Do You Want to Focus on Past Hurts or Present Hurts (Part 3 of 4)
So when spouses are ready to put closure to the past, they must decide how to resolve conflicts in the present so it does not become another issue you put into your bag. Spouses who want a happy marriage put closure to old hurts and wounds and find ways to protect their present so the past does not poison the present and future. Probably one of the best strategies to do this is to value learning how to hate and learning to never allow the past to get repeated. Those spouses who hate, value never going back to old patterns and baggage. A good exercise that I recommend to spouses is to make a list of 5-10 things in their marriage that they know they never want to go back and do again. Maybe it was a time when they crossed the line and hit or pushed their spouse. Maybe it was a time when they intentionally wanted revenge and did something just to get back at the other person. We are human and do hurt each other, intentionally or not, but we all must be mature and learn from our past so we can make a turn and do something again and again.
I use the word hate as a means to motivate you to want to stop and end patterns and arguments in your present conversations. In other words, healthy hate is when both spouses decide to hate and dislike how you argue or how you fight or go into defense mode or accusing mode in order to protect yourself from having to deal once again with past baggage that has not been resolved. Learning to hate means learning to propose and ask your spouse to join you in finding a way to hate, so the two of you can really put an end and closure to the past as a means of not allowing the past to poison your present and future.
So learning to hate well means sitting down with your spouse asking if he or she wants to hate for the purpose of never going back, and saying goodbye to old hurts and resentments. When both spouses value and decide they never want to do this again, then both people are wanting to build a better future. If one spouse values this but still has a hard time resolving old hurts and resentments, maybe it might be a good idea for the both of you to go and see a counselor so past hurtful memories can be put behind you. Some past hurts, like cheating or physical, emotional or verbal abuse may take some time. But when couples work on this together, hopefully old wounds can get healed, like antibiotics to a skin wound, so spouses learn, heal, and promise never to go back and do this again. In many ways, learning to hate means valuing repentance. I know this is not a word we use much today in our conversations or thinking how we relate or talk to one another. But, to repent is to make a U Turn, go in a different direction, and start to focus on making a change. To repent means not wanting to go back and do hurtful patterns and mean things to one another.
When spouses value wanting to live in the present, both spouses want to hate and repent from doing the same hurtful patterns over and over again. The sooner all spouses can put an end to the past, the sooner they will start building a healthier future. Remember this: If you want to build a healthy future then you are going to need to build a healthy present. Can you look into the future and say we have a healthy marriage due to the healthy work we have done presently to create this? In other words, all healthy futures happen in all areas of life because of the healthy activities on a day by day basis to build a healthy future.