At some point, we all have to unpack our bags and stop carrying them around with us. We do that by simply recognizing that the issues of a previous marriage are not automatically doomed to be repeated in a new marriage.
When I speak of “baggage” I am referring to a behavior pattern that has become a habit. Our Creator designed us to be habit prone, which is fabulous for positive behaviors, but unfortunately we are fallen humanity in a pool of not so positive behaviors, and that’s why baggage usually leads to unhealthy marital circumstances.
If a man’s first marriage was overpowered by a negative criticizing wife, and in a second marriage his new wife gives him an evil eye over some action, without really being conscience of it the man can mentally pick up that baggage and react for a negative criticizing response.
The problem becomes the man’s reaction to what he is subconsciously expecting. Most likely he will react just as he did with the ex – defensively yelling, walking away, or zipping it shut – and that leaves the new wife feeling confused and snubbed.
Here are some quick helpful thoughts for you…
- Be a student of your spouse. Study how they respond to conflict and ask yourself if their way of dealing with stress has something to do with their previous marriage.
- Pray for your spouse to be led by the Holy Spirit not behavioral patterns, and most times that is a matter of the Spirit reminding the spouse that this is a different person and new life.
- Know that conflict is not always a bad thing, so stay in the ring and fight it out. Every time you work through a problem with your spouse you’ll find that on the other side is a stronger more rewarding relationship.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)