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Resentment is defined as the feeling of displeasure toward some remark or person. When you have resentment in your marriage, you feel hatred, anger, loneliness, disgust, and injustice.
Resentment in marriage happens more often than you think. But it only happens in varying degrees. The worst-case effect of resentment is ultimately a divorce.
Look at the Signs of Resentment in Marriage
Resentment does not come instantly in a relationship. But the feeling of anger and displeasure in marriage slowly builds up. If you do not handle these signs immediately, it will lead to resentment.
#1 Not Being Loved
People choose to marry someone because of love. They do not want to lose that person, which makes them decide to get married. But if you are not feeling loved by your spouse, you will start to feel discontented with them. The more you feel unloved, the more it will turn to resentment in the marriage.
#2 Not Being Trusted
If you are not trusted by your spouse in terms of money, loyalty, taking care of the kids, decisions for the family, personal career, or any other reasons, you will feel hurt. Not trusting your spouse will tell them that you cannot rely on their thinking and their mind to choose what is best. If you do not approve of every decision that they make, they’ll eventually feel resentment.
#3 Not Being Appreciated
We do the things that we do for the people we love. We sometimes take the extra mile just to make our spouses happy. When you exert your best effort in your marriage and are not appreciated for it, you can feel resented. You question the love that they have for you and your love for them.
#4 Not Feeling Intimacy
Sex is one of the crucial needs of both men and women. If this need is not met by the spouse, he or she may hate them for it. Resentment may arise and become a precursor to infidelity and sexual extramarital affairs.
#5 Not Having Enough Time
Time is the most luxurious object that we cannot afford to buy. This is why we give more time to those that matter. If work, career, or hobbies are given more time than the spouse, this means that the partner feels that he or she is way below the priority level of your life.
#6 Not Being Responsible Enough
You have to take your part of the responsibility in handling your marriage. Spouses who become aloof or do not give attention to their partner cause resentment in the marriage.
#7 Not Having a Spouse They Expected
Before entering into a marriage, you have all sorts of expectations. M. Scott Peck said it best in his book In Search Of Stones: “The problem of unmet expectations in marriage is primarily a problem of stereotyping… Since marriage is inevitably a relationship between two unique people, no one marriage is going to be exactly like any other. Yet we tend to wed with explicit visions of what a good marriage ought to be like.”
Whether you are the one feeling resentment or the one being resented in the marriage, you should communicate what you think with your spouse. Be the initiator of the conversation. Most of the time, you do not want to hurt your spouse by talking about your issues. You just want to keep everything boiling down in your heart.
The problem with keeping anger and dissatisfaction to yourself and not sharing your feelings with the one involved is that you are actually hurting your relationship more. You do not look lovingly at your spouse anymore. All that you see in them is hate. You feel that you do not deserve the situation that you are in.
Your anger for your spouse will naturally leak into how you treat him or her. If you do not talk about resentment, your relationship may become too damaged and too torn apart to be fixed.
It All Starts with You
If you are reading this article, you are probably the one feeling resentment in your marriage. You may say to yourself, “He (or she) does not love me anymore,” “He does not care for me that much,” or “How I wish he could put more effort in our marriage.”
Look at those statements again. What do you notice? Your spouse is the one causing the resentment. This is the obvious scenario for you.
But what is the underlying statement on those words? There is surely a conflict between the two of you. Conflicts are always caused by two people. No matter how a situation appears, the two people involved are causing the conflict.
Accept your own responsibility in the conflict. You have to realize what you are doing wrong in your relationship.
You can ask yourself these questions pertaining to particular problems:
- About quality time – If I demand some time from them, do I also take some time off from my busy schedule to prioritize their needs?
- About giving gifts – Do I surprise them whether there are special occasions or not?
- About being affectionate – Do I hug him or her even without the intention of leading to sex?
- About being served – Do I take responsibility for some of the tasks at home? Do I show them how I care about him through cooking, doing the laundry, fixing things, and other household work?
- About not being appreciated through words – Do I compliment him or her? Do I appreciate how they handle the family with words like, “You are doing a great job” or “One thing that I love about you is that you are really calm and composed during adversities?”
Looking more at what you are doing instead of what your spouse is not doing for you will help you alleviate the resentment. It will also refocus your attention to the things that you should be doing for your spouse. The efforts that you put forth for your partner will also cause them to think about what they do to make the marriage work.
Think Before You Speak
Words can be both a cure and a weapon. You can heal broken hearts with words. They can uplift suffering emotions and bring life to an ailing person. But at the same time, if you are not careful with words, they can pierce people and permanently damage them.
Words cannot be taken back.
This is why we should be careful with the words that we say to our spouses. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. You should speak the truth to your partner. You should never hesitate to be honest with your spouse. But your intention will determine whether the words are going to be hurtful or not. Make sure that your words will build your spouse up and not destroy them.
Do not speak when you are angry, because your intention is probably to hurt the person and not fix the relationship. If you know in yourself that you are not good with handling words, you must think before you speak. Breathe in and breathe out. You can count to 10 before uttering any word.
When you know in your heart that you have relieved yourself of hateful words, then you can start speaking to them. Always reiterate that you want to fix the problem and not hurt your spouse.
Open Your Ears
Listening is the most underrated gift that you can give to your spouse. Oftentimes, we want to speak more than we want to listen. A lot of marriages can be saved from total separation if people just listen.
But we all want to be heard. “My feelings are hurt, so you have to do this to restore my emotions.” We have become so selfish that we overlook the fact that a marriage is composed of two people. It is not just about receiving. It is also about giving. It is about a compromise and making sure that no one gets the short end of the deal.
Turn listening into a habit. It will greatly help your marriage and prevent resentment from ever happening again.
Feelings and emotions govern a relationship. And a marriage always has its highs and lows. But if you are constantly in a state of instability, anger, and disgust, you will eventually feel resentment in your marriage.
Instead of pointing fingers and blaming each other for what happens in your marriage, be proactive about it. Learn to live a healthier lifestyle together. Anticipate problems that may cause you to become angry or sad with your spouse. Communicate and design plans to make sure that you are satisfying your partner. And lastly, choose to be happy. Joy is an attitude that can help us appreciate the marriage and your spouse.