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A Regret-Free Marriage

Regret Free Marriage

“Everyone has experienced regrets at sometime in his or her life. Sadly enough, they seem to be part of

the cold realization that we all do things we wish we hadn’t done or fail to do the things we should

have. Nonetheless, if we allow regrets to keep our focal point on the past, we are setting ourselves up

for trouble. Someone once said that living with your focus on regrets is like trying to drive a car while

looking in the rear-view mirror; there’s no doubt about it—you’re going to crash.”

One question asked many husbands and wives was to “share some of the regrets they harbored.” Later,

those surveyed indicated that “these feelings have affected their personal lives, and, in some instances,

have had a derogatory impact on their marriages.”

Here’s just a partial list of what some of the husbands and wives said. Please read them carefully—

we’re hoping that we’ll learn from them so we won’t continue to make the same mistakes and

eventually live with the same regrets:

THE WIVES SAID 2

:

• I wish my husband and I wouldn’t have argued in front of the children.

• I’m afraid we got married too soon. We were counseled to wait, but we didn’t.

• I regret not making “our relationship” more of a priority over the children. Now that the kids are

older, I feel like my husband and I don’t really know each other.

• I wish we hadn’t lived together before we got married.

• I would have asked Jesus into my life sooner. I regret the wasted years.

• We should have changed the way we conducted our financial situation. We’re so far in debt, I

don’t think we’ll ever be financially secure.

• I wish my husband and I would have prayed together. Whenever we’d hear someone preach

about having prayer time as a couple, we’d talk about it but never follow through. I feel like

something is missing between us as a result.

• I regret never really enjoying my children. I wanted them to grow up quickly. They kept me

from doing things I wanted to do, got in my way, and drove me crazy. Looking back, I feel

foolish for being so short sighted. I wish I could do some of it over.

1 Anderson, Roger & Ponceti, Anthony – Love is a God Designed Hunger © 2011

2 Hot Topics for Couples: What Husbands and Wives Aren’t Telling Each Other By Steve & Annie Chapman

All Pro Pastors A Regret-Free Marriage Page 1 of 3

The Husbands Said:

• I regret raising our children in a spiritually unfit environment.

• I regret buying a house that was too large for our income. The financial stress is suffocating me.

I feel the pressure all of the time.

• If I could change anything, I would have been a nicer person to live with. I regret being so harsh

and mean to my wife and kids.

• I regret hitting my wife.

• I wish I had not had an affair and betrayed my wife.

• I regret straying from the church.

• It makes me sad when I think about how much my wife and I have drifted apart.

We can conclude that husbands and wives aren’t telling each other about the pain from their past. What

they can’t say is:

“I love you and want to show you how I feel. However, there’s a part of me that can’t reach out to you

because I’m holding on to merciless regrets. My emotional paralysis has nothing to do with what

you’ve done. I’m the one who must deal with the pain from my past. As you pray for me and support my

pursuit of God, I’m confident I will find peace.”

Scanning the list we realize:

That all of their regrets could be resolved using three remedies:

1. Avoid the Avoidable

2. Change the Unacceptable

3. Forgive the Unchangeable

Avoid the Avoidable:

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with

the same person. 3

The first remedy is to admit that many of the regrets were actually avoidable. In most cases, the

regretful things that were done by the men and women who responded to these questionnaires were a

product of yielding to temptation. For that reason, the individuals were wearing the “handcuffs” of

guilt.

For example, many of the couples voiced sincere remorse for a variety of ‘sexual indiscretions’ (the

politically correct jargon for the word sin). Some had guilt feelings about living together outside the

bonds of marriage. Others regretted their unfaithfulness toward their spouse. Obviously, all of these

failures could have been sidestepped by better choices.

Yet the sins were committed and the feelings of shame the people feel are very real and debilitating to

their marriages. But as devastating as these downfalls may be, there is hope for all spouses who feel

‘cuffed’ by condemnation. As grievous and horrible as our sins may be, they’re no match for the

boundless love and grace of God, through Christ.”

3 https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/248519.Mignon_McLaughlin

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We feel it’s important to remind us all of what God’s word says about His willingness to forgive us:

• 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse

us from all unrighteousness.”

• Psalm 32: 5, “I said ‘I will confess my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.’ I said, ‘I

will confess my transgressions to the Lord’—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

These are just two of hundreds of verses in God’s word that speak to His willingness to forgive us. So,

if you’re struggling with guilt and can’t forgive yourself, turn to the Bible and begin a word study on

forgiveness.

Change the Unacceptable:

A perfect marriage is one in which “I’m sorry” is said just often enough. 4

Take a few minutes to look over once again the regrets revealed by the husbands and wives. As you

reread them, make a mental note of how many regrets fall under the category of ‘changeable’.

They make an excellent point. Just because you were bad at handling finances doesn’t mean you have

to stay that way. That can change. If you’ve drifted apart that doesn’t mean it has to be that way today.

You can rebuild the relationship.

Forgive the Unchangeable:

A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers. ~Ruth Bell Graham

While changing the unacceptable may be achievable in most cases, to forgive the unchangeable is a

goal that may require more strength than a person feels they possess. Yet it can be done. Because the

events or issues that cannot be altered are often the regrets that seem to do the most damage to a

relationship, it is worth the effort to gain resolution. And sometimes, accepting the unchangeable means

accepting God’s forgiveness.

Matthew 6:9-15 Matt 6:9-15 (ASV)

9 After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11 Give us this day our daily

bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And bring us not

into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your

heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will

your Father forgive your trespasses.

If any of you find yourselves stuck in a place of not being able to forgive yourself or your spouse or

don’t feel anything can “change” for the positive, I recommend you seek the counsel of a neutral third

party. It can be a pastor or Christian counselor, or maybe just another couple whom you both trust and

feel they have the understanding and compassion to help you through a difficult place in your marriage.

The key here is to not let any issue or problem in your marriage just “sit there” like the proverbial

elephant in the living room—everyone knows it’s there and making a mess, but nobody does anything

to get rid of it.

We pray you’ll start today to un-harbor the regrets of your past leaning upon Christ as your guide. Do

this as a love gift to the Lord and also to each other. In doing this your marriage will bring honor to

God in every way. And as you apply yourself to this huge task, we are “confident of this, that He who

began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

4 https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/248519.Mignon_McLaughlin

All Pro Pastors A Regret-Free Marriage

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