When feelings of love die in a marriage, the person who is no longer “in love” is often “in anger” instead, characterized by underlying resentful feelings—which causes marriage problems. Resentment you feel toward your spouse can shred any feelings of being “in love” that you ever had.
In this blog, we will look at resentment and how it creeps in and steals the love right out of your marriage, and 2 steps for getting it out of your marriage so you can rebuild the love. Keep reading…
A Big Marriage Problem
One of the greatest marriage problems is the presence of anger and resentment in the relationship. This resentment can happen for any number of reasons.
Now, an affair can lead to feelings of resentment in the spouse who is the affair victim. What were once feelings of being “in love” are now feelings of resentment for causing pain, emotional distress and a lingering sense of betrayal. .
Or, maybe your needs have gone unfulfilled for a long time, and these unaddressed needs are causing you to resent your spouse, driving a wedge between you.
When this marriage problem has escalated to the point where the “in love” feelings have begun to die, it means the spouse who is “in anger” has
tried to express what he or she has been angry about for a long time, but doesn’t feel he or she has been heard by their spouse.
This leads to resentment, because it feels as if your spouse is being dismissive, doesn’t care, or doesn’t respect you enough to take you and your needs seriously. Your spouse hasn’t responded to your communications in a meaningful way.
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Frustration and anger over this gets buried, begins to fester and turns into resentment. Next, those feelings of love dry up.
Resentment means you no longer can see your spouse as your partner, friend and confidante: he or she has become the enemy—and it’s difficult to love your enemy.
You have to express your feelings—particularly your hurt feelings—that built the resentment in the first place, in order to begin to identify your spouse as your friend once again. Those feelings can’t stay buried, or else the resentment continues to feed upon itself.
Resentment Won’t Fade Away on its Own
As long as you are resentful, it will be very difficult to rebuild the love in your marriage. By acting hurt and resentful but not expressing these feelings clearly, your spouse may begin to pull away from you—furthering the cycle of resentment. Here are two steps to help get rid of resentment:
Step #1: Reopen the Lines of Communication
For starters, opening and maintaining the lines of communication with your spouse is paramount if you want to rebuild love. You have to talk about your feelings—even when you feel as if you aren’t being heard.
Sometimes, we have not fully or clearly expressed our needs, and assume our spouse should already know what it is we want. You may be resentful, feeling you have not been heard, when actually—you’ve never said anything!
Step #2: Talk without Blame
Talking about your hurt feelings and accompanying resentment is difficult. But, you need to do it without blaming your spouse if you want to move forward. In
this way, your communication is more likely to be productive for your marriage instead of tearing it down further.
One way to do this is to start your sentences with “I.” For example,
- I sometimes feel you dismiss my feelings because you don’t say anything back to me when I bring them up.
This works much better than using a “you” statement, which can sound accusatory. Using the same example:
- You dismiss my feelings because you don’t say anything back to me when I bring them up.
The second one is making an assumption about what your spouse is doing, so it is assigning blame. Using “I” statements allows for giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt, that they aren’t aware this is what their response is being perceived as by you.
My best to you as you remove resentment from your marriage and rebuild the love.
Do you ever feel resentful toward your spouse?
What has caused your feelings of resentment?
Have you communicated your feelings to your spouse, or do you think they should know what they’ve done wrong?
Please share your ideas and personal experiences on this topic with other members of the community.
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,