Of course, I loved him. But I had some other stuff going on that had nothing to do with love. I was ticked. I didn’t know how to let go of hurt and disappointment. I wasn’t aware I had any I needed to go of.
Long story short: My husband was part of the reason for the disappointment and hurt. I thought somehow being married would make all the mad go away. It didn’t. In fact, it made it worse. Now I lived with someone who was a constant reminder of why I was mad. I could be mad all the time.
I’d let hurt and anger dictate the way I’d lived for so long, I no longer recognized it. It was just part of how I lived.
I was more angry with myself than I was with him.
Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Something’s happened to you, and you’re mad at yourself for the decisions you made. Even though you might not have had any control over it. Maybe you’re embarrassed or even ashamed about it.
It affects every part of your life. In addition to your marriage, it affects parenting, sex (especially intimacy), friendships, work. It affects you in ways you may not even realize.
It doesn’t have to be something recent. It could be something that happened when you were a kid or something that happened in a past relationship. Whatever it was, it made you feel bad about yourself and you can’t let it go.
So you hold on. And, that hurt begins to eat you up.
Here’s the problem with holding on to old hurts: They become old hurts with new ones piled on top. Nothing can take a relationship down faster than holding on to stuff. When I’m hurt, I’m not nice. The last thing I’m thinking about is respecting my husband, especially if he somehow contributed to the hurt.
We justify our feelings as “righteous.” But, they’re not.
At some point, I had to make a decision to let go if I wanted to have a healthy marriage. I still have to decide to let go of things that hurt me.
6 Surprising Ways to Let Go of Hurt
Letting go of past hurts isn’t easy.
Here are useful steps when working through hurt and letting go of resentment.
Tell God how you feel. He’ll understand. Tell Him you’re angry or hurt or lonely. He’ll comfort and reassure you. He may even give you a new attitude towards the situation. He might even make you aware of your contribution to the situation.
2. Forgive yourself
This is harder than it sounds because sometimes when we’re hurt, we blame ourselves a little bit. Maybe we’ve done something to contribute to the situation. So, the madder you are at yourself, the madder you get at other people. Begin with forgiving yourself.
3. Separate yourself
This can be as simple as going into a room alone to pray and think about the situation or taking a walk. Pretend the situation happened to a friend. What would you tell her to do? What would you tell her to do differently?
4. Write about it
Writing is a healthy outlet because you can get your point across without someone interrupting you. Be real. Write about how you feel, why you’re hurt. What you’d like to see happen. Write all the things you’d like to say to your husband—yeah, even the ugly things. After you’ve exhausted your feelings on paper, tear it up. Then write another letter telling him how you feel. Use language that expresses how you feel, not what he did.
5. Talk about it
Start by telling him what you appreciate about him. Tell him you know he didn’t mean to hurt you (and chances are he really didn’t). Then close by acknowledging your contribution to the situation or how you could’ve handled it differently. If he did intend to hurt you, tell him you’re working through forgiving him. Remember you love him. The disagreement or hurt isn’t bigger than your relationship.
6. Hold hands
When I was newly married, someone told me to always hold hands with my husband, even when I’m unhappy with him. Holding hands was difficult for me. It wasn’t modeled for me growing up. But, there’s something about physical touch that softens the heart.
If you can’t let it go on your own, there’s no shame in getting help–a pastor or counselor. When we say “I do,” we relinquish all rights to hold on to stuff. If we’ve made a commitment to God, part of that commitment includes making our marriages the best they can be. Go to the source of all forgiveness: Jesus Christ. He’s the main ingredient in the recipe for letting go.
What past disappointments are you harboring and how are they affecting you?
Need skills to build intimacy?
- Get on the waitlist for my next group coaching session–Change Your Mind; Change Your Marriage.
- Visit my website, like my Facebook page and join my private Facebook group.
- Check out my FREE resources and download How to Be A Wife No Man Will Ever Want to Leave.
- Apply for private coaching with Sheila.
Also known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls understands how tiring a tough marriage can be.
She went from the brink of divorce to having a thriving marriage by translating timeless truths into practical skills. She’s helped women just like you turn their men into the husbands they want.
She and her husband Kendall live in Minnesota with their five children and their Black Lab, Largo.
In addition to coaching, Sheila is a member of the MOPS Speaker Network. Her work has been featured on the MOPS Blog, The Upper Room, Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Beliefnet, Candidly Christian, Crosswalk.com, The Mighty and on various other sites on the Internet.