Today, I’m excited to introduce to you my next guest blogger in the “Spring Clean Your Marriage” series—Julie Loos. She’s sharing about how subtle and destructive ruminating on our mates’ failures and limitations can be to our marriages. Be sure to check out her bio below, as well as making her feel welcome by commenting here and sharing to all your favorite places around the web!
Can you relate?
Many times when my husband and I argue, I bring up the past. It’s a really bad habit, and I know it is, but there is something about bringing up dirty laundry that seems to put me on a higher pedestal (at least in my mind—I guess I have a problem with pride).
Actually, sometimes when I’m frustrated with my spouse, I will ruminate on how I’ve been hurt in the past. And we all know what we think about and focus on causes it to grow.
Isn’t that how it begins?
We ruminate on an action our spouses did, pout when we explain how we were hurt, and then argue to get our point across or to try to get our spouses to validate our feelings.
Guess what happens with that…the feelings grow more negative and the drift between the two of us just gets bigger and bigger.
Bringing up the past is like adding fuel to a fire. Add it to any relationship, and it explodes!
“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” —Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT)
The Answer to Problems in Marriage
[bctt tweet=”Forgiveness is really the answer to all the problems we encounter in our marriages. Without it, we will never move forward. @juliealoos #moveforward #forgive #SpringCleanYourMarriage” username=””]
The problem is, forgiving our spouses sometimes isn’t an easy thing to do (and if there is abuse, please seek a professional).
If we step back for a minute, think of all the things we’ve done to God either blatantly, or even unconsciously, and realize that God forgives us and doesn’t hold it against us, we can then see why it’s so important to forgive those in our lives.
Can you imagine if God kept all the hurt we caused Him? If He were human like us, how much that would wear Him down? What a gift to us to forgive repeatedly.
Here’s the deal …
[bctt tweet=”Forgiveness is required for us to heal from any hurt. It isn’t weak to forgive, and it benefits us more than the person we need to forgive. @juliealoos #forgivenessbenefitsus #SpringCleanYourMarriage ” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
In the Bible, the disciples ask Jesus how many times they are to forgive a brother (or sister, or parent, or spouse).
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! —Matthew 18:21-22 (NLT)
Don’t you think it’s interesting that in essence Jesus is telling us to always be ready to forgive because he knew we’d need to?
Friend, I know sometimes it’s so hard to forgive, and in your mind, it might feel like it’s giving the other person a free pass. When we forgive, it doesn’t mean the person is off the hook, it means the pain is real, but in order for you to move past, heal and grow, you need to forgive.
Now this doesn’t mean that we can keep putting ourselves as a target for another person. We should put up boundaries to keep someone from continually hurting us. Seek professional help, and if it’s deemed that the relationship is abusive, to move away from it are all warranted.
When Pain Is a Result of Unforgiveness
Rick Warren says that hospitals would be a lot more deserted if people would forgive. Many of the diseases and aliments that people suffer from are from holding on to pain and unresolved feelings from the past.
“Those who have hurt you in the past cannot continue to hurt you now unless you hold on to the pain through resentment.” —Rick Warren
The truth is, in the close union of marriage, mistakes, and hurt are always going to be a part. Two sinful humans living so close are going to create some hurts and pain.
If I’m honest, it’s easier to live with the pain and unforgiveness. Once again, our hospitals and chronic disease and illness can point to this.
It takes less hard work to stay stuck, ruminate, pout, and argue our way through life. Going through uncomfortable hard work, having growing pains, and working through all of this is no easy job, but strong marriages aren’t built without intention and purpose.
Moving Forward in Our Marriages and Forgetting the Past
If we want to be the best we can be in our marriages, we need to work through all the issues and not get stuck ruminating, pouting, and arguing.
If there’s anything I’ve learned through 20 years of marriage is I’m full of pride. I have lots of expectations and just as I need to forgive on repeat, I create pain for my spouse and need his forgiveness also.
My brain likes to focus on how I was hurt and use that as fuel when an argument happens.
I need to be more intentional in those moments to ask God to lead me to think of in regards to my spouse.
Marriage requires faith, flexibility, personal development, growth, and striving to make it better. Learning to forgive is a process that requires us to forgive over and over until our last day here on Earth.
6 Ways to Overcome the Past and Move Forward …
- Ask God to help you forgive.
- When thoughts return to ruminating, pouting or arguing, think of good things and what God wants us to focus on.
- Live with the intention to forgive.
- Ask God to lead you to be willing to forgive and forgive.
- Seek professional help.
- Remember Christ’s willingness to forgive you!
When we talk about decluttering our heart when it comes to marriage, it’s letting the past hurts and regrets go. It’s growing more Christ-like in our marriages by doing away with the junk so we can grow a stronger bond with our spouses.
Julie Loos is the mom of 5 kids and has been happily married to Greg for 19 years. She loves to read, eat chocolate, drink iced tea and spend time writing in the midst of messes. You can find her blog at http://www.unmaskingthemess.com. Click on the links to connect with her on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
How can you use what you’ve gone through in the past as a catalyst to grow more Christ-like in your marriage?
What insight from Julie’s post do you need to do more of and remember most?
Be sure to join me next week in the “Spring Clean Your Marriage” series, when I will be sharing how to “deep clean up” your soul, which is essential to cleaning up the messes we all cause in marriage! Check out the image below to see the other fine bloggers joining me in this series …
Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Kingdom Bloggers, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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