Does Your Past Baggage Affect Your Present Marriage?

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In this episode of the marriage after god podcast, we discuss the different kinds of baggage we might still be lugging around in our life and marriage. We share personal stories of the types of baggage we still carry and how God is helping us to let go of it all. Our heart for this episode is to shine a light on those things that might be holding us back from a peaceful, joyful, and healthy marriage and a stronger walk with our God! Join us as we see what areas of our life God might want to adjust, heal or eliminate altogether.


Jennifer (00:09):
Hi, and welcome to the Marriage After God podcast.

Aaron (00:12):
We’re your hosts Aaron Jennifer Smith. We

Jennifer (00:14):
Have been married 15 years and have five sweet children who are growing up way too fast.

Aaron (00:18):
We love God and we love marriage

Jennifer (00:20):
And we love to be honest about it

Aaron (00:21):
All. Marriage is not always a walk in the park, but we do believe it has a powerful purpose. So

Jennifer (00:26):
Our goal here is to open up the conversation to talk about our faith and our marriage,

Aaron (00:30):
Especially in light of the gospel.

Jennifer (00:32):
We certainly don’t have all the answers, but if you stick around, we may just make you

Aaron (00:35):
Laugh. But our hope is to encourage you to chase boldly after God’s purpose for your life together.

Jennifer (00:39):
This is after God.

Aaron (00:47):
Ready, set, go.

Jennifer (00:49):
Welcome back to another episode of Marriage After God. I’m your host, Jennifer Smith.

Aaron (00:54):
I’m Aaron Smith.

Jennifer (00:55):
No, I said I’m your host. I was kidding. Oh,

Aaron (00:57):
Aaron’s here too. We are. It’s we.

Jennifer (01:00):
I know, but you let me do the intro so

Aaron (01:02):
You can change however you want.

Jennifer (01:05):
Well seriously, welcome back. Thank you for being here today. We hope that today’s episode blesses you and encourages you. And yeah,

Aaron (01:13):
What’s today’s episode about?

Jennifer (01:15):
Today we are going to

Aaron (01:18):

Jennifer (01:20):
We’re going to discuss how our past AKA baggage, so people say it’s nevermind.

Aaron (01:27):
<laugh>. What do people say? I dunno. You got baggage.

Jennifer (01:30):
How it may be affecting your present.

Aaron (01:33):
Right. So we’re going to be talking about those past things that kind of crept into our present. Nows.

Jennifer (01:41):

Aaron (01:41):
We should just move on. Okay.

Jennifer (01:44):
Sponsor is

Aaron (01:45):

Jennifer (01:46):

Aaron (01:47):
Can you do? The sponsor

Jennifer (01:49):
Episode is brought to you by our 31 prayers for my son and daughter devotionals next to our marriage. Our children are the greatest ministry that we have been given. They truly are a gift from God and he desires us to not only take care of their physical needs, but also their emotional and spiritual ones. And so Aaron and I created these devotionals for all parents to be able to pray for their son and daughter or sons and daughters. And so yeah, we just wanted to encourage you guys to build a daily habit of praying for our little ones. Praying for your little ones.

Aaron (02:21):
After this episode, please pick up your copy and begin a lifelong journey of interceding for your children. You can get yours or shop dot marriage after

Jennifer (02:33):
So I’m going to set up the scene here as we intro into today’s topic. I don’t know if you guys remember when I told you we signed up for CC this year. It’s called Classical Conversations and once a week you go to community day, which is just, I don’t know why I feel like I’m stuttAarong or something. It’s community day and we get to meet up with our class and our friends and we go through what we’re learning about, which is really fun. But every day, every time when we come back home, I get out of the car and I’m telling the kids, you know what we’re doing the rest of the day. And they kind of just fly. They’re like,

Aaron (03:13):
They’re gone and everything gets dumped at the front door.

Jennifer (03:16):
Well, half of it at least. And so the other half is still stuck in the car in the van.

Aaron (03:20):
That’s also

Jennifer (03:20):
True. And they’re overflowing with their schoolwork or Ziploc baggies or whatever they had that day. So yeah, like Aaron said, the others are just left in front of the doorway to trip over or be in my way. So that’s kind of just how it’s been every Wednesday working on things. This is our first year actually having backpacks and there’s five of ’em. And so the kids are just like, we’re homeschooled. We don’t know what to do with backpacks. I dunno.

Aaron (03:48):
Well they don’t have a place to put. Yeah. But also we have this thing in our home where every flat surface is stuff gets put stuff, it’s a place to put stuff on.

Jennifer (03:56):
What’s really funny about that is I spent all day trying to clean off countertops and the laundry room has been kind of an eyesore for me cuz it sits behind the kitchen and we’ve just been stockpiling a bunch of stuff back there that needs to go out to the garage or be put away. And so today I was like, I’m going to do this. And so I get it all clean, I wipe it down, I’m so happy. The laundry room’s looking sparkly clean. And then we had to clean out the van and there was bike helmets and stuff from Home Depot and I’m like four

Aaron (04:25):
Months of

Jennifer (04:25):
Clothes. So I’m taking all this stuff out and I’m realizing I’m just putting it on the laundry counter and I’m mad at myself

Aaron (04:32):
Flat surface. Why am I doing this? It’s right there. We do it. Yeah.

Jennifer (04:35):
It’s not my kids’ fault. <laugh> their backpack situation. It’s totally mine.

Aaron (04:39):
Maybe it’s all that baggage. Yeah.

Jennifer (04:41):
Well why <laugh>? Thank you. I brought this up for a reason. I was painting a picture for you guys. So the point is that it’s a process of learning and then the need is that ev by every Wednesday we need the backpacks cleaned out and ready to go and prepared for the following week.

Aaron (05:03):
So it could be used again. So

Jennifer (05:05):
It could be used again the right way.

Aaron (05:06):
Yeah, the right way.

Jennifer (05:08):
Anyways, I’ll move on. Today we want to find those bags in our lives that have been left to collect dust or the ones that we kind of leave right there to consistently trip us up and be in our way. And we want to encourage you to take an intentional moment to sift through it and clean it out and put it away,

Aaron (05:24):
Or at minimum at least let the Holy Spirit point out stuff to us that we’ve been holding onto and that we were, you actually were just talking about this book you’re reading and this idea of going on family hikes. Yeah. And they were discussing having the kids have a backpack and you were saying, well,

Jennifer (05:43):
I was laughing because as I’m reading it, she’s put a couple small snacks in there, which is a great idea.

Aaron (05:48):
I know we put water

Jennifer (05:49):
Bottles in. Yeah. I’m like, no, I’m only bringing three backpacks, not five or seven. And I load ’em up and then they’re two heavy

Aaron (05:55):
Parts and we always end up, we’re carrying all the

Jennifer (05:57):
Backpacks. Yeah. I’ve got two kids and five

Aaron (05:59):
Members. The backpack, the baggage, the reason that term is used is because it’s things that we carry with us

Jennifer (06:07):
And weigh us down and make things

Aaron (06:09):
Hard. And sometimes we don’t even know those things are there. And so hopefully in this episode,

Jennifer (06:14):
But other times it’s things that we don’t wanna let go

Aaron (06:16):
Of. Yeah. We’re like hoarders of our past stuff. So hopefully, first of all, you’re encouraged as always. That’s what we want to also make you laugh a little bit. But are we just going to be allow the Holy Spirit to make us aware and open our eyes and point things out to us for the purpose of being better, growing, mature, maturing being free from those things. So mm-hmm What the zips about?

Jennifer (06:48):
So I think the first thing that needs to happen in order for anyone to be able to start unloading the past or being able to move forward from it is to recognize that we’re multifaceted creatures complex. Well, we’re a little bit complex.

Aaron (07:05):
I think we oversimplify ourselves and we think, oh, this is who I am. And we forget that there’s a plethora of variables in our life that affect us. And so not only do we have our flesh, our biology, how our brain works, the things that we like, the things that hurt us and our pain thresholds and all these things about our biology, but we also have a heart. Or in other words our will like things that we desire, things that we want ways of thinking. We also have our spirit, which is our eternal identity. We’re eternal creatures. And all of those things can and are affected in by many different things. This whole idea of nature and nurture, what was it your environment or was it your D n a or both outside influences and situations as well as personal choices and beliefs, things that, all of these things. And each one of us can just look at the whole of our life, how we were raised, relationships, we’ve had ways of thinking things. Things that we had no control of that have happened to us and how those things have affected us and have crept into our today and how we respond and act and think. And so I think at least for me, it’s hard sometimes to recognize certain things about myself to see ourselves objectively.

Jennifer (08:37):
But you say it’s hard for me, I’m resistant <laugh>, like I’m not going to

Aaron (08:40):
Look. But it’s also hard, it’s even when it’s stuff’s presented like wait a minute, that’s not real. But things that exist. And so I think it’d be foolish for us to continue in life and just believe that we are who we are and that’s it.

Jennifer (09:01):
Well it’s a process that needs to be learned, just like how I was talking about our kids. They need to be told by someone, Hey go put your backpack away cuz they don’t know the consequence yet of tripping over a backpack or how mom feels when it’s stuck in the car.

Aaron (09:15):
Or the worst one of them getting in a bad habit their whole life.

Jennifer (09:18):
<laugh> bad habit, their not putting stuff away, not being prepared or ready for the next one. So, so just, they need the direction and the guidance and the know-how. Sometimes we maybe always we need someone telling us, Hey, maybe you should do this. So that’s what we are here for today. Hey, so we’re going to tell you, hey, maybe you should do this.

Aaron (09:39):
And there’s a term that we’ve used throughout our marriage, this idea of self-awareness. Yeah, it’s something that we should get better at and just grow in. And it’s not just a self-awareness that we kind of only look from our own eyes, but we look through God’s eyes, we look through his word and we say, okay, who are we? And that’s the beauty of God’s word, is that it is always a true reflection of us, of who we are without Christ and of who we are with him.

Jennifer (10:12):
That’s good. Explain that real quick.

Aaron (10:14):
Well we can have a self-evaluation and we look at ourselves, no, who I am is who I am. And you can’t say nothing about it. But all that is is just saying, this is my view, my position.

Jennifer (10:26):
When you have a cute offer on and you look in the mirror and you’re like, man, I look good today, but you never turned around to see,

Aaron (10:30):
Yeah, you’re

Jennifer (10:31):
Dresses, it’s going on back there,

Aaron (10:33):
Mullet. It’s got mullet back there. But when we look at the word, it’s not it. It’s not going to take into account how you see you, but it will tell you how you see you. And whether that’s right or wrong, but what it’s going to, what it really is, what the word of God is doing is it’s telling us who we are and that it either way, whether we’re with Christ or not, it’s saying, oh here’s, here’s who you are without Christ. Here’s who you are with Christ and who Christ is making you to be. And so second Corinthians, just like a handful of verses I want to just throw out here, just kind of start this conversation off. Cuz if we don’t believe these things then it doesn’t matter what we say today, you’re just going to always remain where you’re at cuz that’s what you believe. But if we believe these things, then a whole new world gets opened up for us and there’s some awesome things.

Jennifer (11:26):
So you’re about to hold up a mirror.

Aaron (11:28):
Yeah. Here’s the mirror, second Corinthians five 17. This is who we are in Christ. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The oldest passed away, behold the new has come. This is a hard verse for a lot of believers to we read it, we’re like, yeah, that sounds great. But I personally and I, I’m sure other people have felt this way on many different things because of different ways of being different sin in my life. I look at this, I’m like, that sounds great, but not for me because it doesn’t seem to be working for me.

Jennifer (12:01):
In which times that you

Aaron (12:03):

Jennifer (12:03):
Change, couldn’t

Aaron (12:04):
Change anything, there’s a sin I couldn’t overcome. There a way of being that wouldn’t be transformed. And I would say, well, where’s that new creation? The reality is this is true. I was just believing the lie that I couldn’t be, that I’m not a new creation. And so the reality for every believer who is in Christ, they are a new creation. That is their current status, new creation. And the old has passed away and the new has come. So that’s the truth. Ephesians five, eight, for one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, walk as children of the light. Also true currently, Romans 12, two, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. That by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. So we have these two verses that are like, this is your current status. And then you have this third verse that is like, here’s how your current status, but also your current operation be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

Jennifer (13:11):
And I just wanna encourage you guys sending this verse about being transformed by the renewal of your mind is not like a one time look. Your mind is transformed more. So it’s a continual process of being transformed when you’re in the word daily and you’re abiding in the word, it’s transforming you. And I think sometimes we get caught up as Christians, especially those of us who have been Christians for a long time. We think, oh, I was transformed. And then we wrestle and we get confused and we get frustrated over things not changing. But how long has it been since we’ve been actively in the word?

Aaron (13:53):
And it’s also a lifelong transformation. I love about this verse right here in Romans 12, two, there’s this contrast of being conformed versus being transformed. Conformed is, if you imagine setting play-Doh into a mold, you just set it on top and it’s slowly just forms to the mold. It’s very passive. This is what happens when we do not actively believe what the word says. We just solely conform to the world and its standards. But being transformed, that’s an active thing that Christ does through his word, by that renewal of our minds. So when we read his word, our minds actually change and we change with it. So when our minds change, our lives change, we are being transformed. So

Jennifer (14:41):
Which that is not a passive thing, that’s it’s not

Aaron (14:43):
Passive at all. Active thing. Yeah, it’s very active. And then it says by testing you may a certain. So all of those things about transformation are very active things. Transformation, renewal, testing, all good things. So all this to say is that part of this new creation that we are is that we’re being changed, transformed, renewed every day if we like God, if we allow his word to transform us and renew our minds. And so that’s where we’re moving forward in this conversation is, hey, let’s let God’s word reveal things to us. Let’s let his spirit point out to us areas that he desires to change in us. The Bible calls it the circumcision of Christ, him coming into our lives and cutting away dead flesh and transforming us.

Jennifer (15:30):
One of the reasons we wanted to share this specific topic with you guys today, the why is this important is we think it’s worth exploring our hearts to see if there’s anything that has been in there for a while, something that’s been affecting us, or maybe something that gets triggered when certain things happen and we feel a certain way because marriage is full of consistent interactions with one another. <laugh>, right. We’re

Aaron (15:58):
Cons. Millions of, yeah.

Jennifer (15:59):
Yeah. Little ways and big ways. So because this happens on the daily all the time, it’s important to know what comes out of us and is it coming from somewhere in the past? Is it coming from a more recent past and how is it motivating our reactions and responses?

Aaron (16:20):
I can’t remember the scripture reference, but it’s out of the overflow of the heart. The mouth speaks and what’s in our hearts and things come out of us. And Jesus even says this, he says, it’s not what goes into the stomach that defiles a man, but what comes out of him.

Jennifer (16:39):
And we were talking about the difference between reactions and responses. And I mean, we talk about our responses to each other all the time. Because if I say something in a way that hurts you, we’re talking about it. If you do it, we’re talking about it. And so it’s just a thing that marriage has to do. And so you said this, you explained it really good, you said a response is intentional and thoughtful, it’s self controlled.

Aaron (17:06):
And a reaction is just prompt. We acting in our flesh based off of our dispositions. And

Jennifer (17:14):
So those things in the baggage area, <affirmative> are going to come out in a reaction.

Aaron (17:23):
But if we are more thoughtful, more self-aware, just walking in, keeping step of the spirit, we can learn and practice and grow and being able to respond thoughtfully to all circumstances in life. Not just our spouse, not just our kids. But that’s what I wanna be. Be a person that learns to respond rather than just react. Right.

Jennifer (17:47):
Okay. So let’s talk about some of these things that we would find in our bags, in our backpacks.

Aaron (17:53):
Yeah, let’s talk about all yours. No. Oh

Jennifer (17:55):
Kidding. My list is a little longer than S. No, no. Well this is kind of

Aaron (17:59):
Just like I have them too. This

Jennifer (18:00):
Is mixed of ours, but also general.

Aaron (18:03):
And sometimes as were, when we were writing our notes are these things can be very subtle and actually hard to identify sometimes. But I am praying that God does reveal these things in me. So I have some too. For sure. I imagine that probably the most commonplace where we have stored up issues, baggage, stuff that we’ve drugged from the past or just

Jennifer (18:26):
Held onto to

Aaron (18:26):
Oh yeah. And held onto it is past hurts in relationships with our spouse, with our friends, parents probably parents is a big one. And so huge influence whether they were around or not. Both can have profound influence on our life and effect in the kind of people we are and how we react <laugh> in situations. And these come in many different forms. Betrayal, which is a big, big one. When someone we love betrays us, betrays our trusts broken

Jennifer (19:00):
Trust, that’s

Aaron (19:01):
A huge one. Fights that we’ve had either physical or emotional or verbal. These types of things that we’ve had between people that mean a lot to us issues with our mother, father of both that has an effect on us and how we move forward in life. And the kinds way we view our spouse and the way we view our children and the way we respond in certain C circumstances, like you said, use the word trigger. There’s lots of things that trigger us and we might respond based off of those old hurts.

Jennifer (19:35):
So that’s a really good summary of just relationships. Like relationships affect us. For others it could be P T S D, maybe it’s guilt or regret from choices previously made bad habits that kind of just stuck with you,

Aaron (19:52):
Right? They just kept going

Jennifer (19:55):
Debts. And also a huge one is addiction.

Aaron (20:00):
These could be a lot of these things. I brought addiction into our marriage and I’ve talked about that a lot. Debt also things that actually shaped quite a bit of the first parts of our marriage, like years. So those all have things. So don’t, some of these other things I may not personally deal with and you may not, but there are people that do. But all of these things, all of these different triggers, all of these different types of baggage that we could bring in. God redeems and he works through and he’s patient with us and desires to grow us and change us. So another one is and I feel like you’ve struggled with this a lot just throughout the years and it’s something that God’s totally been working in you and slowly is bringing to the surface. But inner criticisms,

Jennifer (20:52):
Judging myself and being my worst critic,

Aaron (20:59):
Those things, that way of thinking, it comes from when you were younger and it gets amplified by certain things and built on. And if they’re not dealt with, then that’s going to always be viewing yourself from that lens.

Jennifer (21:16):
For sure. I can see that. And when I let those types of thoughts consume me, I do get irritated. And if I’m bothered by one thing already, then there’s an interaction with us. I just, I’m stuck there. That’s what it feels like.

Aaron (21:33):
Well and that stuck feeling that in inadequacy or that criticism of yourself sometimes manifests in a way of failure to continue on not wanting to give up, wanting to

Jennifer (21:47):
Feeling paralyzed per that’s a thing emotionally. Yeah. Paralyzed,

Aaron (21:51):
Which affects us, like you said, and affects you and it affects your relationship with the Lord and your kids and even friends some other, another area that baggage manifests in fears.

Jennifer (22:07):
Fears from actual circumstances that have happened to people that who have gotten hurt or kind of doing that whole worst case scenario type thing.

Aaron (22:19):
Yeah. I’ve known people that they respond certain ways when they see si situations that mimic something that bad that happened to a friend or a family member. And so there’s this fear that ends up being a controlling factor in their way of thinking and responding and being

Jennifer (22:41):
Control. That’s a big one. Yeah. Other ones are just doubts or insecurities from way back in childhood that become a trigger for anxiety. I know something that I’ve struggled with is things lies that I’ve believed about myself. And in the present, when I experience stress, those things get affirmed. Cuz I remember, oh see yeah, I’m bad at this or I can’t think of anything in this particular moment, but I

Aaron (23:12):
Know that, no, it’s almost like self-fulfilling prophecy. Like, oh look, I mess up in this area again. I, oh, I couldn’t get this bedroom clean or this or I, in the way I communicated to my friend, oh look what I did again. Yeah. Who I am rather than Which

Jennifer (23:28):
You brought up that verse about being a new creation and that’s what makes it hard to believe that when you’re stuck believing the lies that Yeah,

Aaron (23:35):
Because look what I did again. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Well and that’s a very common thing that we fall into is believing that because we maybe succumb to a pattern a way of being that we’ve had for a long time or that comes with this baggage that is who we are. But that very thing that we think is what keeps us from growing past that. Mm-hmm. From truly repenting of that way of truly being transformed in that area. Because what we’re really saying is, I’m not new in that area. That is who I am. Therefore it’s going to happen again rather than when it does happen again, I’m going to repent of that thing and know that that’s not who I want to be. <laugh>. Okay. Something that, this is baggage from my life and it’s, I’ve been confronted with it a lot and it’s a really hard thing to just constantly confronted with. But I think I’ve been making strides in the last most recent years, more than I have in my whole life. Because I’ve finally believed it was an issue where before I believed this lie that no, it’s just who I am. Oh, it’s because of the way I was raised.

Jennifer (24:55):
You should just tell ’em what it is I was going to say. Or minimizing it. It’s not minimizing, it’s not how you’re perceiving it. That’s not what I’m doing.

Aaron (25:05):
So my way of communicating <laugh>, my way of talking, my way of sharing, my way of using my words and my tones and my facial expressions in a normal setting can be very passionate, very

Jennifer (25:25):
I feel like is a positive spin on what you’re

Aaron (25:28):
Well in a general scenario, yeah, it, I think a positive thing. But it has gotten me sometimes into a lot of

Jennifer (25:35):
Trouble. Sometimes it can sound argumentative or fights me.

Aaron (25:40):
Sometimes it is argumentative, sometimes it is argue. I used to love the argument. We’ll

Jennifer (25:47):
Say this, you’re a very strong communicator. You’re a confident communicator. And sometimes it’s

Aaron (25:52):
Just, which should come off. Arrogant

Jennifer (25:53):
Comes off the wrong way.

Aaron (25:55):

Jennifer (25:55):
Comes. And then because of all this in situations with me where you’re actually stressed, frustrated there’s a problem. It sounds, it comes out and it sounds harsh. And that’s where I get sensitive. I’ll say this, wait a minute.

Aaron (26:08):
More than one person who were friends of mine told me that when they first met me, they thought I was a big jerk. So it’s not like this is a isolated event. This is a thing that has followed me when I’m overwhelmed. So on the extreme negative side of this, when I’m overwhelmed or stressed or frustrated or embarrassed or feel guilty, then it comes out in harshness, in controlling words. And

Jennifer (26:39):
Not so compassionate.

Aaron (26:40):
And not compassionate is not on the list of words that describes what I do. And Jennifer, you, it’s interesting how God

Jennifer (26:50):
Pairs us up.

Aaron (26:51):
Yeah. Pair pairs us up with the people that who is it? Timothy Keller that says this idea that your spouse is a perfect mirror reflecting your son back at you.

Jennifer (27:02):
Gary. Gary Thomas.

Aaron (27:02):
Oh, Gary Thomas. Thank you. I was thinking, I was like, it’s one of those writers that have written sacred marriage. Yeah. Sacred marriage. And that’s exactly what it is. You, you’re sensitive to that. Sensitive to that way of communicating the harshness in a big way, I think rightly. And so when it happens, when I walk in that past way of being that baggage, when I allow that to be, when I react rather than respond, it’s you shut down and it hurts you and it’s really hard for you to open back up to me in that moment. That’s something that we’ve, for 15 years now, it’s been a, yeah,

Jennifer (27:41):
I was going to make an a note cuz when we say past baggage, a lot of times it sounds like something or is associated with something that happens prior to marriage, which a lot of it does childhood and all of that. But I mean we’ve been married 15 years now, so our past baggage is we’re creeping into early marriage and that’s our

Aaron (28:00):
Early marriage baggage is creeped into our present now, our present marriage.

Jennifer (28:05):
Yeah. I just think that’s interesting how even our recent past something can happen or an experience that kind of changes us in a way that if we’re not being willing to examine, could follow us and continue a pattern of hurt in our life and in our spouse’s

Aaron (28:24):
Life. And it has in many different ways. But the awesome thing is when we are willing to see it, which is a form of humility. Oh wait, I’m not perfect. Oh wait, I have these issues that need, that God wants to change in me, then it can actually be dealt with. And so I would say, Jennifer, am I perfect at this?

Jennifer (28:50):
No, but you have grown a lot

Aaron (28:52):
And I also have gotten better. I think this is the biggest thing I’ve changed and I’ve gotten better at receiving when you tell me I’m being harsh. Totally. Where I used to fight and defend and justify. And

Jennifer (29:04):
I would also say that your level of harsh being harsh has not changed. Where in the beginning it was a lot more. Right.

Aaron (29:12):
But again, that intense, that baggage from the past goes into how you respond because you remember how it was and you felt it. And all those things still exist in you. And so that’s been something that you’ve had to learn how to grow in is how to receive me as a change.

Jennifer (29:29):
See, we’re complex. Marriage is complex. This is all complex, super

Aaron (29:33):
Complex. Listen,

Jennifer (29:34):
We’re figuring it out complex. Okay, so are we choosing to hold on to ways of being because of what’s happened in the past?

Aaron (29:46):
I got a question for you.

Jennifer (29:47):
Well wait,

Aaron (29:48):
I just asked a question. I know you’re sounded rhetorical. No it’s not though because we could be choosing it. But I got a question, why would someone choose, can I ask you why have you chosen to hold onto something? Something that came to my mind and maybe you’re, hopefully you’re okay with me sharing it when I sin against you or when I do something wrong or hurt you. You have a hard time moving past it letting go because you’re fearful that I won’t get it

Jennifer (30:24):
Like you. Yeah.

Aaron (30:28):
Does that make sense? Yeah, yeah. You know what I’m trying to describe it carefully.

Jennifer (30:32):
No I don’t. Don’t know exactly. But I think what you’re saying is I get afraid that maybe you haven’t learned your lesson or understood how you hurt me. And so now I have to teach you how you hurt me. And

Aaron (30:44):
So I’m not necessarily saying holding you, holding onto that thing, but you holding onto that way of showing your hurt.

Jennifer (30:53):
Yeah, the closed offness, the shutting off the leave me alone.

Aaron (30:56):
Yeah. Is it something that you think you choose to hold onto? I literally thought about it when you asked the question just now. I was thinking, oh, why would someone choose that? Choose to hold onto something.

Jennifer (31:08):
Yeah. I think I feel like almost in a way it validates why I feel the way that I feel because the moment that I let it go, it’s like we’re back to square one. I don’t know.

Aaron (31:20):
Well so here’s something I just thought about. There was parts of me. So I have my ears pierced. I mean I don’t even have jewelry in ’em anymore. I used to have these plugs and it’s just a big hole. Now, I don’t know if you’ve seen pictures of me but that Steph my beard thi things about my persona I held onto because I believed a certain thing about myself that if I had these earrings, if I had this beard, if I dressed this way or whatever it was, I would fit in or stand out or these things that I held onto from when I was younger for various reasons. Cuz I wanted to be a part of something. It was very hard for me to let those parts of me go or allow them to be changed. So I chose to hold onto those things purely because of the security I felt and how it shaped my identity.

So that was something for me. And it was, do you remember that? It was a very hard season for, which is so funny cuz all I was doing was taking out these two wood plucks outta my ears. But it was a big deal because I was recognizing how much I was holding onto this picture of who I thought I was. No one else cared <laugh> in the whole world, but I had this idea. So I think sometimes people can choose to hold on to this baggage because it actually is a part of our identity. Like well that if I let go of that, then I’m, that I cease to be who I am. Which also is not true cuz we’re so much more than just the way I communicate my harsh words or if I yell when I’m angry. Those kinds of things that that’s just for me. Those are things that can be changing. God wants to change, he wants me to be a better man in those areas. Just

Jennifer (33:22):
For the record, you don’t really yell.

Aaron (33:23):
No, I’m trying to give examples of I do get loud <laugh> just what I’m excited or anything. Our whole family’s really loud.

Jennifer (33:32):
Actually no, I That’s a lot different than saying yell. You just explained to them that you’re harsh and now you just said that. I know. They’re

Aaron (33:37):
Like, Aaron yells. No, no, you’re right. I don’t really do that but I’m just trying to say is I think that’s one reason someone can hold onto it. Do I don’t know if there’s any other you could think of, but it’s a good question to ask. Are we choosing to hold onto this baggage?

Jennifer (33:55):
Yeah, I think that we end up choosing it when we make that decision of whether or not we’re going to handle what’s in that backpack, what’s in that bag, what’s holding us back, what we’re holding onto.

Aaron (34:08):
So it’s it, it’s not necessarily, it may not be an active, I choose this, but more of a, I refuse to look at it. I don’t wanna see this. It’s an apathy towards the,

Jennifer (34:20):
I’m not going to deal with

Aaron (34:21):
It that thing inside of me. No, you have your stuff and don’t

Jennifer (34:25):
Like, you’re not cheerfully walking around the house with a backpack on, but it is sitting right in front of your front entryway.

Aaron (34:34):
So this next note it kind of leads into that is, or what we’re saying kind of leads into this next note I should say sometimes these things can be subconscious <laugh> that they could be just parts of us. We again we’re react reactions but for the believer, eventually God will work these things out to the surface. Yeah,

Jennifer (34:55):

Aaron (34:56):
True. When we’re in his word, when we’re in prayer, when we, we love God and we follow him eventually God, if it’s something that is opposed to his will, if it’s something that doesn’t align with the bride of Christ, it’s going to work to the surface

Jennifer (35:13):
Decades later. Have you ever been like, why am I dealing with this right now

Aaron (35:17):
Or again, because why am I dealing with this again? Because

Jennifer (35:20):
God loves us and he cares about

Aaron (35:22):
Us. That scripture, we know that we’re sons because he disciplines us, because he disciplines those he loves. So that part of that discipline is bringing to the surface these things that he desires to remove from us change in us.

Jennifer (35:40):
Something that is important for us to ask ourselves is do we desire our spouse to grow and change from their past and how it affects them. I know this whole episode we’ve kind of talked about from our perspective and our point of view, what’s in our baggage. But I think another part of the question here is do we care about what’s happening to our spouse and do we have eyes to see them and what they’re going through? Are we able to sift through their responses and reactions to say, Hey, there’s this thing over here that’s bothAarong you. Address that.

Aaron (36:16):
Well I think in a wrong way, this is the easiest thing for us to do.

Jennifer (36:26):
<laugh> point the finger.

Aaron (36:27):
Yeah, <laugh>. Look at this thing John. That’s

Jennifer (36:29):
Not how I meant that

Aaron (36:30):
Question. We’re good. I know, but when you were reading it I was like, was like, yes

Jennifer (36:35):
We do do that,

Aaron (36:36):
But we tend to have an easier time identifying the issues in our spouse or in anyone else. That’s true. But what you are saying

Jennifer (36:48):
It’s Als Oh sorry, go ahead.

Aaron (36:50):
I was just going to say what you are saying is the more I is the what God does desire from us is that we see these things in our spouse for their good, not because we want to be. Right. Right. So I actually care about you,

Jennifer (37:09):
I wanna work this out with you.

Aaron (37:11):
But I think that can only happen when we can see ourselves clearly

Jennifer (37:16):
Right. In a right way. Yeah, that’s true.

Aaron (37:18):
Because if we’re refusing to look at ourselves then I think we’ll always see wrongly I was, or at least with a wrong heart.

Jennifer (37:26):
Yeah, I was going to add to what you were just saying and just explain how, and I don’t think that I’m alone in this maybe <laugh>, but it’s not only is it easier to see what your spouse is dealing with and how it affects them, but it’s easier for me to get passionate or fired up about, you know, need to change that thing cuz it’s affecting us and it’s affecting our marriage way easier and way more intense than seeing myself clearly and saying, Ooh, that’s bad. I need to change that. And being away intense about it. I’m more light with myself as far, I’m a hard critic, but I’m light on the side of I need to change this

Aaron (38:09):
Again. I think that’s also a really common thing. We tend to be very lenient with our own sin but strict

Jennifer (38:19):
With others. That’s what I was trying to say. You simplify things good for

Aaron (38:21):
Me. Well, but what you said was correct. Yeah. We just had a conversation about something that we were like, yeah that needs to change right now. And then it’s like, oh but I have stuff. Can I have that same passion for my own transformation?

Jennifer (38:39):
We real quick, just earlier we were talking about whether or not we’re choosing to keep the baggage and to hold onto it. So obviously the Holy Spirit talks to us Christians and walks us through God’s word and holds up that mirror. And so we’re constantly confronted with sin whether we’d like to admit it or not. Will you just explain the consequence of resisting the Holy Spirit quenching the Holy Spirit? Yeah. What happens?

Aaron (39:11):
Do you remember when I would explain to you how heavy I felt when I maybe messed up a little bit in this area and I knew I needed to confess to you, but I didn’t want to and I just felt like the spirit of God wouldn’t let me move past that. And I believe that’s something that we can grow in sensitivity to with Christ is that of our sin gets more and more heavy regardless of how small we think it is. And there’s this verse in Psalm 32, I just read to you just the other day that I feel like described exactly what it feels like when we push away the Holy Spirit when he comes to us and says, Hey, I want to change you in this or I want you to confess this or I want you to move in this way. In Psalm 32 it says, for when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long for day and night.

Your hand was heavy upon me. My strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. And I feel like that describes what it, and this is David writing this that describes what it feels like and what’s actually happening when we push the spirit of God away when he comes to us and he convicts us and we say nah and wants something else, I don’t want that conviction. So you asked me to describe it. I think that scripture does, but I think that’s something that God wants us to learn is how to become sensitive to listening to his spirit and his conviction and his moving in our lives rather than more dull. And that’s actually the warning that the New Testament gives is to not quench the Holy Spirit, is to not blast from the Holy Spirit is to not push him away for in doing so we will harden our hearts and we don’t wanna do that. We wanna be sensitive and pliable and moldable and open to God and when he has for us.

Jennifer (41:23):
That’s really good. Sorry to jump back and forth here. So then we were just talking about how it’s easier to see what’s going on in our spouse’s life and easier to become more intense about you need to change this area. And I was just thinking about Matthew seven, one through five about taking the plank out of your own eye. Read it.

Aaron (41:42):
Yeah, why don’t we just read real quick. So starting in verse one Matthew seven, judge, not that you be not judged for we for with what judgment you judge, you’ll be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but do not consider the plank in your own eye Or how can you say to your brother, let me remove the speck from your eye. And look, plank is in your own eye. Hypocrite first, remove the plank from your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Jennifer (42:16):
That’s kinda like the whole point of this episode today.

Aaron (42:19):
It kinda is.

Jennifer (42:20):
Yeah, we want you to see clearly.

Aaron (42:23):
And the purpose of seeing clearly is for the mutual upbuilding and encouragement of your brother or your wife or your friend in the church. And so we, in removing our plank and allowing the spirit of God to say, Hey there’s look at this plank in your eye, then we can see clearly in each in someone else’s eyes and we can see, hey, I’m coming to you out of love and compassion. Here’s something I see in you and let’s work on that. Let’s grow. And then I think the Lord wants you to change in that or get rid of it altogether.

Jennifer (42:57):
Yeah, that’s good. So we mentioned last episode that you were headed off to a men’s retreat and you had a really great time. Your friend let out a little message time and ask some really good questions. And so I was going to ask if you wanted to share those cuz those are really good questions to kind of prompt those listening can go back with their spouse and ask each other.

Aaron (43:25):
It was breaking up your life into just different categories, marriage, parenting, friends, church, and then asking a few questions in each of those areas for the sake of growth. One is the first question is what’s something that’s tripping you up or keeping you from what you want desire in that area? So again, what baggage is holding you back? What’s that thing? And then the next question is, what’s a goal you do have? So say for your marriage.

Jennifer (44:00):
So it’s a hard and a positive.

Aaron (44:02):
And then the last one is like, what’s one step you could take today to work toward that goal? But those can work in the same with what we’re talking about too is evaluating okay, what area of my life do I feel like I’ve just been holding onto something that’s affected me? And then what’s your goal with that? And then what’s one step you can take toward rid that <laugh> from your life, cleaning it out, cleaning out those lunch bags so they’re ready to be

Jennifer (44:32):
Used. That’s good. So we kind of came up with a couple of actionable steps just to wrap up this episode because we didn’t wanna leave you empty handed but tools. Tools. So once you recognize something in you that does need to be cleaned out and transformed, what are those steps?

Aaron (44:50):
Again, we talked about idea of plank eye or being able to see or acknowledge that you have something starts with humbleness. Yeah,

Jennifer (45:00):
It’s a posture of your heart.

Aaron (45:02):
It’s saying, I know I’m going to need discipline and transformation and there’s areas of my life God that I want you to change or that I don’t even know need to be changed, but they’re there. So just having a humility, homeless to receive to not only hear from your spouse but a friend, but most importantly from the Holy Spirit and his

Jennifer (45:22):
Word and his word, God’s word. Number two would be confess it and acknowledge how it could be tripping you up because this is a really important step because you might think about it, but it could be so brief that you brush it off and you don’t wanna confront it, you don’t wanna call it what it is. But once you say it out loud it there’s almost like this releasing of

Aaron (45:45):
Good to just, well there’s a freedom that comes from it. But it also, once you speak it out loud, it becomes a thing that exa, it’s heard and now it exists and it’s known. So that confession. But a true confession we talked about in the beginning, something that kept me from changing was minimizing. This is a tool we use, it’s defense mechanism. If I can minimize the thing, the sin, the way of being, oh it’s not that bad. Oh it’s just my personality. Oh it’s just my upbringing. Oh it’s just my nationality. Oh it’s just my whatever you want to call it. And you minimize the bad attitude. You minimize the harsh way of talking, you minimize the sin behavior, then you’re not actually confessing. What you’re doing is you’re shrinking and making it seem small and saying, yeah, it’s not that bad. But confession is like, you know what God doesn’t want that. I wanna, I don’t want it because God doesn’t want it.

Jennifer (46:41):
On a side note, a part of this confessing and acknowledging is also acknowledging the effect it has on your present and on your spouse. Because that part’s important too, that we can actually see it for what it is and go, okay,

Aaron (46:54):
This hurts people,

Jennifer (46:55):
This hurts people. That’s important to be able to acknowledge that. Number three would be pray and ask God to keep sculpting you and transforming you and change you in that area.

Aaron (47:06):
Yeah, go ahead. Before the father of lights to make us more light, to make us like us on Jesus and that he’s the one that does the work in us. He says he’s faithful and just to forgive us our sins. And he also is faithful to complete what he began in us. That good work He began in us, he completes it. The fourth one, request accountability. This will most likely, cuz we’re talking about marriage with these things, our spouse is going to be our best accountability partner. What

Jennifer (47:37):
Does that look like in

Aaron (47:38):
Our marriage? If we let them

Jennifer (47:39):
<laugh>, what does that look like in our marriage? So

Aaron (47:41):
It means that,

Jennifer (47:42):
Hey, I recognize this thing in me when you see it, will you help me by

Aaron (47:48):
Saying something?

Jennifer (47:49):
Saying something, walking me through it.

Aaron (47:51):
Yeah. The hard part with this is when it’s said to us or in our flesh, I do this and you’ve done this too, Jennifer, is we don’t like how it’s said. We don’t like that they, they’re saying something in that way in that time and their tone was off. But the fact that they’re saying something’s important and so if we can practice receiving, receiving, receiving. So going back to number one, yeah, <laugh> humbling ourselves.

Jennifer (48:16):
This is the song

Aaron (48:17):
Na. And then go back to number two. We can confess it. So we can always go back to our spouse later on and be like, Hey, I really appreciate you reminding me next time will you be do a gentler. Yeah. So I think just receiving that accountability from our spouse but also adding on the more we can have it. So bringing it up to our friends, Hey, I’ve been this way with my family or with my children or with my wife, or in general if you recognize it, will you just gimme a little nudge and say, Hey man, chill out. Remind me of that thing that I’m trying to grow out of.

Jennifer (48:51):
And all this is practice walking in practice. And as you do it, yeah, it gets easier and better. Even with the accountability. We’re better at how we keep each other accountable now than what we did 15 years ago.

Aaron (49:05):
And hopefully in 15 years we’ll be even better than we are today.

Jennifer (49:08):
Hopefully we won’t have to keep each other accountable at all. Cuz see,

Aaron (49:11):
We’ll we’ll be perfect. I think that’s the fallacy though, is that we think one day we’re going to be past all this stuff. Okay, all right. The reality is we go back to number one, humble ourselves. We need Jesus every day. I like that all day. I like that meme that says, man, I need Jesus to go into Walmart. That’s true. We need Jesus literally every day and we need the gospel of Jesus to remind us every day that we need God and that he’s transforming us. So I wanted to end with this verse cuz I feel like this kind of culminates this whole idea because at the end of the day it’s not just like, Hey, let’s just be better people. There’s something beautiful that God’s doing and it’s in second Corinthians three 17 and 18. Now the Lord is the spirit and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

And we all with unveiled faces beholding the glory of the Lord are being transformed in the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the spirit. This is what Christ wants for us is true eternal freedom. And we get to experience it now in various ways and in little ways and in big ways as God is transforming us into the same image of Christ. And I love that it says, and it for a long time I didn’t understand what this means from one degree of glory to another. And there’s another scripture that reiterates this from glory to glory. So from one degree of glory to another, the fact is you are currently a new creation and daily being made a new creation.

Amen. That’s the reality. Yeah, we are new. And then on a even larger scale, even before Christ, before you believed in Christ, you were made in his image. In his image He made a male and female were made in God’s image and then in Christ we’re being made into that same image. So from one degree of glory to another. And so it’s a constant just moving on up, changing us every day. So I just wanna encourage you guys listening that it’s for freedom, that God’s doing this with us and he’s transforming us cuz he loves us. So I hope that encourages you.

Jennifer (51:42):
It does me. All right. Weekly challenge. For those of you who are taken up, our challenges and doing awesome things this week is take each other by surprise. It could be sweet or it could be sneaky. You could do a prank, you can scare each other or be silly

Aaron (51:59):
<laugh>. Jennifer likes the sneaky kind

Jennifer (52:01):
And the silly. I like

Aaron (52:03):
Anything next. Sneaky and the silly. I like

Jennifer (52:04):
Anything that’s surprising and funny. I just wanna share real quick, A friend of mine surprised your husband over the weekend when he was gone and cleaned out his entire garage and got him a toolbox to organize all of his stuff.

Aaron (52:16):
I saw

Jennifer (52:17):
That. I know. It was awesome.

Aaron (52:18):
That is, that’s sweet. Sneaky and sneaky. And depending on the kind of person could be scary. You put my, where

Jennifer (52:25):
Is everything?

Aaron (52:26):
Yeah, that’s pretty awesome.

Jennifer (52:27):
That’s kind of a big one. But

Aaron (52:30):
Also that friend surprise whose garage is cleaned out. You love to scare whenever possible. Yes, we do. So

Jennifer (52:37):
We collectively,

Aaron (52:38):
We do it. Actually a lot of people at our church love to scare.

Jennifer (52:43):
Oh, Cody, that’s funny. Okay, so do something for your spouse that they haven’t had time for. That’s just like an easy example. You could clean out the car for them. You could organize a closet or paint a dresser shred those papers that they stack on top of the shredder. Hey, hey,

Aaron (53:01):
I do do that.

Jennifer (53:03):
Anyways, these are just silly ideas, but good job. Do you have anything to add, <laugh>? Nope. Okay. <laugh>,

Aaron (53:10):
Shall we pray?

Jennifer (53:11):

Aaron (53:12):
Dear Lord, thank you for the way your truth transforms our lives. Thank you for not giving up on us. Our heart aches over the sin in our lives that cost you everything. We pray we would honor you by acknowledging and confessing our sin. We pray we would not hold onto anything that we shouldn’t. If we are hoarding anything from our past that is having a negative effect on us, we pray we would be diligent and courageous to take that step to reconcile with you and restore any parts of our marriage. We broke down because of things we hold onto or ways we believed about ourselves or each other. We pray we would be willing to surrender to you every day. In Jesus name, amen.

Jennifer (53:51):
Thank you for joining us for another episode of the Marriage After God podcast.

Aaron (53:54):
If you found today’s episode fun and encouraging, please take a moment to share it on social media or in an email to some of your married friends.

Jennifer (54:00):
Also, would you please take a moment and leave us a review, reviews help to spread the word about our podcast.

Aaron (54:05):
Be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode, and you can always check out more of our

Jennifer (54:10):
You can follow us on social media for more marriage encouragement on Facebook and Instagram at Marriage after God at Husband Revolution and at Unveiled Wife.

Aaron (54:19):
We hope you have an incredible week and look forward to sharing more with you next week on The Marriage After God podcast.


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