Resentment: What to Do
About This Marriage-Killer
By Susie and Otto Collins
Angela feels a mixture of guilt and irritation
as she rolls over
(and toward the wall) in bed. Her husband, Mike,
was dropping hints
about wanting to make love with her and Angela
made it clear to him
that she's just not in the mood.
Unfortunately, lately Angela is not in the mood
for sex with her
husband quite frequently. She would like to be
more intimate and
passionate with him more often, but there's this
one thing that seems
to be standing in the way...
She resents the fact that Mike's mother is now
living with them,
putting a strain on their budget and Angela's
She resents that
she comes home after a long day at work to an
empty dinner table, a
cluttered house, mounds of dirty laundry and
Mike's expectations that
she will do it all.
Angela resents that Mike rarely helps out at
home and rarely shows
her appreciation for what she does.
All of this
resentment has built
up over the years causing her to regularly snap
at and criticize
Mike. Now, that resentment has spilled over into
their intimate lives
It's true. Resentment is a marriage- and an
When you carry around anger, irritation or
bitterness because of
something your spouse said or did or even due to
a situation that's
arisen in your relationship, it shows.
how hard you try to
hide resentment or pretend that it's not there,
it will come through.
It might come through in sarcastic comments,
"jokes" and also in
your willingness (or unwillingness) to be
intimate and sexual with
A certain holding back and closing down
inevitably goes along with
resentment. After all, it's nearly impossible to
open your heart
fully to your partner when you are feeling angry
and bitter about him
Recognize resentment for what it is.
A first step to reversing the damage resentment
causes to you and
your marriage is to acknowledge that that's how
you feel. Recognize
resentment for what it is-- this is slightly
different for everyone.
Recognize what's at the bottom of your
resentment, but do not use
this inner inquiry as an excuse to solidify your
anger toward your
This isn't about you re-affirming to yourself
how wrong your spouse
was to say or do ____, for example.
may have made a big
mistake that hurt you, but continuing to rehash
what was happened
won't help you have the kind of marriage you
If you are to move past this resentment, you
need to acknowledge
your feelings without getting further stuck in
events of the past.
Resolve what needs to be resolved.
After you take even a little bit of time to get
to know your
resentment, you can look for issues that may be
you and your partner that are fueling your
Have you and your mate "agreed to disagree"
about something but
that's just not working for you?
is an arrangement that
you two made about home chores, finances, child
care, sex or some
other issue and that arrangement is not okay
with you after all.
Maybe you and your partner had an argument long
ago and you just
haven't been able to fully let go of hurtful
words that were said.
It could be that your spouse had an affair or
lied to you in the past
and, even though he or she has changed, you are
having a difficult
time moving on from that betrayal.
It might not make logical sense to you or it
might be crystal clear,
what's most important is for you to understand
what specific things
in your relationship (past or present) need to
be addressed and,
There's no guarantee that you and your spouse
will be able to easily
find a solution that you both will be happier
with, but try anyway.
Sometimes, the act of communicating with one
another about the issue
can bring some ease to each of you.
You can actually move close together even if you
don't find the
"perfect answer" to the challenge facing you if
you both stay open
Let it go.
If you truly want to nurture connection and
spark intimacy in your
marriage, letting go of resentment is absolutely
going to have to
We know, it's not often as simple as "just let
it go," but that's
what we're suggesting you do.
By all means, get clearer about what your resentment is about and
how it manifests for you. And, most definitely,
try to come to some
resolution with your mate about the issue that's
at the root of your
Ultimately, however, it's up to you to make the
choice to stop
carrying around the anger and bitterness.
your decision to
forgive your partner and yourself and to begin
to move forward to the
kind of future and intimacy you desire.
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