Twenty five years is a long time, and over that period of time I have recognized that we all come in to relationships with baggage - no one enters whole. Baggage is the stuff you carry with you on your life's journey that weighs you down. It can be remnants from childhood, a protective shell you built around yourself, pain from prior situations, or tactics for dealing with certain situations. These are all baggage in that they hinder your interactions with your partner. Many well-meaning individuals try to get rid of baggage before they enter in to a serious relationship, which is commendable but not complete, as you haven't met your life partner yet. Baggage becomes bulky and burdensome if not handled with care.
When I travel, I take luggage with me. My luggage contains the things I think I need for my journey. My luggage increases or decreases based on the length of my journey. When I reach my destination, I typically unpack, though if it’s a short trip I may live out of my suitcase, but to me that is never ideal.
In marriage, there's no need to continue to carry baggage that you've had all your life. Prior to meeting your spouse, some part of you felt it necessary to carry baggage, but the safety of marriage allows this baggage to be released. This is done carefully and with great consideration, for as you unload piece by piece you realize that you have greater freedom to love.
Baggage shows up in the ordinariness of life, like discovering you're disciplining a child a certain way only because that's what was done to you but seeing that it's not working in your situation. Unpacking of baggage is sacred; when you travel you don't want your luggage to be lost or mishandled. The same thing happens with baggage brought in to a marriage - it must be handled with care. If it is handled carelessly, you may feel entitled to holding on to your baggage even though it is weighing you down. It takes trust to allow your spouse to help you unpack. And unpacking can happen anywhere and anytime. When we travel we unpack when we have settled in. In life and marriage settling in can take a lifetime. The complexity of human nature is such that we may never discard of all of our baggage, but over time the load is lighter because you know you have someone to help you.
In our marriage we both have baggage around how we deal with money. It's not the money itself but what it represents to each of us. I'm frugal because I always want to ensure that I have. He's not as frugal as I, so sometimes we may butt heads over the most inane things. Over time we've both learned to look beyond the immediate situation and recognize each other's emotions so that we can handle the situation successfully.
Don't be afraid to release your baggage; the safety of marriage will allow you to do so. Trust the relationship, trust each other and trust God. If you think you are travelling lightly, ask your spouse to help you see what you're ignoring. Unpacking leads to greater love and intimacy.
P.S. This post is part of the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour