Of Memes And Marriage: How These Internet Sensations Can Help You

Love, Self

Memes are more than Ryan Gosling and Lolcats. One wife insists the idea will help marriage flourish.

In December 2011, Internet geek Len Kendall solicited the help of friends, along with the readers of Buzzfeed, to spread a picture of himself in various memes. The idea was to creatively and cleverly propose to the love of his life, Katie Holland, who is also an avid web user, with the message, "Katie I love you so much, can I haz your hand in marriage?" The memes went viral, and several hundred tweets rang out to "SayYesKatie." A few hours after his meme hit the Internet, Kendall did propose in person, and she did say yes.

Memes are the current rage across web-land, being shared via social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. So what exactly is a meme?

Evolutionist and biologist Richard Dawkins coined the term in his book, The Selfish Gene. The word is derived from the Greek form of "mimeme" which means to imitate. 8 Steps To Attract Positive Energy Into Your Life

This cultural phenomenon can be credited with the transferring of words and images from "brain to brain." According to Dawkins, memes are cultural transmitters that give longevity and power to particular ideas. Memes can be life-altering, as in the propagation of Biblical doctrines from age to age. They can also just be plain fun.

One of the more popular memes making its way across the Internet are the lolcats. Images of cats are paired with captions, some recognizable, which make the word structures memes in themselves. Websites have been created just to house the most popular memes for reference.

So for Kendall, using memes and the Internet was a logical choice to propose marriage. And it worked. But what about after the "I dos"? Can memes have any power during the marriage itself? In a word, yes. (Stay with me now.)  What A Year In Marriage Taught Us About Love

According to Dr. Martin Seligman, who was a past president of the American Psychological Association, positive psychology can use memes to "flourish" relationships. To flourish in the psychological sense is to live life abundantly by actively cultivating positive connections.

For years, psychologists endeavored to traditionally help people by finding out what was wrong, and then design a therapy to fix it. With positive psychology, the approach is to find the strengths and virtues of a person or relationship, and then build upon those.

To me, it's sort of like counting your blessings instead of your burdens.

If I target on all that is wrong with my spouse, those negative thoughts and feelings will surely be communicated in my words and actions toward him, and become evident to others. Those would be negative memes. 5 Steps to Break Negative Thinking & Stop Beating Yourself Up!

For instance, if I complain to a friend that my husband does not listen to me, more than likely she will adopt or voice a similar complaint about her mate, and so on down the line.

But if I focus on what is right with my spouse, I can create a flourishing meme. My husband is such a hard-worker. I have tried to communicate this fact over the years to our two children. I believe through my acknowledgment, and their own observations and experiences with their dad, that they really do appreciate all that he has done for us as a family. This was evidenced a few months ago. 6 Lessons I Learned By Talking To My Teenage Daughter

While we were visiting my daughter and her family in another state at Christmas, my husband was outside one afternoon working on their snow blower. As she looked out the window watching her dad at work in freezing temperatures, my daughter commented, "Oh, daddy, he is always taking care of things for us." I just loved hearing her say that.

More importantly, I love hearing my daughter share similar feelings about her spouse. She values and respects her husband's integrity and work ethic.

Dr. Catherine Hart Weber, a Christian therapist, extols the virtues of positive psychology on her website. However, she believes in combining the elements of this philosophy with the teachings of Christ, uniting science and faith, if you will. /node/63133

There are many verses in the Bible that encourage us to think positively. Philippians 4:8 instructs us on how to discipline our thoughts: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Lyricist Johnny Mercer, whose many songs were made famous by crooners Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, wrote the fun song, "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive." The song, first recorded in 1944, is sung sermon-like, because it was actually based on a sermon Mercer heard in church. The chorus goes like this:

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

Some of you may recognize the words. You can hear Bing sing it on YouTube for the melody. Paul McCartney just covered it on a recent album. From a sermon to a song—great words and a catchy tune—a meme! Nurture Relationships and Watch Them Flourish

If we would realize the importance of that song's message, what a turnabout our lives could take. Just think, if we would daily "take captive every thought" in obedience to Christ's teaching (II Corinthians 10:5), how much better our marital relationships would be. Our marriages would truly "flourish."

Now I am not saying we need to publicize our marriage memes on the Internet; we just need to internalize them in our lives, then see how they take flight.

So, I have a challenge for you. A quick-and-simple assignment. Will you try this for me? Or more accurately, will you try this for you? For you, and for your relationship? Our Challenge Can Be Our Greatest Gift

Here it is: Write down five things you love and appreciate about your spouse. Create your own poster memes and post them, not on your Facebook, but around the house or wherever you will see them. Then, this week, follow Christ's advice, and think about these things.