A common thing you hear people say when they get into a stressful situation in a relationship is, "Let's just let the past stay in the past and move forward..."
But I was just thinking...what do we consider..."past"?
Imagine I say to my husband,"I f'in hate you! You suck! Go to h-e-double-hockeysticks!" and stomp off.
Two minutes later, he comes to me and says, "Hey, that was really hurtful, why'd you say that?"
What if I would turn to him, and say..."Why do you have to keep bringing up the past? Let's leave the past in the past, OK?"
Although it would technically be in the past (by 2 minutes)...that would be ludicrous, wouldn't it?
But what if he came to me...
2 hours later?
...with the same question, "Why'd you say that to me? That was really hurtful."
Just when would it be appropriate for me to say, "It's in the past let's just let bygones be bygones," and why?
See, I don't think that offenses in relationships are about time...they're about resolution...because if something has gone wrong in a relationship and has not been resolved then even if it happened 20 years ago...if it's still disturbing someone...it's still current. It's not in the past.
Issues aren't either in the present or the past...they're either resolved or unresolved. And, the only way to move forward out of a conflict is to resolve it...
When I was a kid the way I was dealt with when I had conflict with my parents was I was sent to my room. Then, whatever it was was never brought up again. This left me with a lotta' unresolved junk to deal with thru my adult years, and I feel like, for the most part, I've finally (at age 46) done it.
I was sorta' trained that way, and in many ways I'm more comfortable just running from issues, but ultimately, I can't ever let things linger. I can't be at peace while a conflict is still "alive".
I think the best thing we can do for our kids is to teach them how to communicate effectively at all times - even in conflict.
That means we have to let them yell back at us. We have to let them say, "No!" We have to let them say, "I hate you!" and help them work thru their big feelings until they know how to express themselves in mature, effective ways.
We have to teach them, by example, and thru counsel things like...
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger." Prov. 15:1
"Be angry and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." Ephesians 4:26,27
"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same." Luke 6:32, 33
Otherwise, what we will raise are children who when they have conflict with someone, they'll keep the "I hate you!" thoughts bottled up inside, letting the sun go down on their anger over and over telling themselves they're "keeping it in the past"
And then...when they finally let the anger come out, they will have to start from scratch...like a child...as an adult. And, if they've married someone with similar (lacking) skills...they won't grow up...they'll end up divorcing...
Train your kids up right, folks. Train them to be able to resolve conflicts because conflicts...they will always have in all phases of life. How you train them to deal with it will determine how many they stuff into their baggage and drag along with them till the day they die...