From leading and speaking to 1,000 men on a weekly basis at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, Steve Komanapalli has had the opportunity to use his own past experience to guide and mentor men in their dating and marital relationships.

Steve has identified four major areas that he has seen men, and the women they date, or are married to, suffer in. If you can learn to let go in these four areas while you are single, you will be much more successful in reconciling and forgiving in your future marriage.

1. Letting Go of Your Parents

If you are single, ask yourself: “Do I have a healthy relationship with my parents?” If the answer is no, or you are not sure, you need to create boundaries.

Steve reflects back on his own past need to detach from his relationship with his mother, who raised him as a single parent. Steve explains that once he became married he found that he was still saying “yes” to everything his mother asked of him, without consulting his “number one”– his wife. Problems ensued and Steve realized that he needed “grow up” and set clearer expectations for his relationship with his mother. 

Letting go of your parents does not mean that they are no longer a priority in your life, but that your main priority needs to shift from your parent to your partner. Your relationship with your mother and / or father will influence your relationship with your spouse. Make sure this relationship is healthy by setting boundaries before you begin a relationship.

2. Letting Go of People in Your Past

Let go of people in your past — specifically a past relationship or spouse. If you have ever wondered if it is still “okay” to Google or Facebook your former boyfriend or spouse, the answer is a resounding “No!”

Steve is firm in his counsel to unfriend your past boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife on Facebook. If you continue to check up on a past partner on Facebook or Google you will surely fall into a trap of comparison.

When a time of trouble arises in your next relationship – and it will – comparing your current girlfriend, or spouse to people in your past can lead you down the path called, “What if I should have stayed with them?” The danger here is that you forget the reasons you are no longer with that person and take a mental escape into a different reality.

The fact is that the moment you marry someone, they are God’s will for you. God’s will is not for you to be happy, but to be holy. Marriage exposes the parts of you that are not the best. Submit and ask for God’s grace in those areas.

The saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side” is not true. The grass is greener where you water it! Your marriage will take priority to everything, except your relationship with God. This is the reason that even your wife comes before your own children. The difference here is that you chose your wife and your children are a gift from God. You cannot change your children. You chose your wife or husband and must keep your focus there — NOT in the past.

3. Let Go of Problems

Your relationship will eventually have problems. If you know that you have past issues that you have not yet sorted through, then you are not ready for a relationship. If you think you may need help sorting through some past issues, seek out the wisdom and guidance of a counselor. Below are two specific “problem” areas to let go of:

  • Grudges: Resentment destroys relationships, particularly marriages. Remember that the past is over and it can only hurt you if you choose to let it.
  • Grief: Everyone has experiences some type of sorrow or loss. The Bible tells us to fear not and grieve not. Psalms 62:8 encourages, “Pour out your heart to Him for God is our refuge.”
  • Guilt: Guilt will destroy a relationship. 1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

4. Learn to Live in the Present

Many singles and couples tend to live in the past. They idolize their hometown or, “the way things used to be.” If you bring up past relationships or mentally dwell on what could have been, you are missing out on life! Once you mentally remove yourself from the present, you stop growing. It is your choice to live present-minded. Keep your focus on living and being your best in the present moment.

The good news is that, as Christians, we serve a powerful God and there is no problem too large for His redeeming grace and mercy to tackle. Take initiative and identify the areas that you need to work on. Ask God to show you the areas in which you need to change and then personally assess if you are in a healthy place to start a relationship. If the answer is no, be proactive and seek wise counsel. If the answer is yes, pray to God to mold your character and heart into one that will attract the same.

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