A “Yesterday Marriage”: 5 ways to help your marriage to not live off of re-runs.

Of all of our differences, Anne and I don’t really walk in agreement with the concept of re-runs.  We both love shows and enjoy watching them together.  But re-runs are a different story. I can only think of one show series in the past 17 years of marriage in which she’ll entertain the re-runs. But other than that, she watches a show and moves on.  I am her polar opposite.  I thrive on re-runs.  M*A*S*H, The West Wing, Taxi, and Whose Line are just a few I can’t get enough of (not to mention I’ll watch old football games…she totally doesn’t get that).  I love the nostalgia of it as well as the opportunity of passing great shows onto my kids.  Cammi loves a few of them (Saved by the Bell, Cosby Show).  Ethan shot down most of them after 5 minutes of the first episode. (Macgyver, A-Team, Battlestar Galactica).

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Re-runs take you back in time (without a flux capacitor).  Even just hearing theme songs, you can picture yourself in another time and place.  Things seemed much simpler…less complicated. They can even provide you with a sense of security.  Unfortunately, instead of enjoying the reflective nature of nostalgia, we tend to make it a place to live.  

This is a dangerous place for marriages.  I call them “Yesterday Marriages.” They are couples where someone (or both spouses) are living in the past.  They have the inability to move forward because they are living off of the re-runs of their marriage.  You can’t change your marriage living on re-runs. 

5 ways to help your marriage to not live off re-runs: 

1. Drop your subscription to unhealthy storylines.  Anne and I are Hulu and Netflix people (this blog isn’t sponsored by either).  The reason we subscribe to them is they provide us with the entertainment we desire.  Some of you are subscribed to attitudes that are unhealthy to your marriage. By “subscribe,” I mean you know you are doing it but do nothing about it.  Lack of action is an action in of itself.  It means you are welcoming it. Bitterness, negativity, ingratitude, and the like are attitudes that are designed corrode any sibilance of joy in your marriage. They’ll create storylines that are unnecessary.  Drop your subscription to that storyline and move on. 

2. Know your ratings; check your emotions. I’m an emotional guy and I believe that feelings are important. To have emotions proclaims our humanity. Yet, like anything in life, we are called to be stewards of our emotions.  A few weeks ago, I challenged our congregation to do exactly what the Psalmist does in Psalms 42: question your emotions. He questions his emotions 3 times.  Why? We base truth by how we feel.  I know this doesn’t apply to you, but my emotions change daily. I can be (not all the time) irrational.  If truth is how we feel, then truth shifts and changes based upon whether we had coffee, had sex with our spouse, or our NCAA bracket is going okay. Call your emotions into question and base truth upon who Christ is.  We are to bring truth to our marriage rather than allowing feelings/circumstances to dictate truth to us.

3. Shut off the drama.  We were meant to live in community/relationships. I believe God moves in community.  But that which God uses, Satan perverts. People that crave drama love to create it and feed it.  They’re easy to identify.  Look at what they post on social media. Look at what they reference whenever they contact you to you.  If they’re poking at your past and/or asking about business that isn’t theirs to know or be involved with, then they’re trying to get you to entertain “re-runs.”  Get some boundaries with them.  Draw some lines and shut off the drama.  They’re not propelling you towards health.  They are an anchor to you moving forward. 

4. Cancel the series.  Anne and I have mourned the cancellation of certain series (Jericho is one that comes to mind).  If you’re entertaining unhealthy thoughts of the past, then it’s time to stop subscribing to them.  It’s a choice.  Don’t tell me it’s not.  You may not be able to stop the thought from popping up in your head but you DO have a choice on how long that thought lingers. Lust, unforgiveness, comparing marriage, fantasies about having a different spouse are all networks that have not right being in your head feeding re-runs of what life “could have been.” Shut them down. Cancel the series.

5. New episodes cannot happen without new material.  You can’t develop anything new if you don’t do anything new. Marriages can’t move on from re-runs if there’s nothing new to work with.  Memories are created with opportunities.  Some of the reasons your marriage might be boring is, well, you are boring.  Get out and do something.  It doesn’t have to cost anything.  Anne and I enjoy taking walks (zero cost) and talking about our day (zero cost).  We love sitting on our bed watching shows together ($7.99 a month). New material for new memories doesn’t take much money if all, but it  Take a drive. Get some ice cream.  Be simple but creative.  Your spouse would rather you fail trying than fail to try.  Make time.  Your spouse is worth it. 

You can’t change the your world on re-runs.  It’s time to move forward.  Most people are looking for the fresh start because, in their mind, it’s the only place to start.  Instead of thinking you need a new spouse for a new start, start with a new you for your present spouse.  

Living on “re-runs” places a whole lot of trust in ourselves and in a fantasy world of “what could be.”  There is no promise in that.  But people just cast their marriage aside with empty hope, praying that the next time through will be better.  The problem is: you carry the same “re-run” issues into the next marriage.   1 Corinthians 5:17 says

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Instead of scrapping your marriage, scrap the old you and put on the new you in Christ.  Instead of placing your trust in you, place your faith in Christ and live life from that place.  What you will discover is the hope that we have in Christ moves our fixation off of us and our past, and places our focus upon who we are in him.  You need a fresh start and a fresh place to work from? Become new in Christ and let him, not your re-runs be the foundation of a new future for your marriage.

Don’t have a “yesterday marriage.” Get out of the past and see the future you two have together in Christ. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

4 comments

  • P Dave, where did you get the black and white photo of me and my family gathered around the 8″ black and white screen to watch Ed Sullivan, I Love Lucy, Twilight Zone and other great shows? They made great re-runs for years. All joking aside, I enjoyed your ramblings…….All five ways to help improve your marriage were “Right On”. Thank you for rambling and I am enjoying your 2 minute devotions.

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