How to Keep Resentment from Ruining Your Relationship

How to Keep Resentment from Ruining Your Relationship

 What does it mean to resent someone? Here are some synonyms of resent to give you a better understanding: feel bitter about, be annoyed at, take offense at, harbor a grudge about. It’s probably not hard to think of the last time you felt resentful about something.

You’re not a bad person for feeling resentful but it’s definitely not a pleasant feeling, and it’s one you want to avoid, especially when it comes to your marriage. Resentment has a way of starting out as a small crack in your composure and ending up as a full-blown crevice that separates you and your spouse. If you want to keep this resentment rift from forming, follow these tips:

  1.  Express Yourself

Resentment is often a result of you feeling mad about something your spouse did or didn’t do and keeping the feeling bottled up inside. As your anger and bitterness start to fester and grow, you get to that breaking point that, once you snap, always comes out explosive. To keep yourself from becoming a loose cannon, you need to communicate your feelings, in a considerate and respectful way, when you feel them—not two days later.

Learning how to express yourself in a productive, kind manner is one of the simplest and most effective ways of mitigating resentment. If it’s so simple, then why is it so hard, you may ask? Communicating, in theory, should be easy because all you’re doing is talking to someone.

The physical act of talking is the easy part. What makes expressing yourself so hard is that so many emotions are involved, like fear of hurting your spouse’s feelings, anger at being hurt yourself, or irritation at your spouse’s obliviousness. When you have so many not-so-pleasant emotions coursing through your veins, it’s difficult to talk to your spouse in a caring and compassionate way.

That’s why you should take some time to cool off first. Don’t let your temper get the better of you. Take 10, 20, or 30 minutes to just calm your heart rate down and get your mind clear. Once you feel like you’re not going to explode, prepare some phrases that will help you get your feelings out. You might not get it right every time, but the more you practice expressing yourself in a productive way, the better you’ll get at it and the better results you’ll see.

  1. Set Boundaries

 Let’s take a look at a few examples that might leave you feeling resentful:

  • You’re the one who gets the baby every time he wakes up during the night and in the morning
  • Your spouse hardly ever helps clean up after dinner
  • You see your spouse giving more affection to your kids than you
  • You end up being the one filling up the gas tank every time
  • You cook and clean everyday without receiving appreciation in return

 The problem with each of these examples is that you’re probably not telling your spouse that there is a problem and that you’re feeling frustrated. Expressing to your spouse that you’re unhappy with a situation is the first step. Once you do tell your spouse that you’re feeling aggravated about the current setup and that you would like to share the responsibility, talk about what’s going to work for the both you.

 This is where setting boundaries comes in. Learning how to set a boundary is a topic that requires its own article, but here’s the short of it: Set ground rules that that will protect you and your spouse from resentment. For example, if your spouse has to get up early for work, you get the baby when he cries in the middle of the night and your spouse gets him when he wakes up in the morning.

You could also trade off nights getting the baby or have your spouse put the baby to bed each night and you get the baby each morning. You could have your spouse take more responsibility on the weekends while you take more responsibility during the week. Whatever you decide on, make sure you’re both happy with the boundary, not just one of you, and make sure you both get time to rest.

  1. Be Empathetic

 When all you see is your side of things, it’s much easier to get riled up and angry every time you think of an issue that’s bothering you. To keep this from happening, try putting yourself in his shoes. See things from his perspective and be understanding. Getting up early to go to work isn’t always easy and maybe that’s why he has a hard time getting the baby in the middle of the night.

 The more compassion and empathy you have for your spouse, the easier it will be to let the resentment subside and to talk things out in a loving and understanding manner. You’ll be surprised at how much your heart and attitude can soften if you truly put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. The next time you’re having a moment of irritation and anger, pause for a second and try to see things from his perspective. It might alleviate all the tension you’re feeling, but it will definitely help to bring your frustration down a few notches.

  1. Realize that You’re Not Perfect Either

Take a good, long look at yourself and acknowledge that you have weaknesses too. Is it possible that you may be doing something that your spouse doesn’t like or is resentful about?

You need to take responsibility for your imperfections and for the role you might play in certain marital issues. Knowing that you wouldn’t want your spouse to rub your mistakes in your face will make you think twice about lashing out at your spouse for something he did or didn’t do.

  1. Practice Being Vulnerable

One of the reasons it’s so hard to communicate your feelings of anger and bitterness in a moment when your spouse is doing something that’s really bugging you is that expressing means being vulnerable. Communicating your feelings means admitting you’re not perfect and that you need something from your spouse.

It can sometimes make you feel weak and helpless to admit unpleasant emotions, but the irony is that strength comes from being vulnerable. How? You’re admitting you need your spouse’s help, companionship, and teamwork. Once you ask for help, you’ll more than likely receive it, and when you have your spouse’s hands and heart alongside yours, you’re that much stronger.

It’s also important to note that regularly scheduling a meeting between you and your spouse is a key tool for preventing resentment from growing. Making time each day or week to sit down and talk will help you to consistently address the important issues currently happening in your relationship. Schedule this meeting on the same day and at the same time every week so that it becomes a permanent part of your life. It should become so second nature that if you didn’t do it, it would feel like not eating breakfast that day. Regularly communicating with your spouse about important issues is an integral part of thriving relationships.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-gaspard-msw-licsw/is-resentment-ruining-your-marriage_b_5531600.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-therapist-is-in/201103/10-steps-letting-go-resentment

http://www.doctornerdlove.com/5-behaviors-ruin-relationships/all/1/

Is Forgiveness Synonymous with Trust?

When someone you love or care about has deeply hurt you, it can be a complicated process restoring everything you once had back to what it used to be. Contrary to what many people think, complete reconciliation doesn’t come with these three words: I forgive you. Forgiveness is but a step in the process of restoring a relationship that has been broken by betrayal. Forgiving someone does not mean you now need to completely trust him or forget what happened. Here’s a more in-depth look at the differences between trust and forgiveness:

Forgiveness and Trust Are NOT One and the Same

Simply put, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It sets you free from the bitterness and hurt you’re feeling inside. All the pain you keep in your heart that almost feels tangible will be lifted and will evaporate once you decide to forgive.

Forgiveness is a solo endeavor. It’s something you have to work through independent of the other party. For instance, you can forgive someone who you may never see again or someone who has passed away. While a genuine apology can make forgiveness easier, ultimately, it isn’t necessary. Forgiveness is a decision you make on your own.  When you do, it will feel liberating like a weight or burden has been removed..

On the other hand, Trust is not the same as forgiveness. Trust requires consistent action by the offender in order for trust  to be granted. Trust has to be rebuilt, and while forgiveness is a part of that rebuilding process, granting forgiveness does not mean you’re granting trust, too.

If you’re the person who broke the trust, you may think that once you’ve been forgiven, things can go back to the way they were. This is not true and you should not expect this, as doing so will prolong the reconciliation process. The person who chooses to forgive you gets to set boundaries and then decide when to grant trust based on your consequent actions and if you prove you’re trustworthy.

Forgiveness is Given Freely While Trust Has to Be Earned

When you decide to forgive, you’re not letting the offender off the hook. You’re not all of a sudden alleviating the person of his accountability and responsibility toward the situation. Once again, forgiveness is for YOU, not the other person. It shouldn’t even be based on the other person’s actions. You can still choose to forgive even if the person who hurt you is not remorseful or does not want to change.

However, if you’re offering forgiveness and want to reconcile (and therefore offer trust) as the next step, you should expect the other person to show that he’s worthy of trust and reconciliation. Forgiving shouldn’t change anything when it comes to the behavior you now expect from the offender. It’s just as important for the forgiver to understand this as for the person you’re forgiving, so that more misunderstandings (like the offender thinking he doesn’t need to follow boundaries because he’s been forgiven) don’t take place.

Reconciling with someone, which is completely separate from forgiving someone, is a much more complicated and grueling process. Why? It requires participation and a willingness to change on the part of the offender. Earning trust moves beyond forgiveness. It’s an interpersonal process—a joint venture that requires the offender to apologize, to show he’s sorry, and to offer hope that there can be a future for both of you again. Sometimes, however, trust and reconciliation aren’t possible. If the two of you can’t find a way to work through the hurt and betrayal and simply can’t get along, you may have to accept that reconciliation won’t happen. But remember that forgiveness is always, always possible.

Forgiveness and Trust Are Both Processes that Take Time

Forgiveness is an internal and unilateral process based solely on your ability to do the following:

  • Gain a clear understanding of what happened
  • Work through the hurt and anger
  • Learn how to feel safe again
  • Let go of the grudge and let the memory heal
  • Be willing to remember the past with compassion and hope instead of with a sense of injustice

This is not an easy process, and the timeline for forgiveness can either be short or extremely long, based on what happened. It helps to remember that forgiveness is not an event that happens at one time, in one place, or in one moment. Forgiveness is a process, which means you shouldn’t be hard on yourself if you can’t forgive someone right away, even if you want to.

Once again, forgiveness should not be based on the offender’s actions but on your own attitude and your willingness to see that forgiveness will set you free. Holding onto the grudge isn’t punishing the offender, even though it may feel like being mad at him is a sort of revenge. “Getting back” at someone by refusing to forgive does nothing to set things right. It only makes life harder for you.

While forgiveness should be offered freely, trust should be offered slowly. Rebuilding trust, which is a part of the reconciliation process, takes the two of you. You need to talk about what happened, listen to his side of the story, express your hurt feelings, listen for his remorse, and evaluate whether you both want to get to a point where you want to reconcile and give and receive trust again. It’s a process that takes time because you need to see if he’s willing to follow the set boundaries and show that he’s trustworthy over the next few weeks, months, and years. You also need to show that you’ve truly forgiven him by not throwing what happened back in his face every time you’re feeling hurt. You need to let yourself create a new way of remembering what happened—a way that allows you to change the memory of the past into a hope for the future that has both of you in it.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-therapy/201303/forgiveness-vs-reconciliation

http://refineus.org/forgiveness-and-trust/

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/forgiveness-and-restoration/forgiveness-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt

 

5 Ways to Fix a Marriage

Have you tried these ways for how to fix a marriage? LIFE Marriage Retreats can help you find the right way to fix your marriage and build a trusting relationship again.

5-ways-to-fix-a-marriage

Why You Should Go to a Marriage Retreat in Texas

LMR9There are marriage retreats all over the world, but LIFE Marriage Retreats’ Texas location—as well as our Sundance and San Diego locations—encourages growth and lasting positive change. If you are unsure about where you want to take a marriage retreat, read this list of reasons why going to one in Texas is the best option.

  1. Southern Hospitality

People in Texas are extremely friendly no matter where you go. You will find the same feeling with LIFE Marriage Retreats, where you are provided with dining, activities, and a comfortable bed and bath suite. The famed southern hospitality will remind you to be kind to everyone, especially your spouse.

  1. Great Food

Texas is known for its delicious food, such as its BBQ, Tex-Mex, Blue Bell ice cream, and iced tea. You will also be able to find cuisines from all over the world. Good food like Texas comfort food puts you at ease and helps you to focus on making your marriage stronger.

  1. Beautiful Scenery

Texas is extremely beautiful, especially at LIFE Marriage Retreats, just 45 miles west of Austin. It is also abundant with wildlife, and the weather is great all year long. During the day you will see endless blue skies, and at night you can spot thousands of bright stars. When you are surrounded by such natural beauty, you will find it is easier to connect with your partner and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

At LIFE Marriage Retreats, we know that you want to find hope in your marriage. Taking time away from your stressful and busy life for a marriage retreat in a beautiful location reminds you that your marriage is important.

If you decide that the LIFE Marriage Retreats’ Texas location is right for you, you will find four days of enlightening private marriage counseling, peaceful reconnection, and a new outlook on your marriage through experiential activities. Choose to make your marriage a priority.

Contact us today to reserve your spot for a marriage retreat at our Texas location.