Recently, I had a woman married 60 years talk to me about a slight in how her mother-in-law treated her on their wedding day. SIXTY years later, she is still angry. Her husband has no memory of the event, and her mother-in-law is long dead, but she’s holding onto the anger. Many couples come to counseling fighting about something that happened before they were married or something that happened on their wedding day. Give it up already – let the past stay in the past, and move into the present. You have enough to do dealing with your present problems.
Imagine these 2 scenarios. The couple had discussed purchasing a refrigerator a few months earlier when a big sale was advertised, but decided that they couldn’t afford it. Now they come home from work and find the refrigerator has died. Water is dripping out all over the floor and the food is getting warm.
1. Darn, you should have listened to me. Why didn’t you let me get a new refrigerator when they were on sale? You never listen. You think you know so much more than me. You’re such a jerk. You always… Remember on our wedding day when your mother….
STOP – What is happening to the food while they argue over an old fight that can’t be changed, and has nothing to do with solving the present problem. Now lets try it a new way, staying in the present.
2. Darn, the refrigerator has died. Can you go to the store and get some ice for the cooler while I look in the paper for sales? It’s not too late to go out tonight and buy a new one.