Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

Can You Imagine Forgetting Your Spouse?

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2011 Oct 14

Posted by Jim_Daly Oct 13, 2011

It seems like a scene straight out of Hollywood, but with a script almost too implausible to believe – even for fictional film:

At the time a pilot and CEO of a private jet company, former NFL player Scott Bolzan, slips on some oil at work, falls hard, hits his head on concrete and forgets everything.

And I mean everything.

Rushed to the hospital, a nurse informed him that his wife was on the phone.  Not only didn’t he know who his wife was – he claims he didn’t even know what a “wife” was!

After being reintroduced to Joan, she tried to help him remember his playing days in the NFL. 

He's said to have replied, “What’s the NFL?”

Scott and Joan have two children, Grant, 19, and Taylor, 16.  He suggests that he had to be reintroduced to them, too.

Although his memory wasn’t jogged upon seeing either his wife or children, he reports being nevertheless moved by the moment. “[There was] something instinctual, built into my genetic makeup, that let me know, deep down, that I’d been here with them before.”

Some doctors believe that Scott suffered total amnesia because blood flow was cut off from a key part of the brain that manages memory. They don’t believe he’ll ever regain what was lost.  The only way forward, they say, is to relearn everything.

It’s one thing to have to relearn facts and figures – but to have to learn to love your wife and children all over again? 

Some experts have questioned the validity of Scott's story. They say he is cashing in on a falsehood and not telling the truth, that even if he fell and hit his head, he wouldn't forget everything. I do have to admit, it's a curious story, but whether fact or fiction, the premise of such a "recovery" highlights a fundamental truth:

Love is more a decision than it is an emotion.

In fact, this decision is what is at the heart of marriage. When we marry, we’re making a deliberate decision to not just love our spouse when the positive and romantic emotions are running high, but also when the tide turns and times become tough. In fact, marriage, at its core, is a future-based commitment.

Let me ask you:

If you lost your memory tomorrow, could you learn to love your spouse all over again?

If you’re unsure of your answer to that question, perhaps it’s time for you to re-evaluate your understanding and appreciation of marriage in general and your marital vows in particular.

Albert Einstein was more right than he realized when he said that gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love. The fact is, people fall into love for all kinds of reasons – but we remain in love because of a daily and deliberate decision to do so.

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