Marriage

Your Past vs. Thriving Marriage

One of our favorite marriage podcasts this year is talking about an excuse each month that gets in the way of having a mind blowing marriage. Over the next year, we plan to unpack these podcasts into bite sizes pieces that will inspire you towards a thriving marriage.

We encourage you to listen to the full podcast to benefit from the tips below. Not gonna lie, it can be hard to get both you and your husband in the same place to listen to a podcast together. We have found that driving is our best way for both of us to listen. Click here to listen to the full podcast—its only 30 minutes.

The first excuse that they breakdown is Your Past. We all have a past. Even in our marriage, where we have known each other since we were in 4th grade, and have dated since high school, there are still elements of our past that influences our marriage.

How does your past impact your marriage?

#1 – Identify what from your past affects your marriage. Have each of you grab a piece of paper and write down past circumstances that wiggle their way into your marriage.

#2 – Your past can be a communication bulldozer. Bringing up past circumstances, especially as a way to get under your spouses skin is never beneficial. The past can often be a trigger for people and cause communication to halt. When people have been hurt before, they fear being hurt again.

#3 – Staying in the past automatically breeds a negative mindset. Negativity gives way to more negativity.

It is likely you have seen each of these circumstances play out in your marriage from time to time. What do you do about it? How do you get over the past? How does the past not infultrate your marriage?

#1 – Make a logical decision to change. Are you willing to change your mindset? Are you willing to stop dwelling on the past failures of our spouse? Are you willing to start fresh?

#2 – Extend forgiveness. This is not easy and it doesn’t mean that you are forgetting the circumstances but it does mean you are willing to let go of the stronghold it has on your thoughts and emotions. It means you are willing to stop bringing the situation up in conversation as well.

#3 – Communicate your pain. It is impossible for your spouse to know your triggers or when a past situation is influences a current circumstance. Allow them into how you are feeling.

#4 – Focus on the present and what is good. At one point in our marriage, I made myself write out 5 things I like about my husband every day. Prior to this I was so focused on all his faults and what he was lacking that I forgot to see all the good in him.

We believe that story is very powerful. Therefore, we want to share our story on how our past has influenced our relationship. This story could be really long, so I will give you the shortened version. Our sophmore year of college, I was a counselor at a Christian Camp. I did not see Michael very much. During my time at this camp, I decided that Michael was not the right person for me even though we had been dating for over 5 years. I broke up with him. What I didn’t know is that he was thinking about proposing to me. Needless to say our breakup devistated him and since I was away, he couldn’t see me face to face to bring any reconciliation. Shortly following our break-up Michael began dating a girl for over a year. During this year, I realized what a fool I was and how much I really loved Michael. We tried to do the “lets just be friends thing” but it was so difficult when I was still in love with him and he stated he was no longer in love with me and was involved with someone else. Michael finally realized that he too was in love with me and ended his relationship with his girlfriend. We both loved each other but our past had so much distrust and hurt that we were not sure either of us could get over it. It took us many months and many arguments to get to a place where Michael would let me back into his life. Also, his parents did not trust me at all! I distinctly remember going to his mother’s house and talking to her about how much I loved her son, apoligizing for hurting him, and then convincing her that I was not going to do it again. (I found out a couple of months ago, that when we got married she still was not sure I was the right one for Michael. We have been married for over 14 years now—and she totally believes now that I am the perfect one for him!)

Both of us hurt each other during our one year break up and we hurt other people (I hurt his parents, because I hurt their son). We could have easily allowed the past to prevent us from seeing the future ahead.

Fourteen years later, we can easily talk about this hurt. We no longer have emotional attaches to the situation. We knew that in order to succeed we had to forgive and move forward.

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