Forgiving the Past So Your Marriage Can Move Forward

Inside: We are often stuck in the past and when we use past grievances in our marriages, it does more harm than good. Here are 5 ways to forgive the past and move forward in your marriage!

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Today, I have the honor of participating in Beth’s series “Spring Clean Your Marriage” over at Messy Marriage. I hope you’ll stop over at her site and read all the posts she has for this series!

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?

Bringing Up The Past

Ruminate on an action our spouse did, pout when we explain how we were hurt, and then argue to get our point across or to try and get our spouse 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!

(Isaiah 43:18-19, NLT).

18 “But forget all that—

    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.

19 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.

The Answer to Problems in Marriage

Forgiveness is really the answer to all the problems we encounter in our marriages. Without it, we will never move forward.

Forgiveness is really the answer to all the problems we encounter in our marriages. Without it, we will never move forward.#marriage Click To Tweet

The problem is forgiving our spouse 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? How much that would wear Him down? What a gift to us to forgive repeatedly.

Here’s the deal, 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.

In the Bible, the disciples ask Jesus how many times they are to forgive a brother (or sister, or parent, or spouse).

Continual Forgiveness

(Matthew 18:21-22, NLT).

21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone[a] who sins against me? Seven times?”

22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven![b]

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 toxic, to move away from it are all warranted.

To read the rest of this post

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20 thoughts on “Forgiving the Past So Your Marriage Can Move Forward

  1. You’re so right! Forgiveness really is the answer to problems in marriages. We all need forgiveness, so it’s best to be generous with forgiving. And the more frequently we are willing to do this, the happier we are.

  2. Oh, where would our marriages be without forgiveness. I guess they wouldn’t be. My wife and I have done a lot of forgiving over the years and, after 27 years, I can say we need to continue forgiving. As you said, “…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.” Thank you for this encouragement.

  3. 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.

  4. I love what you said: “Bringing up the past is like adding fuel to a fire. Add it to any relationship, and it explodes!” It truly does. We model a Christian marriage when we offer grace and let the past GO.

  5. Powerful down to earth post Sister. You really packed a punch especially when you compared what we have put God through and He forgives us. Thanks for this awesome post! God Bless

  6. Thank you for writing honestly and transparently. This is what it looks like in every marriage, and an honest capture of that allows us all to address the matter of continual forgiveness. That is what we are called to do in marriage. Sometimes we need to forgive wrongs we never expected to face. Bitterness destroys marriages and it destroys us, yet forgiveness can only be done with the help of God and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We need that grace desperately, not just in marriage, but in all our relationships.

  7. Powerful blog and a very important piece of wisdom we all need to learn. Thank you so much for this reminder and insight, Julie! God bless you. I agree with all you said.

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