Working With Past Hurts

Emotional hurts from past relationships can affect needs more than we realize. “Because I had an unfaithful husband, I have a great need to know that Rick will be faithful,” Linda admits. “So when I get insecure, we talk about my fears, and he’ll reassure me.”

“Linda always wants to talk things through,” Rick says. “Adjusting to having more conflict in our discussions, instead of holding back, was hard for me. But I’ve learned to work through things, especially because resolving conflict and having open communication is so important to her.”

“My ex was very self absorbed; everything was about him,” Linda says, “so my needs were rarely met. With Rick, even though we both make mistakes, I know he will do all he can to meet whatever need I have.”

“Linda needs me to communicate and reassure her regularly,” Rick says. “She needs more affirmation than I do. With all the physical and emotional changes of both of us growing older and of her having hurts from the past, I want to be aware of her emotional needs. Sometimes it’s best if she just tells me what she needs.”

“A few weeks ago, I was feeling insecure about some things,” Linda says. “I needed to know that I was beautiful to him. Rick did one better; he told me he cherished our relationship, and that filled my love bucket to overflowing!

“Rick needs my respect and admiration,” Linda continues, “and he’s a tender man, so I need to be very careful and gentle when I’m emotional about something. If I don’t, it takes him days to recover. Also, Rick has been open with me about his need for ‘guy time’ and time to work with his hands. Keeping open communication about what we need really helps us.”

Each person’s emotional needs change over time, so you’ll need to adjust as the years go by, and that’s part of the joy in the lifetime journey of remarriage. You’ll also make some mistakes along the way, and that’s okay. If you accept the fact that mistakes are part of the journey and will happen now and then, you’ll be free to grow closer.

There will also be seasons in your marriage when you’ll need to sacrifice some of your own needs for the good of your spouse or your kids. When you choose to do this, your relationship will deepen and become stronger through the trials of life. Respecting your husband, even when he doesn’t deserve it, or loving your wife, even when it’s not comfortable or convenient, are two tangible ways to make that happen.

Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved. Visit for more.


Susan and Dale Mathis are passionate about helping couples prepare for marriage and for remarriage, since they are a remarried couple themselves. Dale has two master's degrees in counseling and has worked in counseling and human resources for over 30 years. Susan, the founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, has written prolifically for magazines and newspapers and continues to serve as a consultant, freelance editor and writer, and speaker. As a couple they enjoy camping, hiking, biking, and visiting family and friends around the world. Their blended family includes five adult children and three granddaughters. For more information about Susan or Dale, visit their website.

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