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New Year, New Marriage: Letting Go of Lingering Issues

January 1, 2017 marked the first page of a brand new 365-page book. This means that it was a fresh start and a clean slate for many. While a lot of people have “new year, new me” goals and a variety of personal resolutions, very few people apply these to their romantic relationships. If you ask me, the new year is a great reason to set some new goals for your marriage and to let go of past issues. People often say they’re leaving debt, depression, drama, and dead beats behind, and this new year, I challenge you to leave old problems between you and your spouse in 2016 as well.

The new year is a perfect time for a fresh start. Find out why you should let go of lingering issues in your relationship to start 2017 on a good note.

Society teaches us to forgive but not forget, but this mindset isn’t necessarily healthy when it comes to marital relationships. Time and time again we say that we’ve forgiven our spouses for things but continue to bring them up during arguments. We rely on past hurts as a crutch and use them against the person we love by saying things like “let’s not forget what happened between you and that other woman back in 2010” to shift the blame when we find ourselves in the hot seat.

Allowing these old issues to continue to live in your relationship is unhealthy for a variety of reasons:

Dwelling on past hurts prevents you from envisioning a happy future and living in the now. It also prevents you from seeing the good in your relationship. Further, it’s difficult to appreciate sweet gestures when, in the back of your mind, you’re dwelling on the negative and questioning your spouse’s motives. Continuing to dwell on old relationship issues leads many people to keep score and excuse their own behaviors with a “he did X so I can surely do Y” point of view. Two wrongs never make a right and this mindset, on top of nagging and distrust, force couples apart.

If you and your spouse have any lingering issues, I challenge you to leave them in 2016. Have one more conversation in which you express your feelings about whatever happened one last time then vow not to speak of it again. Write down all your spouse’s mistakes and burn them in the fireplace to symbolize the end of these issues. Spend an evening this week focusing on where your marriage will go instead of where it’s been. If you and your spouse commit to starting 2017 with a clean slate and loving each other for everything you both do right instead of continuing to blame each other for the few things you have both done wrong, I ensure that you’ll not only have a happy new year, but also a happy new marriage focused on the positive instead of the negative.

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