I love cop shows and movies. Mysteries. Whodunnits.
One of my favorite movies is about a bank robbery. It had twists and turns throughout. Misdirection at every scene. In the end, it was a guy who worked at the bank who planned the whole thing.
He was the mastermind.
It was an inside job.
Think about that. Inside job.
Most of our issues as couples are not caused by big, hairy problems that come at us from all directions. Nope.
It’s usually an inside job.
The baggage we fail to unpack and get rid of. That’s the stuff that wrecks most relationships.
Since our marriage is too important to let ruin because of inner junk in our life, we need to take the right steps to find healing and get rid of the baggage.
Dealing With Past Baggage Part 3
- How to Deal with Past Baggage to Keep Your Marriage Safe
- Letting Go of Baggage in Your Life and Marriage
- Freedom from Past Baggage that Destroys Your Relationship
In the previous two articles we talked about:
The 7 Different Types of Baggage that Has to Go
The First 4 Steps on How to Deal With Baggage
- Acknowledge It
- Talk About It
- Refuse To Run
- Let It Go
In this article we pick up where we left off…
I posed the question: What happens when you lose motivation?
You focus on the next step: Stay Accountable
In This Article
Accountability only works for those who WANT to be accountable.
There are too many opportunities to lie, cheat and manipulate your way through life. But if you are serious about cleaning out the baggage in your life, it helps to have an accountability partner.
This is someone who loves you unconditionally but will tell you the truth.
And it’s someone who you can hear the truth from.
Let’s face it, there are some people in our lives we don’t want to hear the truth from.
Maybe they violated a trust or hurt us in the past. Maybe their own life is so jacked up that we do not respect them.
Whatever the reason, there are those who don’t make good accountability partners.
What To Look For In An Accountability Partner
Trust is the number one quality of a great friend, confidant and partner.
Most people fail in accountability groups because they lose trust in the people.
The first question is, ‘Do you trust them? Are they trustworthy?’
2. Unconditional Acceptance
I was blessed to have a spiritual mentor in my life for over 40 years. He stayed in that role because I knew he accepted me no matter what.
When I went through a divorce he was my closest confidant.
He didn’t always tell me what I wanted to hear, but he always told me the truth.
And I never doubted his love or acceptance.
I’m not sure, but I may have made that word up.
A good mentor or confidant – someone you can talk to about your baggage – must be someone who doesn’t flinch at what you say.
My mentor was that way.
No matter what I said, he never once twitched.
A flinch or twitch is an indication that something you said was unacceptable. Off limits or out-of-bounds.
I am sure you’ve seen it. You say something to someone, and they give that subtle sign that what you said is taboo.
I had a friend once who went to a counselor to work through some issues. During the first session, my friend made a confession about a ‘sin’ he was dealing with.
The counselor flinched.
And he saw it.
After that, he never went back. He wasn’t looking for approval. But he was looking for someone who would accept him flaws and all and help him work through his issue.
He would not have been to the counselor in the first place if simply wanted approval.
There is a difference in acceptance and approval.
We all need acceptance. That sense that we still belong even though we struggle.
Approval for bad behavior is not the same thing.
My friend knew this. And never went back to the counselor.
To be successful in dealing with our junk, we must be able to talk about it. Freely. With acceptance. Without judgment.
This leads to the next step: The Trust Factor
ALSO READ: Emotional Safety in Marriage
Balance the Past and Future
It’s wonderful to have a breakthrough. To finally feel like your past is not controlling you.
That sense of victory will be short lived if you don’t learn something from your past experience.
Learn from the Past
We often repeat the sins of the past because we fail to pay attention to the signs. Those little indicators that tell us how we got in that situation in the first place.
For many, you had no control over the abuse, rejection, and crimes against you. Yet there are lessons to be learned.
For others, the baggage that kept you weighed down holds lessons to guide you into your new freedom.
Brandon Bishop writes:
Crying over spilt milk is just a waste of time, and it won’t do anything to change the fact that the milk is already on the floor.
What you can do, however, is clean up the spill, recognize you’re just like everybody else who makes mistakes. Then, the next time you’re drinking milk, you’ll be the wiser for it, having learned from your mistake and no milk will spill over.
Only then does it become worthwhile, and your perspective of the past alters. You start seeing your past in a new light; one that you can take advantage of and become wiser for.
Focus on the Future
Learning from the past doesn’t mean we park there and only think about what happened. We’ve already seen how damaging that can be.
Carly from WellMe.com says focusing on is a must if you want your life to change.
If you want your future to be a certain way, you need to focus on what that entails. You have to envision the life you want in order to get to it. Think through what you want this future of yours to be.
Remember, the best remedy for the past is hope for the future!Remember, the best remedy for the past is hope for the future! Click To Tweet
ALSO READ: 5 Ways of Building Trust in a Relationship
If you still need help, move on to the next step: Get Professional Help
My wife and I occasionally have to fly.
My method of air travel is that of a minimalist. I like to have one carry one bag along with my computer satchel.
She, on the other hand, likes one giant, biga## bag full of her entire closet.
Just kidding. Kind-of.
We usually have different sizes of internal baggage as well.
For the giant, biga## bags, we need help.
Truth is, we often need help with all of it. Definitely with the larger issues.
Help can come in the form of counseling, special courses, and programs.
If you go the way of professional counseling, make sure you find someone with your value system.
Believe it or not, counselors are like churches. We all probably want the same thing; we just go about it in different ways.
Counselors have their own philosophy of how to help.
My wife once visited a counselor years ago who wanted her to undergo a type of regressive therapy. This is where they hypnotize you and have you go back to a certain event and relive it.
She was uncomfortable with the process, so she did not proceed with that counselor. Some people may be fine with that, she was not.
Find someone you are comfortable with.
Programs and Courses
There are a lot of programs to help you navigate the process. You can also use this series as a road map.
In the resource section below I’ve listed some programs and platforms that I recommend. Not all are faith-based, but they are solid in their approach to helping you get your life on track.
Mentors and Friends
I was blessed to have a great mentor in my life. I wouldn’t have made it through some of the battles without his influence, love and guidance.
I encourage people to seek out a mentor or close friend to walk with you. You were not meant to walk alone in life.
Men need other men. Women need other women.
Covering Blind Spots
I do this exercise in group settings at times to make a point.
Stand with your arms out to your side. Stretched way out from your body.
Now slowly start moving your arms backward. You will be able to see your hands with your peripheral vision. Move them backward slowly until you can’t see them clearly in your vision.
That point is your blind spot.
It is the point where you can no longer see your own hands.
Your friends and mentors are in your life because they CAN see that point. They see what you cannot see.
That’s why we need them in our lives.
In the first article I told the story of Cila. She had a blind spot (emotionally) that was hurting relationships in her life. It wasn’t until a friend pointed it out (in love) that she realized she had a problem.
That’s what our mentors and friends can do for us. They help us see the things we can’t see ourselves. And with their help we can conquer those areas that impact our lives in a negative way.
Wrapping It Up
Your marriage is too important and valuable to allow past baggage to damage or destroy it.
Most of the problems couples face are not ‘outside’ issues. They are inner turmoil that comes from unresolved issues. We fail to take the trash out, so our relation begins to stink.
We can’t afford to allow those inner issues to keep us from the life we desire and the marriage we deserve.
Taking these 6 steps to get rid of the inner baggage is a perfect place to start.
In this series we looked at 6 steps to take in order to break the bondage of your past wounds, hurts and disappointments.
Here is a recap of this article:
- Stay Accountable
- Balance the Past and Future
- Get Help
Resources for this Article
For more help, ideas and tools on this topic. Check out these resources:
The Healthy Marriage Quiz
If you want specific help for your marriage, or you want to know your healthy marriage score, take the marriage quiz. You’ll get immediate access with suggestions on how to improve your relationship.
If you are having serious marriage struggles, we recommend starting with ‘Save the Marriage System‘ by Lee Baucom.