Today's Martial Moment will focus on a new topic: Potholes On The Marital Highway. While most marriages run smoothly, there are, however, some relation-ships that find the road bumpy and difficult. It is those difficult and trying times of life that I want to address in this Marital Moment. The interesting marriage of Rachel and Jacob found in the book of Genesis will provide the Biblical back-ground. If there was ever a marriage in the Bible that was marked with potholes and bumps it was this marriage. At best they could be described as a troubled family and at worst they would exemplify a dysfunctional family. Perhaps many of us can identify with them. If so, then it helps to know that through it all we can make it. That God is there for us, with us, and to help us. Several things about Rachel and Jacob gain our attention as we begin our study. The first pothole I find in their marital harmony is The Unwanted Past. Jacob had a difficult past. He had stolen his brother's birthright, he lied, and he deceived his father. Like all hu- mans, Jacob reaped a harvest of all the bad things he had done in life. The words of Galatians 6:7 ring true and prophetic for all humanity: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sowth, that shall he also reap." Poor Jacob was deceived by his father-in-law on his wedding night. He met a man more de-ceptive than himself and Jacob was now reaping the consequences of his past. Sadly, the baggage of the past, the skeletons in the closest, and the secrets of yesterday come back to haunt you. The sexually active past before marriage. The criminal record. The drug and alcohol abuse. The affair after marriage. These things, and many others, spoil the present moment and rob you of the joy and hap-piness that a marriage brings. Let's look at several ways to deal with this difficult and discouraging pothole on the marital highway. (1) The Past Must Be Confessed To God. I John 1:9 states that, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". Confession means that we agree with God about our sins and that we immediately abandon them. Proverbs 28:13 says, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso con-fesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy". Once you have confessed your sins then accept God's forgiveness. Don't live in the past. Realized that you are forgiven by the most important being in the universe: Jehovah God. (2) Refuse To Allow The Past to Destroy The Present. You can do nothing about yesterday. It cannot be changed no matter how much you may try or you may want to correct the past. You cannot live your life constantly looking backward. Living in the past is like driving a car looking through the rear view mirror rather than moving ahead like you should. The wisdom of Philippians 3:13 is greatly needed. There the Bible states, "Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before". (3) Communicate With Your Husband / Wife. Many problems can be solved and would be solved if only you would talk about them. You must, however, be cautious about communicating about the past. Some things are best untold and untouched. You must use great wisdom when shinning the light on yesterday. (4) Seek Godly Counseling. Some problems can only be solved with the assistance of wise and godly counselors. Keep in mind that, no matter what the past was like, you are responsible for the present. Your past may explain your present but it is not an excuse for present behavior. You are responsible for all the thoughts, words, and actions that you do each day. What you do with the past is a choice. You can chose to live in it and let it destroy the present or release it and go forward. It is your choice. Remember, The Unwanted Past may exist for many people but it must not become a major Pothole On The Marital Highway.