Love isn’t always easy. Each partner brings their own set of past relationship baggage to a new relationship that includes their upbringing, life experiences, and the past. These things can either enhance or hinder you as a partner. The imprint left by an ex-partner can get in the way of having a successful marriage. If you are wondering how your relationship baggage may be showing up in your marriage and what to do about it, here are a few tips.
How Your Relationship Baggage May Be Showing Up In Your Marriage and What to Do About It | Relationship Baggage In Marriage
In This Article:
- How The Past Shows Up
- Take an Inventory
- Get Over Past Relationships
- Stop Punishing Your Partner
- Be Present and In the Moment
How the Past Shows Up
The past has this funny way of showing up in the present. That’s why relationship baggage can hurt you and your spouse if it isn’t addressed. Things like comparing your spouse to your ex, blaming them for things they haven’t done, or holding back for fear of heartbreak aren’t good for any marriage. When the past creeps up, be ready for it by using the following tools.
Take an Inventory
Not all past relationship baggage has to be negative. Though you may have experienced pain from your last relationship’s ending, you likely learned something too. All experiences, whether good or bad, teach you something about yourself. What you do with those lessons is your choice. You can bring that baggage into your marriage or leave it in the past and start fresh with a clean slate. In order to make the right decision, start by taking an inventory of what you lost as well as what you gained. Think about who you were in the beginning of your last relationship. Did you like how you showed up? Was it a mature relationship or one filled with chaos and stress? Next, think about who you were at the end of that relationship? Did you feel stronger or have a clearer understanding of what is needed to make a relationship work? Did you recognize a strength you didn’t know you had? You want to also think about how you will apply the positive things you learned to your marriage. Whatever you discover in taking this inventory will bring an insight that should help you move forward successfully and be a better spouse.
Get Over Past Relationships
It’s not so simple to just get over past relationships. In fact, this is where a lot of past relationship baggage comes from. There is a lot invested in love and it takes time to heal. You have to create a space that allows your heart to mend, before you can share it with someone else. After taking your inventory and embracing your lessons learned, it is time to plan to move forward. Sometimes relationships need closure. That closure does not have to come from a conversation with the other person. You can seek closure on your own, for your healing. You can do this by writing yourself a love letter that reminds you of the happiness you deserve. If you need to, feel free to ask yourself for forgiveness and give yourself permission to move forward and welcome the joy into your life that you deserve. Release any of the guilt you might be feeling and prepare yourself to love again.
Stop Punishing Your Partner
Your spouse wasn’t involved in your past relationship, so they don’t deserve any of the hurt, frustrations or resentment you might be bringing into their space. They deserve the best version of you. The clean slate mentioned earlier should be just that. Think of starting over and being ready to love. Be open to embracing your spouse for who they are and not who you think they might become. It is unfair to put that burden of guilt from your past relationship baggage on their shoulders when they don’t deserve it. If loving again is a real struggle for you, be open with your spouse but also do the work. If additional counseling is needed do not be afraid to take that step. It is likely your spouse will be patient with you and this process if you are honest and truly desire to make the marriage work.
Be Present and In the Moment
The best thing you can do for your marriage is to show up for it. Again, it can be difficult to heal from past heartbreaks and move forward, but you have to be willing to try. The best way to do this is to take it moment by moment. Be intentional about being present in each second, minute, and hour. Actively listen to your spouse when they are sharing. Be engaged when you and your spouse are doing something together. And be completely focused on your spouse and their needs as you build your life together. Pay attention and course correct when any of those negative thoughts from your past start to creep in. Bring the energy back to your here and now and continue to grow in love. You deserve happiness. And when you are present and showing up consistently, it can happen.
It is time to leave the past in the past. Do your work and let your healing begin so that you can truly experience the love your marriage has to offer. Again, it is important to take inventory, get over past relationships, stop punishing your partner, and be present and in the moment.
BMWK, In what ways have you prevented the past from showing up in your marriage?