“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
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.”
All Pro Pastors A Regret-Free Marriage Page 2 of 3
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
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).
All Pro Pastors A Regret-Free Marriage
Jacksonville Baptist Theological Seminary, Doctor of Philosophy & Theology, Master of Divinity Degree
Published: GOALS Mentoring Program, The Impact of the Gospel on an Internet Community
Dr. Ponceti has traveled for international mission projects in Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Haiti, India, and Europe.