Have previous problems been resolved?


Matthew 5:23, 24

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave the gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

When David and Catherine came to see me, he was genuinely perplexed. He did not have a clue why his wife was so depressed, moody and unhappy all the time. Nor did he know why she wanted to see me. As our discussion started she began, as many do, listing her unhappiness, indicating he was to blame, then weeping about her on-going depression. As the conversation ensued she dropped a hint which any alert counsellor would have picked up. When she paused for breath I quietly asked her “Tell me about your abortion”. A look of absolute shock spread over her face, then a look of pitiable shame, then tears. It turned out that years before, long before she met her husband, she became pregnant and had an abortion. This had stayed with her all through the years and constituted an unresolved problem which affected not only her own inner life but also her marriage to a fine and understanding man who incidentally, stood by her and helped her through her emotional crisis. ( Not their real names. Both parties are long deceased.)


Sometimes, in troubled marriages, hurts build up; one piles upon another until the burden is overwhelming. Unless these matters are resolved there will always be some issues around which an argument can start. It is not only the current relationship that accrues a pile of unresolved problems, it is also possible that either one of you or both of you came into the marriage with unresolved issues. This could be any number of things – past relationships and hurts, secret habits or addictions or, as in Catherine’s case, a youthful abortion, hidden away in her mind. But whether the issues are current or longstanding, the point is that, for a stable marriage, previous problems must be resolved.


God has created us all that way and maybe especially women, which makes it difficult for them to have relationships at all unless all debris from the past has been cleared away. It’s hard to live with secrets. So whether the problem is constant arguing, insults, betrayal and hurts or past wrong behaviour never confessed or brought out into the open – there is only one thing to do. DEAL WITH IT! Unless they are settled there is no way you can build a future. If you cannot deal with it yourself – get help. Your marriage may depend on how successfully you bring unfinished business to closure.


But if you do deal with it there is every chance that your marriage can be helped and enhanced.


Prayer: Almighty God. I confess I have sinned against you and my family. I have not faced up to my problems and they have become an obstacle to my family. Please forgive me and help me to put the past away forever. Amen