Letting go of resentment in marriage and other relationships is a complicated process. It is not like having a new thought which magically negates the resentment. No, it takes understanding of what is going on, and it takes work to ease out of it.
Where Does Resentment in Marriage Come From?
And all of us have felt or used resentment at some time or another. And that’s because resentment can happen to us so easily. When we get our feelings hurt, especially by the person we love, we get really wounded.
If we are not able to let our pain out and get healed, well then we put a wall around our heart and protect it so we won’t get hurt again. This starts out to be just a slight cover over the pain, but if we continue to get hurt without healing then we build up a thick concrete wall between our heart and the one we love.
And that is resentment. We feel resentment every time we see the person who hurt us. We experience our protected heart behind the wall when we are near them, keeping ourselves safe.
Letting Go of Resentment in Marriage Begins with Identifying What Happened
But if we love our person and we want to be in connection with them then we might have to break open that wall and reconnect. So how do we do that? And that is the big question. First, we must identify what hurt us in the first place.
We probably got our feelings hurt because the one we love said or did something and it felt terrible. But when we tell a mate how they hurt us it sounds like this, “When you said or did such and such you really hurt me and now I am really unhappy.”
Letting Go of Resentment in Relationships Is Easier When We Focus Communication on Our Own Feelings
This is pretty much how a lot of couples talk about their feelings. But if we are looking to get our partner to understand what happened to us it is less about them and what they said or did, and more about what happened to us.
So, second, we have to focus communication around our feelings, not on blame. It should sound something like this: “When you said or did such and such, I felt disconnected from you and really sad.”
The first way just tells the partner that they did something wrong. The second way tells the partner what happened to us when they said what they said or did what they did. The first way blames the partner. The second way informs the partner and invites them to do something about it.
Sharing Feelings Makes Letting Go of Resentment in Your Marriage Follow Naturally—Partners Want You to Feel Good
When a mate finds out the one they love is sad and feels disconnected they will feel something and want to do something naturally. Your loved one instinctively wants to help and might even say something like, “I am sorry babe, I love you.”
And this is true healing and also a connection to the person who hurt you, so you don’t have to hide your heart, instead you can ask for understanding and feel better.
I know this is very subtle, but it’s the difference between connecting with your partner or keeping your heart hidden behind criticism. I don’t have to ask which one you want. We all know connecting is a whole lot better than living behind a wall of resentment. Tear down that wall!
Get Help with Letting Go of Resentment in Your Marriage or Relationship
Read a Book About Relationships
Learn how you and your partner can reduce existing resentment in your relationship and help prevent new resentments from forming, by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help you communicate about your feelings, helping the two of you feel less blamed, more connected, and happier. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.