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8 Things that Restored Our Marriage-Part 6

Jul 20, 2022

One of the things that was so frustrating to me in my walk with God until Trisha and I separated was the fact that I struggled with the same sins over and over and over. I made repeated promises to God that I wouldn't commit a particular sin ever again. I asked for forgiveness and would do great for a while in not committing that sin...then even though I had the best intentions to move past that sin and find seemed find me in my weakest moment. The question I continually asked myself was "How, after all these years,  can I struggle with the same thing? If I were a better Christian, I wouldn't struggle with ________ anymore."

The same pattern was true in our marriage. Maybe you can relate to this...Trisha and I didn't argue about new issues. Our arguments were very uncreative...they were always about church, sex, or money...usually in that order. There were certain variations of these arguments, but when it came right down to it, we always argued about these things. The question that we asked ourselves as a married couple was "How can we, after all of these years, still argue and fight over the same things? If we had a stronger marriage, we wouldn't argue about these things anymore."

When we began to go to counseling, something in me changed. I no longer wanted to know "how" I could struggle with the same sins in my life, I wanted to know "why?" When you begin to ask the question "why" in your marriage, it unlocks this restoration principle we discovered that has helped us move from destruction to restoration:

Restoration Principle #6: Your willingness to deal with and understand the destruction of your past will determine the depth of restoration in your future.

This is how this played out in my life and how it completely transformed our marriage. It would have been easy for us to take a few months, go to counseling to deal with the breach of trust that the affair caused in our marriage. But so often we repeat sins and behavior patterns in our life and in our marriage because we fail to understand when the destruction began in our life. We spend so much time trying to pretend that we are not broken, not messed up and not hurting. We fail to grasp how our past decisions, our past sins and our past mistakes, if not understood, acknowledged, confessed and redeemed can affect every aspect of our life.

For me, this meant going way back in my life and identifying when sexuality was first broken. I was sexually abused as a child, when I was in first grade. I didn't tell anyone about it because the person that did this told me that no one would believe me and I would get in trouble for lying if I told. Finally, when I was a freshmen in high school, the AIDS virus came on the scene and I became nervous that this encounter I had 8 years before would cause me to have I told someone. It wasn't received with much seriousness and was dismissed. That was a defining moment for me. Yes, I had choices that I made from that point on...choices to have sex before I was married, choices to give into lustful thoughts, choices to indulge in pornography, and a choice to have an extramarital affair...but those choices were driven by a brokenness that I never identified and never dealt with or understood.

I have typed this and retyped this over and over trying to make sense-I hope I am making sense!!!

The truth is that both you and your spouse bring a past into your marriage. You bring sins and hurts and disappointments. Maybe you were raped in high school. Maybe you had a one night stand in college. Maybe you were physically or sexually abused as a kid. Maybe you started watching porno movies when you were in 8th grade. Maybe you cheated on a test when you were a freshmen. Maybe your dad left you when you were a kid. Maybe your mom never told you she loved you. What we have come to understand in our marriage is that the depth of restoration and intimacy we experience in our marriage today is in direct proportion to our willingness to understand our past and allow our past to be redeemed.

The truth about God is that he will never force Himself on any of us. If we are unwilling to bring part of our heart to Him, he will not redeem and heal that specific part of our heart. Somehow, we sentence ourselves to struggle with the same sin and the same temptations because we are not willing to go back to that dark place in our past and bring it into the light. We hope that by ignoring it or pretending that it didn't happen that it will magically go away. The opposite is actually true. The longer we ignore hurts and brokenness from our past, the more it robs us of the person that God has created us to be.

This principle is painful...but it is powerful. I struggled with we went back and talked about when and why I first started lying. Trisha struggled with feeling validated and we talked about when she first felt devalued and taken advantage of.

Here is the cool part. When you get serious about this, you begin to identify the areas of your life that bring you the most pain and you deal with it...those pains, hurts and sins loosen their grip on your heart. When you are willing to go back to that dark place and figure out when you were first broken in that area, the stronghold that had in your life is crushed!

Life and marriage is "easier" if we don't go this route. It will cost you something to choose this principle. But you begin to wake up to the person you always wanted to be and you begin to have the marriage that you always wanted to have. No longer do past hurts, mistakes and disappointments have a hold on your heart. If you want to take a giant step away from destruction and toward restoration, look back at your past. What areas of your past are still following you around today? What issues have you wished would just go away, but still creep back into your heart and soul? What arguments are you having today that you had five years ago? Ten years ago? Are you willing to go there and release the past from having control of your future?