Wifey Wednesday: When Your Past Hurts Impact Your Marital Battles

Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! And you can all link up your own marriage posts in the linky below!

Today’s Wifey Wednesday is brought to you by Alexandra Kuykendall, author of The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir, where she tells her story of recovery from the abandonment by her father. Did you bring baggage into your marriage that made it hard to trust your husband? Alexandra understands!

PastHurtsI looked down at the table, the wood farm table that Derek had refinished in our garage, the one where he ate dinner with his parents and sisters when he was a boy and then a teenager, growing into the man I would later marry. Now I faced him as he was sitting next to me and my legs straddled the table-length bench and the hated thick tension that happened when we were fighting was present between us. Why couldn’t I say what I wanted? Spit out the words and opinions that were there? Why was I so afraid of making him angry? Derek is not an exploder, I knew I wasn’t afraid of his reaction that way and yet I could tell there was resistance because I didn’t want to upset him.

I let myself hear the tiny whisper from the back of my brain. It had been a while since I’d heard it. I pushed against it, but on that day I couldn’t ignore the why behind the fears, I was afraid he would leave. Really? Get up and walk out on me and the girls? No. But I have been wired from birth to think a man would leave, wouldn’t think I was worth sticking around for. It is the heritage I brought to my marriage. And so that internal tension is present whenever real tension starts to flare and I have to fight against it because I know it’s not based on truth.

The early years of marriage were like hurdling boulders. I had to get around those expectations, and hurts and hopes for what a husband would fulfill. I had to realize God was the only healer, that my imperfect, human husband couldn’t fix the hurts created by another imperfect, human man, my father. They were both men, yes, but one was not intended to replace the other.

And the boulders have shrunk to now bumps in my path. I still have to see them, step over them lest I trip on them. Those insecurities that are buried so far down I forget they are there until they poke up causing me to stumble and redirect my footing. Like that day only a few years ago on the bench when I recognized that hurt was causing me to doubt a man who had been nothing but faithful to me.

How I’ve fought the internal lies that tell me my husband will repeat the patterns of my father:

  • I recognize my wiring. I know based on my childhood experiences that I have to fight against certain messages. This helps me recognize what is really going on when the insecurities appear.
  • I focus on what I know to be true. That my husband is a faithful man. That he is not the same person as my father. That he has NEVER indicated he will leave me. That he deserves to be believed when he tells me he loves me.
  • I pray. For God to ease my fears. To live from a place of trust. For the Holy Spirit to guide my inner thoughts and bring light to what is true.
  • I act out of trust. In who God is. In who my husband is. And move forward.

Connections photoAlexandra Kuykendall spends her days wiping tears, bottoms and countertops and working for MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers). She and her husband Derek parent their four girls, ages 10 to 1, in Denver, CO. Her debut book, The Artist’s Daughter – A Memoir, was just released by Revell Books. You can connect with her in the following places:

Alexandra is giving away two copies of her book, The Artist’s Daughter! Just enter the Rafflectoper giveaway below before next Tuesday
to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now, what advice do you have for us today? Link up the URL of a marriage post you’ve written in the linky below! And be sure to link back here on your blog, too, so that other people can read all these great entries!


  1. I have similar baggage – I actually just talked about it with our social worker yesterday! I am sort of always living with the fear in the back of my mind that my husband is going to get tired of me and find someone younger, thinner, and prettier. (Like my dad did to my mom.) I know it’s frustrating for him, and he has even said, “I am not your dad.” We’ve made progress, and I don’t struggle with it like I used to, but it does rear its ugly head sometimes, and I know it hurts him. This is great advice – I am going to take it to heart!
    Megan G. recently posted…overwhelmedMy Profile

    • Same here,Megan! I am always trying to make sure my husband feels loved,and appreciated. My mom and dad divorced when I was 15 and pregnant,and I moved out with my mom. He was loyal to her to the end,and I am therefore a loyal person. But my hubby’s ex was a cheater and a drug user and bipolar. So I constantly feel like I am trying to console him,that I am a good wife and I wouldn’t do that. So I think we BOTH brought baggage to the marriage….. :(

      • Being bipolar is not a sin nor a flaw in who she is. Untreated bipolar disorder can lead to bad decisions during manic phases, including those involved with a highly increased sex drive and an absolute (and out of one’s control) lack of good judgment in any area; and any mental illness untreated or poorly treated can lead to substance abuse in an attempt to deal with the pain (in bipolar disorder, there is intense, very very severe pain in real mania, in a mixed episode, and in depression), but that is a PHYSIOLOGICAL ILLNESS, not a character flaw. An illness does not define a person, and symptoms of that illness do not define a person. Even if a person with mental illness is on medication, if it is not the right medication then the symptoms will persist. It’s so harmful when people use a label of an illness as a reason someone is a “bad” person, or was a “bad” romantic partner or a “bad” parent. They are not “bad.” They have an illness and need medical treatment.

        One wouldn’t call someone with cancer “bad” even if it severely affected their marriage or romantic relationship, even if it severely affected their parenting, even if they smoked pot to deal with the pain. It’s the exact same thing. One also does not call someone who has cancer, “cancer.” No, they HAVE cancer. They are not cancer. That is also the same thing.

        Anyway. That’s an aside, but I will always stand up for truth and knowledge in that area because most people are ignorant.

        We’ve been dealing with a lot of this sort of thing lately. Baggage infusing (really, causing) our disagreements, baggage causing tension and sorrow. I don’t know how we’re going to work through this. Sometimes I feel like it’s a dead end. Without some sort of serious intervention it’s never going to get better. I pray we can afford counseling soon.

  2. I have been dealing with my own simalair baggage lately. It has been amazing for me to see how these things have just crept into my mind over the years and seem to rear their ugly little heads at the worst times now that I am married. I loved how you said, “That he deserves to be believed when he tells me he loves me”. I needed to hear that and think about it today. Would LOVE to win a copy of the book.

  3. Kristy Laird says:

    This spoke to me! I needed it!!

  4. This post is a God sent. Lately I have been doubting my husband as well. Based on suspicions that I have not been able to prove I have been worried, down right distraught, bawling that my husband could be someone other than who I know him to be. I have been doubting that that my husband is too good to be true. In our 8 years of marriage he has been nothing but loving, caring, supportive and understanding of me. Yet these fears have been overwhelming my mind and though I have not proven anything I still have a hard time shaking it off. You see my wiring of a suspicious mentality stems from my father teaching me from I was young not to trust anybody, that people always have ulterior motives.

    I am so very suspicious of everybody. I always doubt people instead of trusting them. I have to be praying that God help me not to let me allow fears and suspicions ruin my marriage and family. I love my husband dearly and absolutely want our marriage to continue to work.

    • Lisa Spencer says:

      I have that same issue Claudia, except those words were coming from my mother not my father.

  5. Yes! My Dad was ALWAYS angry with us. He would start yelling when he got in the door and if we had tried to do everything right he would walk around the house looking for something to get angry about. My husband is pretty patient and is NOT a yelling person. I was always afraid to tell him if something broke (I’ve worked through this) and I still have trouble (8 years later?) greeting him at the door even though he is NOTHING like my Dad.
    Brooke recently posted…Congeniality: Compatibility Between PersonsMy Profile

  6. Of course the biblical thing to do so that healing can happen is to go to your father and ask for forgiveness for being mad at him all these years, if that is indeed the case and then even more importantly to go to your husband and ask for forgiveness for the hurt you’ve caused him that was not his fault.

    • I don’t know if I totally agree with this. I am not still mad at my dad. I haven’t neglected to forgive him. But, that doesn’t mean that the emotional scars from what happened don’t exist. I don’t feel like this has to be made a sin issue.

      • To clarify my point – of course disrespecting our husbands is a sin issue. But I don’t think that feeling hurt about the way someone treated you in the past is always a sin issue.

      • Sheila says:

        I agree that it’s not sin. True healing does often take time, and even after you have forgiven you can still have rejection issues that you need to work through. And I actually think our husbands can be gifts from God in this regard to help us work through these things!

  7. I really resonate with your story, Alexandra. I have similar “father issues” and they have drained and injured my marriage over the years. I’ve worked through a lot of them. But every once in a while, I notice the issues rearing their ugly head(s) again. God has been such a loving heavenly Father to fill that void and heal the wound that is there. I’m a work in progress and am interested in reading your story. Thanks for sharing so openly and thanks to Sheila for highlighting this very important issue in marriage.

  8. Erica P. says:

    I would love to read this book. My father just stopped talking to me around the time I turned 19. Never knew why and after I got married I had the same fears that if I said or did something my husband didn’t like or agree with he would leave. After almost 10 years of no communication I decided to call him and we talked like no time had passed. We even made plans for dinner to catch up and hopefully lead up to him meeting my husband and our son. He later canceled our dinner plans and phone calls went unanswered and eventually he changed his phone number. Even though I felt like it happened again ultimately I understood it’s him and not me. Doesn’t mean it hurts my feelings any less but I did what the Lord told me to do and reached out.

  9. Alyssa Ann says:

    I too had a father that abandoned his post, but not before he wreaked emotional havoc. Still a newlywed, I find myself unfairly projecting these expectations onto my husband.

  10. Jada Smith says:

    I carried similar baggage into my 15 year marriage, which did end in divorce. I’m now trying to allow God to re-wire my thoughts so maybe my children won’t lug the same luggage around with them. Constant prayer and grace!

  11. Jennifer D. says:

    I brought baggage from mistakes I made in previous relationships that emotionally scarred me. My husband was great about being patient with me for many years as I worked through this.

  12. Hannah J says:

    I brought in an unwanted sexual encounter. I was constantly afraid that my husband would hurt me, just like the guy in my past. Now that I am a stronger Christian, I no longer feel that way. I know that I can always say no, and he won’t force me.

    You can visit me at my blog if you want:

  13. As a child of divorced parents, I brought into marriage my fear of my husband leaving me. It took several years and much prayer for this fear to fade.

  14. Just found your site. Love it! Need to read more…

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