As you go along in your married life, you may sometimes want to spend some time looking at old photographs. We are fond of the idea of "photographs and memories," even the old Jim Croce song with that title. We often even equate the two, claiming we have "lost all our memories" when a home burns, for example. We have come to love photographs. 

Too bad. 

The problem with photographs is that they present something that is not real. Look at a photograph of you from your wedding day. Is that still how you look? Is wearing a special gown on a special day really who you are? Is the hair and the make-up anything like the person you are today?

As we age, we can be somewhat troubled by the changes in how we look. We not only get older, we look older. Our figures are not what they were when we were younger. For women, especially, having children makes a big difference over the years. Photographs can deceive us into thinking that the image on the paper is the person we married. It is not, it's just an image. 

The person sitting at the table, or sleeping beside you, is the person you married. Maybe he does not look like he used to look. Let's be honest, we know he doesn't look like that anymore. You do not look the same either. Why should I look back at what my wife used to look like? Until about 150 years ago, every man and woman on earth lived this way. They lived with memories, not photographs. If I want to know how my wife looks, I look at her. I do not look at old images of her.

Sometimes, as I watch my wife, I see something that reminds me of how she used to look when we were young. There are looks, flashes, moments when I can see again the young woman from 30 years ago. I love those moments. I love her.

Now, if I looked at a photograph from 30 years ago, I suspect my impressions would not be really very accurate. I doubt that a person who has not loved her and lived with her for all these years would find as much to recognize as I find. I also know they would not be as thrilled with those memories as I am thrilled with them. 

I rarely look at old photographs. I see no reason to do so. My life is not contained in paper and ink but in my memories and in my heart. My wife is the woman whom I love and to whom I am married. 

So, for me, it is never "photographs and memories." It is real life, lived today, with the woman I love.

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