Marriage Part 4: Separating Past from Present

Rick Mattson Devotion Leave a Comment

It’s not uncommon to hear the following phrases from the couples I work with in pre-marriage counseling, as they speak with each other:

You always . . . 
That would be just like you . . . 
Oh here we go again . . . 
Why even bother . . . 
Such language suggests unfinished business lurking in the background, now thickly backlogged.

My suggestion to couples is to keep issues separate. 

Today’s dispute should be about today’s issue, not an accumulation of issues.

So let’s say he has a pattern of ditching her on occasion to hang out with some hunting buddies.

His excuse is that this “away” time makes him a better husband.

Actually, not a bad argument. A little time here or there with some old friends, away from one’s spouse, can be a good thing.

The problem in this case is that the couple never decided together that these excursions could take place, and how long/often.

Do that first. Settle the past.

Secondly, as a separate (but related) issue, talk about his latest op for a turkey hunt with the guys.

Now she can no longer say, “Here we go again.” Rather, she should confine her words to the merits of this particular situation.

And he would be wise to adopt a humble posture while negotiating this little getaway.

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