Miriam Zeitlin explains what we can learn from the Elephant and Chimpanzee

Remember & Forget: Two-Steps to a Happy Marriage

Navigating the jungle of love and marriage can sometimes feel like an expedition. Despite the abundance of Jewish marriage books out there, sometimes its the simplest things that we can learn from. Here is an easy survival guide inspired by our pals in the animal kingdom: the elephant and the chimpanzee. The two step guide to a happy marriage.

Now, you might wonder, “What on earth do these creatures have to do with my marriage?” Here is a great lesson to learn from the jungle: when it comes to marriage, it’s wise to adopt the memory of an elephant for all the wonderful deeds your spouse does and the memory of a chimpanzee for all the not-so-glorious moments.

Remember Like an Elephant

Elephants are renowned for their incredible memory. Legend has it they never forget. Imagine applying this elephantine memory to your marriage, where every kind act, every thoughtful word, and every moment of support from your spouse is etched in your mind forever.

Did your spouse take out the trash without you asking? Remember it. Did they bring you coffee in bed? Etch it in your heart. Did they let you sleep in while they watched the kids? Keep it front and center in your mind. These moments, big and small, are the bricks that build your relationship and perfect your shalom bayis.

Forget Like a Chimpanzee

On the flip side, let’s talk about our other guide in this marital safari—the chimpanzee. Unlike the wise old elephant, chimps are not exactly champions of long-term memory, especially when it comes to the less pleasant things. They are known for their forgetfulness. And that, my friends, is a trait worth emulating for a happy marriage.

Did your spouse forget to pick up milk on the way home from work… again? Did they sit on the couch scrolling on their phone while you cleaned up after dinner, alone? It’s time to channel your inner chimpanzee and let those memories swing away into the oblivion of the jungle.

The Secret to Happiness in Marriage

By remembering the good like an elephant and forgetting the bad like a chimpanzee, you create a marriage filled with gratitude and forgiveness. This doesn’t mean ignoring serious issues or not communicating about problems. It means focusing on the positives and not letting the small, negative things accumulate, like unwanted junk mail in your mind.

Imagine ending each day by recounting a positive memory or action of your spouse rather than dwelling on any frustrations. Over time, this habit transforms your perspective, highlighting the love and goodness between you and making the occasional annoyances seem trivial and easier to overlook.

A Jungle of Joy

So, as you navigate the dense forests and mysterious terrains of marriage, remember the elephant and the chimpanzee. Keep your pockets full of peanuts for the elephant, reminding you to cherish and remember the good. And perhaps keep a banana or two on hand as well, for the chimpanzee to remind you the art of letting go of the little grievances.

In doing so, you’ll not only create a happier relationship but also a life filled with laughter, love, and the kind of memories that make your heart feel lighter. After all, in the grand safari of life and marriage, it’s the journey together that matters most, filled with moments of elephantine remembrances and chimpanzee-like forgetfulness.

For more advice and guidance on marriage, contact Miriam Zeitlin, experienced Brooklyn-based marriage coach.

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