3 Ways to Let Go of Your Spouse’s Past Mistakes
By: Lynette Kittle
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” - Psalm 103:12
Football season is in full swing, and for some reason, watching football seems to turn my thoughts to how it applies to marriage.
A few seasons ago, when Chicago Bears’ Cody Parkey failed to kick a field goal which would have led them to win the wildcard playoff game, it didn’t seem to matter that he had scored 9 of the 15 points, bringing them to almost win.
Instead, his unsuccessful attempt became the focus of the game.
Marriage is like that at times, too. My spouse can score a number of points, but then if he messes up, instead of remembering all his successes, I focus on his failure.
However, I’ve been learning to turn toward him when he lets me down, rather than away, discovering how to re-adjust my initial reaction when it is less than loving and forgiving.
Just like how Parkey’s past kicking misses may have played into how fans reacted to his epic fail, often my husband’s past disappointments affect how I react to current failures.
So how do I move beyond it? Here are three ways to move past your spouse’s mistakes:
1. Don’t Keep Score
Unlike football, it’s not good to keep score in marriage. Doing so only causes division and causes a “you against me” mindset. Matrimony is much more enjoyable with a team attitude, rather than living like opponents pitted against each other.
It’s good to remind myself, “Bear with each and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
Often, I sincerely believe I have let go of my husband’s past disappointments and have forgiven him, until something new happens, triggering me to recall past failures and revealing a stockpile of grievances against him.
Yet God designed marriage to be like Christ’s relationship to us. So instead of seeing all my spouse’s failures piling up, my goal should be to forgive like God forgives me. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
Ephesians 4:32 encourages me to, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
2. Examine Your Own Heart
It’s also critical for me to remember Matthew 7:3, which asks, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
By doing so, I realize I have disappointed him, too.
Although in marriage it’s easier for me to see his weaknesses and failures while ignoring my own, Matthew 7:5 reminds me, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see more clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
3. Love God by Loving My Spouse
One way to demonstrate my love for God is by loving my spouse.
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).
Of course, it’s easier said than done in any relationship, and sometimes even more so in marriage. So I’ve been learning what to do when my attitude towards my husband needs adjusting.
What’s really helpful in turning my heart in the right direction towards my spouse is to think of Ephesians 6:7 to, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.”
When I understand my reactions to my husband’s words and behaviors are demonstrating my love to God, it makes all the difference in my outlook.
Choosing to Love When the Points Don’t Add Up
So when my husband lets me down, instead of keeping score, I’ve been choosing to examine my own heart.
Also, by choosing to love and forgive him the way God loves and forgives me. As 1 Peter 3:8 encourages, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, iBelieve.com, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, Startmarriageright.com, growthtrac.com, and more. She has an M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as an associate producer for Soul Check TV.
Related Resource: Listen to our new, FREE podcast on marriage: Team Us. The best marriages have a teamwork mentality. Find practical, realistic ideas for strengthening your marriage. Listen to all of our episodes for free on LifeAudio.com or in your favorite podcast app!