This week’s message is geared towards helping you build a stronger marriage. The added benefit is that tackling this issue also affects your children in a great way too. I heard a pastor say that marriage is the collision of two histories, good or bad. Sadly, most married couples didn’t really give it much thought before the wedding and thus never really deal with those underlying issues that can cause marital strife.
Dealing With Your Past is a personal responsibility and shouldn’t be taken lightly, not doing so can have harmful consequences. For example, I was brought up in a family that raised kids from a distance. What I mean is , I was born to unwed parents who decided to get married when I was four. Sadly, they separated and then divorced just two years later. We were not accustomed to talking about things or getting advice as kids and this spilled over into my marriage in the beginning.
Because my parents never dealt with their past, it affected their ability to raise children. My mother was from a home of unwed parents and she never dealt with her past. My father was from a single parent home as well and his father left him too. Because neither one dealt with their issues, it spilled over into their lives and then the lives of their children. My siblings each had children before marriage and only one, other than myself, is actually married.
I personally dealt with my past issues because I didn’t want my children to go through what I went through. I wasn’t groomed by my father into becoming a man so, I make sure that I use every moment I can as a teaching moment for my son. I also make sure that I confirm my daughter’s identity as a young girl so that as she grows, she never needs to seek approval from other males. I also take time to talk to my kids and have established an open line of communication in which they regularly ask for advice and guidance from me.
So, in short, how do you deal with your past? The following can be used as a guideline for you to become more aware of how your past affects your marriage and how to be proactive in dealing with your own past issues;
1. Take personal inventory of yourself: Sit aside some time to revisit your upbringing and your marriage. How were you raised as a child? What did your parent’s teach you directly and indirectly? Did you have good role models growing up such as a Godly father and mother? Did your parent’s divorce when you were younger and how did it affect you? What problems are you having with your spouse and could they be a result of something that happened or didn’t happen to you?
2. Establish Awareness: After analyzing yourself, share this information with your spouse and ask for their opinion. You may be surprised as to their awareness of how your past has affected your marriage. Talk about each discovery and ask if he/she noticed those things about you. Be very honest and withhold nothing!
3. Take Action: After revealing things to your spouse, establish a plan of action to tackle each item on your list. For instance, if you are a more reserved person who doesn’t share their feelings, you might want to set a time to talk with your spouse, one on one without distractions, and tell them how you are feeling about whatever is on your mind. Ask them to listen first and to only give advice if you ask for it.
4. Be persistent: Don’t make this a one time thing just to play off your emotions. Stay proactive and be continuously aware of your actions, reactions and your thoughts. Analyze yourself weekly, if not daily and understand where your responses, good and bad. Find ways to repeat the good, of course and avoid the bad at all cost.
This is just to get you started and more will be coming in future posts.
Stay On Guard!