Every marriage is filled with mistakes; either mistakes on the husband’s part or on the wife’s. This is just the straight up truth since marriage is comprised of sinners. Plainly put, we fall short of perfection just like the scripture says in Romans 3:23. So, when a wife makes a mistake, what’s a girl to do when her husband wants to hold it against her?
Here’s one woman’s story…
My husband and I have been married for a month. He has been aware of my sexual past (I’ve never had full sex until my wedding night), but the memories sometimes haunt me and cause twinges of pain. I did the awful mistake of over sharing with him and not being discreet about it. I didn’t realize it would cause such a divide between us. I’m not sure what else to say or how to encourage him. I have been impatient and harsh with him, as well as unsympathetic to how my past makes him feel. I feel that this has been a wedge between us and this is all my fault. I could really use some counsel.
JOLENE ENGLE: Anytime you bring a past lover into the conversation with you and your husband, there’s going to be divide there. Obviously, we don’t want that and you’ve learned you’ve overshared, so I guess my question would be, “Has he let go of this? Has he forgiven you of what has been shared?” Because if he hasn’t, if he keeps condemning you, then that is not of Christ – that’s of the enemy.
ERIC ENGLE: Well, here’s the deal, she brought up something of the past into the present, which now makes it present.
ERIC: And the past has been forgiven.
JOLENE: Absolutely. And as a woman, I do have that sexual past, and you don’t want to bring that into marriage. It is a part of you, but Eric and I won’t have that conservation on a regular basis. What’s done is done. And this reader, she shared that he didn’t know everything and she kind of kept some information from him.
ERIC: Well, she shared too much; she was not discreet about it.
JOLENE: Right, so you know, obviously what’s done is done there; you can’t go back to that. But you can ask him to forgive you; you certainly can if he’s a believer. Then the both of you can pray for the Lord to restore your minds, because the enemy will do everything to keep tearing down your marriage. But it sounds like, because of what she has over shared, that it’s really more of the wife’s issue and maybe not so much the husband’s, because she’s writing more of her emotions – that she’s lashing out.
ERIC: Right. And I would recommend that they go back together and do a study on forgiveness and some of those concepts that the Bible teaches that Jesus taught about forgiveness. Because, obviously, he wasn’t sinless before he came into the marriage. He may have been sexually pure, but sinless? No.
JOLENE: No one is.
ERIC: And I know we place a higher ‘sin level’ on some things than others, which God doesn’t – sin is sin. So, I guess if she approaches him that way and just asks him some questions about if he’s sinned in the past, maybe coming down to the point of, are we going to build our relationship or tear it down?
JOLENE: Right. What I don’t know from this question is whether or not there is forgiveness in the marriage. I do know that you can have forgiveness, but you can certainly have thoughts of your past, because that’s what the enemy does! He tries to get you to have sex before marriage; he tries to get you to not have sex when you’re married. And if he could destroy your marriage bed, then guess who’s winning there, in the marriage? It’s the enemy. So, first thing I would do is to make sure that you’re having a conversation with your husband saying ‘please forgive me and forgive me for how I handled it. Forgive me for the fact that I didn’t fully remain pure and forgive me for oversharing’. And of course he needs to embrace that and say ‘yes, I do forgive you’. If he doesn’t forgive you, then he’s just as in sin as you were before you came into the marriage! And him harboring that is really going to hinder his relationship with the Lord, most importantly, because the Bible talks about how you are to forgive others as Christ forgave him. And I don’t know if he’s a believer, that wasn’t written here, but if he is, then that’s what he has to do. Through marriage – and I know that they’re ‘young-married’, for a month – you’re going to keep having problems! There will be sin for the rest of your life in your marriage. So you’ve got to learn early today to be a forgiving wife and he’s got to learn to be a forgiving husband. If he’s putting an expectation on you that you’re going to be this perfect wife, then boy, does he have a world of hurt coming! That’s just not possible! It’s not possible for us to be perfect, and vice-versa. I’m not sure why she lashed out; I know she had a lot of emotions going on. I could imagine that part of it is shame, but when you’re in sin and do wrong, the best path to take is ‘I’m sorry, will you forgive me?’ Our pride certainly wants to rear its ugly head in the midst of all that, but that just makes it worse. Go back to doing a study on forgiveness – which could be something as simple as opening up your Bible and looking up in the commentary every single passage there that says something about ‘forgive’, ‘forgiving’, ‘forgives’, etc… and doing that together! Because your hearts have to – on a regular, daily basis – want to be a forgiving spouse.
ERIC: Right. And this may not just be a one-time thing, because if there is unforgiveness in the marriage, on either side, you’re going to have issues – it’s going to destroy your marriage. There’s going to be bitterness that comes out of that, and that’s what the enemy wants.
JOLENE: Right, right. The enemy would just love to tear it down and one of the easiest ways he could start is to get you to feel like you’re this horrible wife. And I feel like sometimes husbands are more resilient to this than we are as wives. We are much more emotional and we react a lot more. I would just have a heart-to-heart with him, and if he has forgiven it, then don’t keep bringing it up. You’re going to have a twinge of emotional pain every time you have sex with your husband. Because you haven’t really gone to the cross and realized that Christ died on the cross for your sins. He poured out His blood for you. And what keeps happening is you keep nailing Him back up on that cross when you keep going back to your sin. You’ve got to learn and realize that Christ already paid the price for your sin and you’re forgiven.
ERIC: The Bible said He died once and for all.
JOLENE: Right, right. The verses that really helped me with my sexual past was in Philippians when Paul talked about forgetting the past. It was an ongoing thing – and here was the apostle Paul, who killed Christians! You know that the guy had to have issues going on in his mind and his emotions, because of the things he had done. But he had to keep letting go of his past on a regular basis; he had to keep forgetting what was there and moving forward. And for me, how do I move forward? How do I let go of the emotions that hold me in a sense of condemnation? Well, that’s the enemy. So what do I do? I go to the Word of God.
ERIC: Hey, you made a great point the other night while at a speaking engagement when you said that the bride wore white.
JOLENE: Oh yes, she did.
ERIC: Tell me about that.
JOLENE: Well, with my past, I wasn’t pure. When Eric came along, I remained pure and I did walk down the aisle in a white dress because I was redeemed by the blood of The Lamb and so are you. If you’re in Christ, you are a new creation – the old things have passed away and all things have been made new. My encouragement is to hold tight to those scriptures, because it seems like you’re holding more closely to your past and the lies that the enemy is telling you. So that would be my encouragement – to stand on the Word of God.
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