How to Forgive the Past and Move Forward in Your Marriage

Forgive Spouse - Find out how ruminating on your mate's sins and flaws only creates a bigger divide in marriage. Then follow Julie's 5 ways to forgive and move on. #forgivemate #forgivespouse #forgiveness #messymarriage #marriagematters #ruminating #bitterness

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!

Forgive Spouse - Find out how ruminating on your mate's sins and flaws only creates a bigger divide in marriage. Then follow Julie's 5 ways to forgive and move on. #forgivemate #forgivespouse #forgiveness #messymarriage #marriagematters #ruminating #bitterness

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”]

Continual Forgiveness

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 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 …

Spring Clean Marriage - In this blog series, you'll discover ways to clean your marriage and attitude toward your spouse. Click to find out more! #marriagematters #godlyspouse #messymarriage #springclean #springcleanyourmarriage #attitude #conflictsinmarriage

Check out my (Beth’s) first published Bible study! Click the image below to go directly to Amazon to find out more about it!Ephesians Bible Study - Click the link to head to Amazon to find out more about this powerful Bible study on Ephesians. #Biblestudy #Bible #Bibleverses #Scripture #quiettime #devotional #Godsword #studyscripture

Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me MondayKingdom BloggersLiterary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdayPurposeful FaithTell His StoryRecharge WednesdayPorch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies WednesdaySitting Among FriendsDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementGrace and Truth Faith and Friends Faith on Fire FridayFresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday


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22 responses to “How to Forgive the Past and Move Forward in Your Marriage”

  1. I had always been a person that was pretty easy to forgive others…..then I got married at 16! I have shared before in Beth’s comments how I am in my 2nd marriage but a total marriage experiences for 28yrs. In those years I have definitely learned so many lessons on forgiveness. I think that the term resentment was the one that I seemed to struggle with most in my current marriage up until about 4 yrs ago….the Lord clearly woke me up in that my resentment and throwing things up at my husband was only damaging us more. Honestly, it was from there that the healing of our marriage began! So I can give testimony of the power of forgiveness in marriage! Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Julie! I’m sure it will be a help to many. It reminded me to keep this a priority!! #inspirememonday linkup


  2. This is great, Julie. Your honesty, open-ness, and wisdom are a bright light to all.

    I learned to forgive the hard way…by having pancreatic cancer. Old troubles aren’t worth keeping. And that thought inspired a sonnet. Hope you like it!

    Forgiveness came, and lives here now
    to brighten every day,
    and I wonder why and how
    I tried to keep it all at bay.
    The things I thought so vital
    are now a fading mist
    of wounds without a title;
    of what did they consist?
    Now I’m dying to forgive
    and that’s the literal truth,
    for ’tis cancer that has let me live
    and defeat my idiocies of youth.
    Such a relief to smile and say,
    “It’s over now, and it’s OK.”


    1. Andrew- thank you for your encouragement and the sonnet you’ve shared! I’ve heard that when we store things in our bodies it can come out in a physical ailment…. are you alluding to this with your cancer?
      So glad you commented?


      1. That wasn’t supposed to be a ? But a !..commenting on my phone isn’t the best😉


      2. Julie, please forgive my delayed reply. I didn’t intend to say that what I had stored in my body came out as illness (though it’s certainly possible).

        It’s more that cancer has let me put aside the vanities and conceits that kept me imprisoned in a gaol of self, past, and strivings.


    2. I love your sonnet.


      1. Calvonia, thank you so much!


  3. Julie,
    I can be the queen when it comes to ruminating over hurts (past or present). The problem with that is the more I ruminate, the larger something becomes in my mind. Mix that with a healthy dose of pride and you’ve got fuel for a roaring fire. I am learning to try to nip it more in the bud. Rather than let frustrations build, I try to discuss vs. argue my feelings. Then, try to keep an open mind, that I may have done something to hurt my spouse as well. With problems it’s rarely 100% the fault of one spouse. Owning up to my part in things has been a humbling, but good practice to follow. Lot’s of great wisdom here. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Bev- I may be the princess of rumination then since you stole the top spot! Yes, talking it out right away is something I’m trying to do more of, also going to God in prayer and asking Him to guide me needs to be part of my steps.
      It’s easy to speak hurt in that heated moment versus praying and asking Him to show me how to love and apply grace!


  4. Julie, thank you for this encouragement to let go of the past and to press on. We model Christ’s unreasonable grace and forgiveness of our own past when we forgive our husbands and move forward into newness.


    1. Michele- only with Christ can we do any of this! What a great model we have to lead us!


  5. Forgiveness is absolutely key in close relationships of any kind. I think the most helpful truth for me in becoming WILLING to forgive is that holding on to resentment and unforgiveness hurts me the most. In what way can refusing to forgive benefit anyone, including myself? It can’t. That’s good motivation to pursue a heart of forgiveness. Thanks for this post. It’s an important one!


    1. Jana- I think you nailed it… we only hurt ourselves to holding on to the hurt! We need to let it go to be free and enjoy our relationships!


  6. Pride is often the roadblock to forgiveness. That small but large word you brought out in this post, resonated with me, Julie. Pride tells me I deserve better…to have a spouse who doesn’t hurt me. But the Lord opened my eyes to how farfetched that is when an extended family member was upset over a very insignificant thing then told me I should quit doing things I need to ask forgiveness over. My response? “Well, wouldn’t that be great if we could all be perfect like Jesus and never required forgiveness from God or people!” So when I remember I have been forgiven much by God, it helps me offer forgiveness to others, especially my husband. It isn’t easy as you beautifully said. But God helps us see our own need of forgiveness and then extend it to others. Great post!


    1. Karen- thank you for the words of encouragement! Pride is always part of it. I like to tell myself that I don’t have issues it’s pride but right there it’s a huge red flag of pride😊
      I’m my worst enemy when it comes to my relationship most times, it isn’t my husband but me😉

      Lots of forgiveness and grace is required in marriage!


  7. I have to be so careful of this. I can definitely get stuck in a rut and find reasons that my husband has made me angry, and I feel I need to hold on to the hurt so that he can feel my pain. This, however, is not God’s desire, and I certainly do not want the sentiments reciprocated. These verses are perfect for the occasion.


    1. Brittany- It’s so easy to hold on to the hurt! It takes God to help us in the flesh! I can’t do marriage without God:)


  8. Julie, what great advice you offer here! I agree with all your steps to forgiving your spouse, especially with living intentional with forgiveness. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I hope I am always wise and intentional in this area in my marriage. I would never want unforgiveness to overtake us.


  9. I have a tendency to mentally simmer over the unforgivable things my husband had done. I will not dare call him out on them but inwardly I press rewind over and over. It’s emotionally damaging to our marriage and it is toxic to my mind. After 37 years of marriage you would think I’d know better and do better. I’m a work in progress. Thanks Julie for pulling up the rug and revealing the dirt.


    1. Yes, Julie, forgiveness is so necessary in any relationship, especially marriage. In fact, the offender can never repay the debt incurred because the loss is always greater than the ability for recompense. I pray I can be more ready to forgive.


  10. The pride and listing old offenses – both show up all too often in marriages. You gave some wise counsel here, Julie.


  11. Christ has been teaching me to set aside my past and forgive- to let go of those who have hurt me. I pray when he brings me sometime to share my life with, i can glean from your advice and example. Thank you, Julie!


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