• Darrell & Robin MacLearn

Forget the Past – Focus Forward

This may sound counter-intuitive and go against all the emotions that are raging in you right now.

“Forget the past??? Are you freaking kidding me. You have no idea what he did to me. Adultery is not easily forgotten.”

Trust me we understand! We’ve been there and felt that and yet this is one of the most profound and powerful steps toward your healing and health in your marriage. We are not saying this will be easy but stay with us. If your desired destination is a strong healthy marriage, even an eXtraOrdinary marriage, this step will be a key to getting you there safely.

Successfully arriving at my desired destination might be the difference between the mirror and the windshield.

Stop and ponder this thought about the mirror and the windshield for a moment… If you leave home hoping to successfully arrive at work you will need to spend more time looking out your windshield focused on your destination and what’s in front of you than in your mirror and the bumps and potholes and jerks behind you. Try driving to work tomorrow and during the whole drive look at the car behind you in the mirror, yelling at him for his horrible driving and how he is affecting your drive to work. (Note: this test is meant for illustrative purposes, unfortunately, I think half the people in our town are testing this.)

I think the point is clear. You will have a hard time getting to your destination safely if you just look in the mirror. Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t glance in your mirror, take note of what you see, and adjust your driving accordingly.  However, it is when you are focused forward in a marriage that you are able to get to a safe place to “deal with the jerk behind you.”

Many couples that are struggling spend time in a counselor's office hashing and rehashing the past both trying to be right and just solidifying their cases. They are approaching the problems and issues in their relationships from a negative and defensive stance instead of a healthy one. Hours are spent trying to talk their way out of things they acted their way into. Focusing forward is a mindset shift that allows you to start acting your way into a healthy place.

This step, forgetting what is behind (for the moment) and focusing forward allows you to build health so that when you are more healthy you can address the issues from a stance of love and relationship vs. positioning for success and a win in the battle.

Traditional Couples Counseling Effectiveness 25% report a worse relationship   38% divorce within 4 years

I can already hear the defensiveness…

“Are you kidding me, it’s not MY actions that are the problem!”

Maybe that is true. However, those are the actions of the past, not the present and future. It is your personal actions at this point and going forward that will determine the outcomes of your future. You can’t control someone else’s actions but you can control your actions. Therefore, what you focus on and how you act will be a major factor on you arriving at your desired destination successfully.

This step then calls you to the following…

Intentionally set aside the problem UNTIL you are in a healthy state. Notice we said “until.”  This doesn’t mean amnesia about the past and the problem.  It just means that it doesn’t make sense to work on something that you are not mentally and emotionally prepared to address.

Intentionally focus on building and strengthening the relationship Thousands of dollars are spent on weddings that are beautiful for a day. Little is spent on building and strengthening relationships that are intended and entered into for a lifetime. Invest in your relationship.  Learn, grow, and become a relational master.  Take classes, get coaching, read marriage books and material.  Take action that will help you grow in relational skills.

Intentionally and regularly take your thoughts captive

You will hear us talk about this often because so much of our success and failure starts in the mind.  Your thoughts and what you spend your time ruminating on will make or break your marriage.  Coaching can make a world of difference here.

Intentionally focus your thoughts and feelings on rebuilding relational capacity and strength in your relationship It is one thing to take a thought captive and another to intentionally focus your thinking.  How much time are you spending in your mind dwelling on the past and all the crap that is pulling your marriage apart?  Those thoughts will produce emotions and those emotions will show up in your attitudes and actions and that will produce results.  Unfortunately, those results may be the very thing you are trying to avoid. Sure you can blame your spouse, but the truth is it is your thoughts about your situation that will produce your results

Where are your thoughts? Take a moment and focus on what you want.  No, revenge will not rebuild health.  

What kind of marriage do you dream of?  

  • Hugs and Kisses

  • Genuine and authentic intimacy? 

  • To be loved and cherished and deeply wanted?

  • To be best friends who can laugh together, play together, and cry together?

  • What was your dream the day you said, “I Do?”


“Where your focus goes your energy flows” ~ Tony Robbins

We are very well aware that in the midst of the junk “forgetting the past” is not an easy task and many will even tell you you can’t, that it's just not possible.  Just remember your goal and the outcome you desire and ask yourself, will focusing my energy on this negative stuff help me get where I desire to go?  Will it draw him/her to me or push them away from me?  We have yet to see anyone attracted to criticism, judgment, contempt, anger, etc.

Remember, we are not saying that the “issues” will never be dealt with or addressed. We are simply saying that the most success will be found addressing them from a healthy positive state.

Today is a new day. Let’s move forward one day at a time and one step at a time.  We are here to help.

This Week's Challenge... 1. Pick one or two “issues” (big or small) that are consuming your focus and need to be “tabled” and shift your focus… 2. Make a list of the top 5 things you want in your relationship… (example: unconditional love and acceptance, good communication, etc) 3. Evaluate yourself in regard to the list you just made.  What positive steps are you taking to “be that” in your relationship?

4. Focus forward and set your intent on being and producing that in your relationship.  

Look for things you can do intentionally to move forward toward your top 5 goals.

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