We all bring some sort of baggage into our marriage. Baggage is something from our life before marriage that was unhealthy, whether we realized it or not. It may not have even reared its ugly head during our single days but in marriage it causes problems. Where does our baggage come from? Here is what I see most often in the counseling room.
Family of origin. No matter how much you think that you and your spouse are alike, the odds are that your families of origin had some differences. Think about this. What was your first model of what it means to be a man or a woman, a husband or a wife, and a dad and mother? Your textbook was the family you where you grew up. Some of us had really good families, others of us had really bad ones and many of us fall somewhere in between. Taking time to really look at your family of origin is so important. Deciding what would be good to bring into your marriage and what to leave behind is critical. Is there anything from your family of origin that is causing a problem in your marriage today? If so, why not deal with it now?
Previous relationships. There is a reason why you are no longer in those relationships! Yet, we may have developed some pretty bad habits in those past relationships. When you think about a past relationship, what was unhealthy about it? Are some of those patterns repeating themselves in your marriage? Often we frame our spouse like someone from our past instead of looking at them as someone different that has committed their life to us. If a past relationship is haunting your marriage, it’s time to deal with it.
Culture. We live in a culture that generally does not prioritize marriage the way past generations have. We hear of divorces all the time, often involving people we never thought would take that step. People have affairs and that is almost considered normal by many people. (For the record, it is not and the ripple effect of an affair reaches far and wide.) Our culture is obsessed with sex and not sex the way that God designed it. In many ways, our culture creates baggage. In what ways has culture affected you and the way you look at your marriage? Is there baggage from culture that you have brought into your marriage?
There are certainly many other places we find baggage that we drag into marriage. My point is this: Some couples unpack their baggage and deal with it pretty early in their marriage. Others upack their baggage and it gets strewn all over their marriage for years. They never take the time to deal with it and their marriage suffers because of this. Have you identified the baggage you brought into your marriage? If so, have you dealt with it? The baggage will not just go away on its own. We have to be willing to deal with it. It’s your choice. Deal or No Deal. What will you choose?
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