Don’t live in the past. One of the greatest blessings of life is to have a “good forgetter.” It is also one of the essentials of a good marriage. Any two normal people are bound occasionally to do and say hurting things that need to be forgotten. The apostle Paul once described himself as “forgetting those things which are behind.” If we don’t learn to forget, we will find ourselves collecting resentments through the years that will make us bitter and joyless people. If you’ve ever said anything in anger that you didn’t mean, then you can understand that your mate probably has too. So, give the forgiveness you want and expect. 

2. Practice self-control. Don’t allow your anger to express itself by belittling your mate. You don’t have to do that. You don’t say cutting, hurtful things to your friends or they would drop you. You don’t say them to your boss or he would fire you. You control your temper and your tongue with these people. Therefore, you can also control it with your mate. The tongue is the hardest of all things to control (James 3:7-8), but you can do it with God’s help. 

3. Make the most of your memory. The ability to remember is one of God’s greatest gifts. It sets man apart from all other creatures. With it we retain the wisdom of the ages and the joys of life. This means that “an elephant memory” can be a good thing if you use it correctly. So use it to remember the good times you’ve had together. Remember the fine qualities of your mate’s life. Remember birthdays. Remember anniversaries. And above all, remember to forget. 

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Paul W. Powell - www.PaulPowellLibrary.com

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