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Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

How Dredging Up the Past Can Help Your Marriage

  • Jim Daly
    Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2013 Feb 22
  • Comments

We’ve all heard the warnings about “dredging up the past” when dealing with challenges in our marriage.  

But there are times, I think, when a little dredging is just what your relationship needs. 

Morehead City, North Carolina, is home to one of the deepest ports on the East Coast. It’s a vital passageway for commercial and military ships. But the port developed a serious problem when Hurricane Sandy deposited sand in the channel -- and lots of it! Several areas that had once been almost 50 feet deep were reduced to only 5. 

Without dredging, the waterway would be inaccessible to ships, and a crucial port to the region would be shut down.

Something similar can happen in marriage. 

Unresolved conflict is like a never-ending storm between a husband and wife, depositing a sludge of bitterness in their hearts. Before long, instead of deep, fulfilling connection, the relationship becomes shallow and stagnates. 

When this happens, it’s time to dredge.

Obviously, by “dredging up the past,” I’m not referring to its typical meaning of re-hashing old conflicts to punish your spouse for their mistakes. I’m suggesting a couple join together to work through the resentment that has bogged down the relationship. 

It’s not easy, and some marriages need the guidance of a professional counselor to help them through. But with patience and the willingness to forgive one another, the depth of love couples once had for one another can be restored.

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