Memories: The Intimate Glue That Binds


"Romantic gestures." That's the search term I used while cruising the 'Net. "Breakfast in bed." That's what popped up as the classic "oldie but goodie" way for guys to score points, or what in our house are called Frequent Foreplay Miles. Some may find that romantic, but I think it's weird. You don't sleep on your kitchen table so why would you eat in bed? Maybe I'm too practical. Then again, I'm spoiled. My husband is the chief egg-scrambler and serves all my meals. For me, romantic would be breakfast served in the dining room on a linen tablecloth instead of on place mats in the kitchen nook. Still, I have to admit that one of my favorite memories—the kind that makes you feel all warm and oh-boy-do-I-LOVE-that-guy gushy—involves breakfast in bed.

It was 1998. My boyfriend (now my husband) Dale and I had been traveling in Peru. After a month of local cuisine—including Guinea Pig—served on a four-day hike in the Andes, four nights of camping in the rain forest, and on floating islands in Lake Titicaca, we would have sold our souls for a hot dog. Our last day was spent in the capital city of Lima. After checking into the hotel, we wandered aimlessly down one street or another. Maybe it was divine intervention, maybe it was dumb luck, but as we turned a corner, there in the distance glowed the neon sign of a TGIF. Like brood mares who've caught sight of the barn, we headed straight for buffalo wings, cheese burgers, and Budweiser. It was divine. We thought it couldn't get any better. We were wrong.

Just up the street was a Dunkin' Donuts. The proprietor had locked the door and was cleaning up when he saw us peering through the window, looking like hungry orphans despite having gorged ourselves at TGIF. Taking pity, that wonderful man unlocked the door and sold us an assorted dozen.

The next morning we propped ourselves up in bed, flipped open the donut box, and popped the cork on a bottle of champagne we'd been saving to celebrate our time in Peru. We sipped champagne from plastic hotel glasses and ate the entire dozen donuts before snuggling back under the covers for—well, you know.

Moments like our Peruvian breakfast become treasured memories. They are the intimate "glue" that binds a couple. While some memories are more momentous than others, shared experiences need not be monumental to be precious. The afternoon hike when you rested under a tree and, holding hands, quietly enjoyed the view, or the day the rose bushes, now fully matured, were planted can be as lovingly remembered as the day your child took his first step.

Some moments may be more precious to one than the other. It doesn't matter. What does matter is that those moments can be revisited as a reminder of what's been and a promise of what's to come. When you are discouraged or the relationship is challenged, memories are the balm that soothes. The promise of more such memories is the incentive to move forward.

Like all couples, Dale and I have had our ups and downs. Getting through the down times is a lot easier when you harken back to and relive feel-good memories simply by saying, "Hey, remember when . . ."