One of the ingredients necessary for a happy marriage is to make sure we deal with the issues of our past. The truth is the past isn’t the past until it has been dealt with properly, because our past effects today in a negative manner. Therefore, it is still the present.
Every person has some kind of baggage they bring in with them when they get married. Common examples of baggage are hurts that have never been dealt with, unforgiveness, generational sins from the wrong behaviors we were raised around, and quirks in our personalities that have never been fixed.
In order to deal with your past, you first of all have to be willing to be blatantly honest with yourself. We have a tendency to see the flaws in our spouse and associate them with how messed up their family is or past was but sometimes we are blind to our own issues. We need to honestly look at some of our less than stellar qualities and ask this question: “Could I be this way because of something in my past that I haven’t dealt with?”
The answer is always — yes! All of us are the sum total of our pasts. The good things in our past produce the good qualities in our lives today. The bad things in our pasts that we haven’t dealt with create personality problems, emotional issues, relational difficulties and last but not least marriage trouble.
When you begin dealing with your past, the first thing to do is to surrender to Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you anything or anyone in your past you need to deal with. The second critical issue is always forgiveness. All of us have deep hurts from our past. Without forgiveness, our hurts become festering wounds that never heal and cause our personalities to malform around them. The simple act of forgiveness can set you free from your past and free for your future faster than almost anything else you can do.
Finally, we must take responsibility for our own problems. An example is the issue of generational sins. As we realize that our parents may have modeled a wrong behavior to us we must forgive them and then repent to God for our own sins. If we live blaming our parents or others in our past for our problems, we will never be set free.
We must also learn to repent to our spouses and others around us for our negative behavior. As we see the association between our past issues and present behavior, we also need to see how that negative behavior effects others. When we do this and take responsibility for it our baggage drops off of us and our past truly becomes the past with no negative influence on our lives today.
Ask the Lord to help you as you surrender to the process. Don’t focus on your spouse. You’ll be surprised how quickly their baggage drops off once you begin to change.
ABOUT JIMMY EVANS
Jimmy Evans is founder and CEO of MarriageToday and co-host of MarriageToday with Jimmy & Karen, the marriage ministry and broadcast television program that airs to millions of households each week and in over 200 countries.