6 Feb


     If you and your mate do not put the past behind you, then your past will continue to cast its shadow into your present and future. Specifically, if you want to help your mate develop confidence and a healthy self-image, you will have to talk about negative or hurtful things your in laws may have said or done that left their marks on your spouse. The following are some tips for helping your mate in this area.

     First, begin to work with your spouse to get the problem fully out in the open. Talk about how your own parents treated you, and then ask your mate to share his or her experiences. Be patient. Talking about these things can be very painful.

     Second, help your mate understand his or her parents. Proverbs 24:3 reads, “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established.” Understanding is essential in your mate’s relationship with his or her parents. Talk together about your mate’s parents and seek to put their lives in proper perspective.

     Third, remind your mate that God’s grace and power are greater than any parents’ mistakes. No matter how poor a person’s home life may have been, God delights in resurrecting a damaged self-image and restoring dignity to that wounded person. Point your mate toward Christ and the hope He offers by verbally drawing attention to Jesus and expressing your confidence and belief in the greatness of God. Recall any shared instances when God showed Himself strong.

     Fourth, help your mate determine how to respond to his or her parents. None of us controls how we were treated as a child but we do have control over how we will relate to our parents today. Point out some positive things about your in-laws’ parenting and how you are the benefactor of those good traits. This is important even if your mate’s parents are no longer living.

     Fifth, help your mate experience all that God has for you by clipping any ties of inappropriate dependence. Genesis 2:24 makes clear we are to leave our parents, which means we no longer remain dependent on them for money, for an undue amount of emotional support, or for acceptance.

     Sixth, encourage your mate to make the choice to forgive his or her parents-completely. To forgive someone means to give up the right to punish them. Patiently and gently urge your mate to deal with the past constructively, to put away punishing emotions and replace them with an attitude of love and understanding.

NOTE:  This article was taken from the book Family Life and Marriage Bible by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

NOTE:  Daily there is a new post to help your marriage succeed.

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