Written by Heather Copple
Messy Marriage Team Member

All of us come with baggage—it’s just a fact. Well, one of my big steamer trunks of “baggage” contains my abandonment issues. I have such big issues with it that I also have another steamer trunk that holds my attachment problems. Abandonment and attachment problems do not help when you are trying to create a marriage.

Simply, I am so afraid of being abandoned that I don’t attach to people, family or friends the way I should. This is a by-product of my childhood. I learned at a young age that no one was reliable and, unfortunately, I was surrounded by a group of people who continued to reinforce that mindset during my teens and early twenties. What can I say except, I chose poorly and felt lost.

I brought this and more with me into my marriage to Scott. 

It has caused so many problems that I cannot begin to list them. I keep expecting Scott to decide that I am not good enough or perfect enough to be with. I feel I have to do everything perfectly. I expect him to leave me, calling me the bad names that others have called me in the past—to use me and then dump me like the garbage I have been told I am.

This caused me to not want to attach to him fully at the start of our marriage. Attachment is so very important in intimate relationships. I didn’t attach to my own parents correctly, so trying to attach to Scott was so difficult for me. Somehow Scott and I, working with God, made it possible. 

Somehow Scott was able to see beyond all the steamer trunks that surrounded me and saw me as someone of value.

I know my fears have caused Scott to feel frustrated with me. I know he’s been troubled by watching me fight inside myself for control of the anxieties I have. I know I’ve been so disappointed with myself that I could not fully trust him with my innermost parts. So I kept him at a distance. This made the problems bigger.

Fortunately for me, Scott is a true man of patience. He has been one of my greatest gifts from God. With time, and God’s help, I have gained more control over my fears of losing Scott and have given Scott all of me (Sometimes I wonder if he regrets thatjust kidding!). I have days where I am constantly giving God my fears because my mind is working overtime. 

I put my faith in God that his love will give me the strength to have more faith in myself and in Scott.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  1 John 4:16-18 (NIV)

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

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  1. messymarriage says:

    Thanks so much, Heather, for being so honest and vulnerable with us about your past. It really can have a dramatic and overwhelming control on our present. But so glad that God has blessed with a wonderful spouse like Scott! Great post! 🙂

  2. i think that a key thing is recognizing we all have baggage or hang ups…yours may be different from mine but we all have them…patience and communicating them…our needs and expectations so that we can work through them is def key in growing a healthy marriage…

  3. Putting our faith in God gives us strength to have more faith in others. That is so true, Beth. It may be just the answer to a problem I’m dealing with today… Thanks!

  4. Heather Copple says:

    Thank you. God blesses us all everyday. I am so glad God blessed me with my Scott.

  5. Heather Copple says:

    So very true. Thank you for adding your thoughts, Brian!

  6. Heather Copple says:

    God is most assuredly our strength. Thank you for your comment.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I relate to this. Coming from a broken home, I brought lots of these same issues into our marriage.

  8. i admire your vulnerability. so thankful to hear how God is transforming a broken past into a solid marriage and a picture of grace enfleshed.

  9. Heather Copple says:

    Thank you for your comment. I hope others will find hope in my story.

  10. Heather Copple says:

    Thankfully, we have God to help us with those issues. Thank you for your comment.

  11. Megan Elzey says:

    I, too, came from a broken home. Not only that, but my father remarried a woman with two children, a daughter the same age as me and a son around the same age as my brothers. In my child-like mind I saw that as him dropping and replacing us with a new family. Also, we live in Ohio and he and his new family moved to Florida. My father and I have since repaired a lot of the very broken relationship we had, but I carried around deep wounds for all of my growing up and young adult years. I constantly worried that my husband would leave me for a “new model.” It’s almost like I had a “I can’t get too close to you but please don’t leave me” mentality. It wreaked havoc on my life and marriage. Thankfully, God was able to get my full attention and show me that He is not like my earthly father. Thankfully, He has healed me. Thank you for sharing these vulnerable places of your heart. I know it must have been difficult.

  12. Heather Copple says:

    Thank you, for sharing your story! I am still healing and getting better everyday with God’s strength and faith in me. I find great peace in that God will not abandon me, even if the people around me do. God’s love can be so overwhelming.

  13. Stacey Micklevitz says:

    Another GREAT post, Heather!! 🙂

  14. Heather Copple says:

    Thank you, Stacey.

  15. Emily Wierenga says:

    this is so honest and powerful, friend. thank you for sharing your heart. i feel like i know you better, now. xo

  16. Tara_pohlkottepress says:

    no, abandonment and attachment issues don’t help, but this honest look and admission to what holds you back? this. this is a key to unlocking those trunks. even if you can’t get rid of them all the way, at least you can get in and empty out some of what is in there 🙂

  17. Heather Copple says:

    Thank you! Honesty can be hard but yet so freeing.

  18. Heather Copple says:

    So true! It may take years of working on it but in the end it is so worth the effort. Thank you for commenting.

  19. Heather, It sounds as if your understanding of yourself has deepened, and so has your faith! Blessings on your journey.

  20. Heather Copple says:

    My understanding of myself truely started when God blessed me with Scott. God’s belief in me and Scott’s too is what gave me the strength and stability to look at myself and change that which I needed to change. Thank you for the blessings. They seem to multiply even in the tiniest of things.

  21. What a blessing you are to those who travel your journey. Your Scott sounds like a special man. Love your heart!

  22. Heather Copple says:

    Thank you so much! God knew what I needed in a best friend and husband. Scott has filled those roles and many more for me.