Is Resentment Destroying Your Marriage?
Resentment is a very powerful emotion. In fact, anyone who harbors this terrible emotion shouldn’t be trying to make rational decisions for themselves or their marriage. I would even venture to say that most divorces are because of unmet and unfulfilled emotions, which is what this emotion is!! It can literally control a person—what they say—what they do—and how they behave. Unfulfilled people are the biggest resentment holders because they don’t speak up assertively to get their needs met.
How do I know all this? I used to play the bitterness game many years ago when I was still absorbed in my self and alcoholism. I was also addicted to my feelings and manipulating and controlling others using my negative feelings. Whenever I felt slighted by my husband I would hold it against him with resentment and unforgiveness.
Fortunately I figured out that I was only hurting myself with my bitter feelings and that I was the cause of my own negative feelings of ill will. It doesn’t matter what someone else says and does, what matters is how we react. So how did I figure it out? I prayed about it over and over again.
One day I just woke up with a different attitude. I now know that God blessed me with knowledge that I did not have before. He gave me wisdom that before I was not ready for because I couldn’t see wisdom. I didn’t want to see it. I was too selfish to realize my own faults. I can say this with much confidence because I used to be a resentment propagator. I didn’t know how to react to other people’s behavior toward me.
My daughter, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning you ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:1-6)
You see your spouse can’t make you feel resentful—you do that to yourself. The more you harbor ill will towards your spouse, the more difficult it will be for you to see reality—to see the big picture of things. Holding in negative feelings within your spirit creates sin in your life. Resentful feelings tell your mind what to do, how to believe, and how to behave towards your spouse. It may tell you to get a divorce.
Perhaps it tells you to look at pornography. You think it is justified because your wife rejects you often. Or perhaps you think it is ok to have an affair because your husband did it. Or it can tell you to be ugly and mean with your spouse because you feel like behaving that way. Resentment is a negative emotion that will tear your marriage apart until there is nothing left to repair. Resentment told me to drank, so I drank away my miserable feelings.
Some people are more prone to holding in resentment than others. It doesn’t make them bad people. It just means they have not learned how to handle this particular emotion. They have not accepted Gods words of wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)
So what kinds of people are prone to harboring resentment?
Alcoholic and other addicts
Pent up past baggage holders
Anyone can learn to free themselves of this terrible emotion and be content from within, no matter what others around them are doing or how they are behaving. Understand that you cannot control another persons behavior, even if it is your own spouse! You have to get it in your mind that many aspects of life are not in your power to control. But you can control how you react to your spouse’s behavior.
Secondly, you have to speak up when your spouse says or does something that is offensive. You still can’t control or change them, but you can let them know when they have trespassed against your spirit. How will they know any other way? Do you think that if you treat them back with a bad attitude that is going to help? I don’t think so. Learn to be nicely assertive about how you feel. Then treat your spouse back in a good and productive way. Get creative with your attitude.
Don’t put your feelings on the back burner—bad idea. I know first hand that when we put our feelings on the back burner they mount up more and more negative garbage. If you are a woman reading this then you know that when your monthly rolls around hormones can literally get the best of our emotions. Do you want to contend with back burner resentment too?
Get past issues off your chest. Pray about it and ask God to give you the knowledge to understand yourself better. Understand that you are only damaging your own spirit through your own negative emotions. God will help you to feel better about yourself, spouse and marriage when you put your trust and faith in Him. He will allow your heart to be free of the burden of unforgiveness. Look for the hidden treasure of wisdom and God will bless you. Believe that!
The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17)