abuse

3 Questions To Ask About His Past

Welcome back to Part 4 of the Are We Ready For Marriage series. We’ve been tackling some pretty serious questions and today is no different.

If you’re just catching up on this series, here are the previous posts:

Part 1: Do Our Values and Goals Match and Do We Have Chemistry?

Part 2: How Do We Work Out Disagreements?

Part 3: Do We Have Communication Issues?

Today I want to talk about the 3 questions you should have conversations about on a continual basis.

When Jono and I became friends, we used to talk on the phone for hours about everything. We still do.  I’ve realized that the deep intimacy in our relationship has a lot to do with the fact that we’re completely vulnerable with each other, and honest about everything. But after years of giving people relationship advice, I’ve realized that a lot of people don’t have that type of relationship with their partner.  

It’s hard for me to imagine marrying and sharing my life with someone that I don’t really know that well. When you marry someone, you should know everything there is to know about them. You should be able to write a small book about their life with the information you know about them, that’s how well you should know the person you’re going to marry.

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But so many people focus on the happiness they have in the moment, then get married and quickly become disillusioned at all the stuff that starts coming out the closet once they say “I do.”

Sure, you’re always going to be learning more and more about your partner even after you get married. But you should know the significant things that have shaped them into the person they are today.

Here are some things to talk to your partner about. Remember that a lot of people (especially men!) have a hard time opening up about things that make them feel vulnerable. So if you don’t get very far in the first conversation, keep trying! So many communication issues can be avoided by just understanding your partner’s past. This is why it’s important to make your relationship a safe space where you can tell each other anything.

Here are the most important things to ask about the past

  1. Trauma:

    Was your partner ever the victim of abuse, rape, or bullying? Were they abandoned or neglected by their parents? Trauma literally changes the pathways in your brain. It affects the way you perceive things that happen to you. It shapes the way you think. For a person who has been through trauma, a word, touch, or smell could bring back painful memories or cause them to react in an unexpected way.

  2. Past relationships:

    How long was your partner’s last relationship? Why did they break up? How did it start? It’s important that you hear what there is to know about past relationships from your partner, and not from gossips or people who aren’t looking out for your best interests. Also, patterns in relationships are often repeated, so you need to know exactly why things didn’t work out.

  3. Their childhood:

    Where did they grow up? What kinds of family traditions did they have? What was their family culture like? Who raised your partner? What was marriage like between their parents?

The past shapes the person you are today. Know your partner’s past will go a long way to helping to establish trust and intimacy in your relationship.  If you have that kind of relationship, sometimes your partner may not be able to communicate their needs to you clearly, but knowing their past will give you the clues you need to figure out their pain and their priorities. You’ll have a much greater insight into the way they think and feel.

Get your ebook bundle here “Love From The Inside Out”

Get your ebook bundle here “Love From The Inside Out”

If that’s the type of relationship you want, and the kind of foundation you want for your marriage, start having those conversations now, and keep having them until it’s a practice in your relationship to share your innermost thoughts with each other.

That’s when you know that you’re truly one.  

Want to get the rest of the series in your inbox? Let’s keep in touch here.

P.S. Want more marriage prep? Here’s an ebook bundle I put together for you!

How I Overcame the Shame of Molestation To Live A Life of Freedom

When I was in elementary school, I was molested by a family member. That same family member introduced me to porn for the first time. That was just one occasion too, but I can never forget those two things. They’re stamped in my brain.

After those events happened, I felt ugly and dirty. I had a stain on the inside of me that I couldn’t escape. As I got older, I started becoming afraid that if people got to know me, they’d see what I saw and run the other way. I became so insecure and down on myself that I couldn’t affirm myself unless someone else did it first.

I got good grades because I saw how proud it made my parents, and I figured if that’s what it took to make them love me, I’d do it all the time.

I was a super strict vegan and was super religious and “holy” because I thought God would love me more if I did those things.

When I got married, I asked my husband’s opinion about every little thing and second and third-guessed every decision I made because I was scared of messing up in any way.

All my life, I had to be the good girl because it was the only time I felt like a person of value.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was struggling with toxic shame.

You see, when someone suffers from shame, they can’t distinguish the acts they commit, or the acts done to them, from themselves. In their minds, they think, “I’ve done something bad, so I am bad. I am a terrible person.” Or if they’ve been the victim of abuse, they may think this way, “I must be a terrible person for them to have treated me that way.”

That’s exactly how I felt. I thought to myself, “I’ve been molested. I’ve watched porn; therefore I’m permanently stained and damaged. I’m unlovable.”

No matter what has caused you to feel toxic shame-abuse, rape, criticism from others, poverty-you are NOT your past. You can be free from your shame.

  1. Acknowledge the source of your shame.

Until I acknowledged my shame, it had power over me.

It wasn’t until I had been in therapy for 6 months that I was finally able to pull the curtain back on my thoughts and emotions and pinpoint those memories and the pain I associated with them.

I finally got the courage to tell my therapist about being molested. I could barely say the words out loud. I had never told anyone, not even my husband, about what happened.

That’s the day my life changed for REAL and the weight I had been carrying fell off.

2.  Allow yourself to grieve.

When I started explaining what happened to my therapist, my throat got really tight, and the tears started flowing. I felt like I was watching myself as a little girl all over again in my mind.

It’s okay to feel sad about the things you’ve done, or the things that have been done to you. Let yourself feel the pain. Allow yourself to relive that moment and feel what you felt when it first happened, because that’s when you’ll finally be able to start letting it go.  

3. Develop compassion for yourself.

We’re only human. And nothing we do can make God love us any more, or any less. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Unfortunately, we live in a sinful world. Our hearts and thoughts naturally turn toward things that are corrupt. Naturally, we’re enemies of God in our minds. So some of us may have been victims or even perpetrators of evil.

But God has compassion on us, and He forgave us freely.

We need to do the same for ourselves. We need to forgive ourselves.

When I talked to my therapist, I told her I felt angry with myself too, for not doing anything to stop the molestation from happening.

She asked me a simple question: “What could you have done?”

“I could have said no. I could have told my parents so he wouldn’t have gotten away with what he did.”

But as I said it, I realized how irrational that sounded. It wasn’t until I said it out loud that I realized I had been taking my molester’s guilt and placing it on myself. I finally understood and accepted that what happened to me wasn’t my fault, and I didn’t have to blame myself anymore.

That day, I became free, because I finally developed compassion for myself instead of blaming myself for the things I couldn’t control.

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4. See yourself the way God sees you.

You are a masterpiece. I’ll say it again. You are a MASTERPIECE. There’s nothing you, or anyone else can do, to make God see you any other way. You can take a $20 bill and crumple it up, jump up and down on it, but guess what? It hasn’t lost it’s value. You can still take it to McDonald’s and get you some food. How much more true is that of us, God’s own children?

5. Get professional help.

I can’t say enough how much going to therapy has helped me uncover the broken pieces of myself and heal from the inside out. My marriage is so much happier. I mean, my husband and I had really good communication and an amazing friendship before that, but he could see that there were things in me that made me super insecure and down on myself. Now, my marriage is on another level simply because I’m happier. I’m finally comfortable in my own skin, no matter who’s around. I’m okay with myself messing up.

We couldn’t afford therapy at the time, but we made sacrifices to make sure I was able to get the help I needed. It’s by far the most important I’ve ever made in myself.

What will your choice be?

**This article was a snippet from my new e-book bundle “Love From the Inside Out.” To find out more about how you can get it, click here.

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