Resentment in marriage is dangerous. Knowing how to deal with it might just be the difference between a happy relationship and one that ends. Resentment festers, not only building a wall between you and your loved one, but it can even grow to drive you increasingly further apart. Here’s an exploration of how to, and how not to, deal with resentment in marriage before it grows out of control.
One of the hardest parts for some couples is how to move beyond hurts from the past. Sometimes old wounds just sit and fester and stay thick as concrete between two people. These couples still talk around the concrete wall. There is conversation, but in most cases there is almost never a close connection. There’s too much pain from the past clouding any attempt to move forward, even though the desire for more closeness is there.
Humans are funny beings. We are extremely well equipped to tell instantly when something doesn’t feel right. We know immediately when we don’t like something. And we are experts at understanding what we need to stop when something bothers us so we can feel better.
We use these skills almost automatically, especially when we are in a relationship. We are the first ones to tell our partner, the one person we love the most, exactly what we don’t like about what they do or didn’t do.
It would be helpful if all of us in relationships knew exactly what love is supposed to feel like. If we knew, then we would know if we were in love or if we weren’t. We wouldn’t wonder about it. As a couples specialist I work with a lot of people in relationships who are often not sure about the love they feel.
Some people will be very angry at their mate and tell me all the things the partner does to make them pull their hair out. Then I ask the same person, “Do you think about ending the relationship?” Then they scold me as if I haven’t been listening and then they tell me, “I can’t leave, I love him.”
Learning how to handle conflict in a relationship is tough, because it forces us to challenge our instincts.
When people get their feelings hurt, most of us don’t want to go near the person who hurt them. This holds true in families, with co-workers and in relationships. It’s just easier to back away when something painful happens. It’s just the way many humans are wired.
As a couples specialist I know that even with the person we love, for some of us it’s instinctive to pull away when things get messy. I work with people who love each other who just want to know what to do when they fight. They usually wonder if they could do the fighting part better so they don’t have to stay wounded and apart for so long.