Clearing the Air

How I learned to break free of resentment in my marriage

Resentment toward my husband was silently strangling me. I was shocked to feel so angry and bitter. My husband and I had a solid marriage, and these overwhelmingly negative emotions seemed to have come out of nowhere. Nasty, sarcastic thoughts flew into my head uninvited, centering on my husband and things he did or didn't do.

Get a grip! I told myself. I hoped these strong and destructive emotions would disappear to wherever they had come from. In the swirl of life—toddlers, job, and laundry—I blamed them on hormones and ignored them. But as weeks went by, my feelings of bitterness and anger didn't decrease. Instead, I seemed to be agreeing with my angry thoughts more and more. Yeah! Why didn't he do that, am I responsible for everything? or Sure, go out to a movie tonight, I'm sure you need a break.

Instead of being shocked at my thoughts, I began to nurture them, deliberating on perceived wrongs. Angry words spilled out at my husband and children—an overflow from my hurt and bitter heart. I was frightened and unhappy with the state of my home, both my marriage and my negative parenting style. I tried to "talk it out" several times with my husband, but he felt attacked and I felt misunderstood. Suddenly I was terrified—we were struggling and stuck. I felt overwhelmed by negative emotions with no way to control or banish them.

When I encounter a problem, whether laundry stains or emotional meltdowns, my go-to solution is research—in the form of bookstores and girlfriends. So I trusted my struggles to a few of my closest friends and found this was an issue they had all encountered and wrestled with as well. And while they had each tried to approach this problem with prayer and unselfishness, endeavoring not to let bitterness in their marriages take deep root, none of them felt their issue had ever really been resolved.

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May 25

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