Many couples do a great job masking the dysfunction that exists at home. What seems to those on the outside as a match made in heaven is really a home filled with resentment, disappointment and regret with seemingly no way out.
If we are on social media, we’ve seen it. One day we see the amazing pictures of a married couple and their family, only to go back a few days later to see that the couple is no longer together. We mourn that…
It's ok to be real
Yes, post those awesome moments as a family together, but don’t feel as though you can’t be real come clean with the struggle you have in your marriage.
We have described the stages of Romance and Reality. This week’s blog explains Resentment. We hope that if you find yourself in this stage that you’ll consider God’s plan for moving towards oneness. It can be humbling to admit that your marriage isn’t what you desire it to be or that it really isn’t what it appears to be.
So, how do we know if we are in Resentment?
Romance says, “Isn’t that cute?”
Reality says, “I love you, but can you please stop doing that?”
Resentment says, “I hate that about you!”
There was a time when we (Roland and Tammy) were definitely in the stage of Resentment. Wouldn’t you know it, we were in the happiest place on earth when we were experiencing full blown Resentment. This particular Disney trip was our attempt to create good memories. While Tammy and I struggled living parallel lives we were hoping to live vicariously through our four girls. It was a time when we were both busy doing our part, but the oneness wasn’t there. Our priorities were more about what needed to be done, and resenting one another for the lack of attention on each other.
The camper was parked in the driveway and that was part of the build up to the fun weekend away. The plan was to leave early in the morning so that we could take full advantage of the day. If all things went as planned, we would be on main street in time for the Electrical Parade.
We didn’t leave on time, which led to an argument in the car, which then led to silence, which turned into two days of quiet resentment, the silent treatment. Things came to a head when we found ourselves each having a stroller with two girls in them and racing to stay in front of the other. Our attempt was to one-up the other and prove that we were right. NOT our proudest moment. Also, not our only moment in this stage. We knew we couldn’t stay there.
The Resentment stage isn’t always the “silent treatment”. Resentment has been defined as ill will stemming from the feeling of being wronged or offended. This feeling of being wronged causes us to react. Our reaction can look like the following:
- Becoming critical of our spouse
- Attacking through sarcasm
- Demeaning them by ridiculing
- Disrespecting and dishonoring through our words and actions
- Making sure they feel despised and worthless for what they have done to us
- Communicating that there is no hope “You will never change” “This is how it always is” “We never had a real marriage”
Ephesians 4:31-32 provides a great perspective by contrasting the different ways Resentment manifests itself versus the way God’s Holy Spirit empowers us to act.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”Ephesians 4:31-32
Performance vs. Faith
In the verse above we have the “Secular Six” and the “Sacred Three”. These are good descriptions of a performance-based marriage versus a faith-based marriage. A synonym for resentment is anger and verse 31 in Ephesians 4 describes putting away these expressions of our displeasure.
Bitterness – hatred, bitter root, and wickedness
Wrath – boiling with disdain
Anger – an agitation of the soul, triggered
Clamor – loud, drawing attention to your plight
Slander – reproachful and injurious speech (we get our English word blasphemy from the Greek word for slander)
Malice – ill will with a desire to hurt
Kind – mild, pleasant, benevolent
Tenderhearted – compassionate and sympathetic
Forgiving – to do something pleasant, show favor, be gracious
What to do when you find yourself in Resentment
Move toward your spouse. Recognize their role in your life as a helper and a teammate but also, a lover of your soul. They didn’t marry you to destroy you. They married you because they loved you and they wanted to spend a lifetime with you. You did the same thing. Your spouse is not only “not your enemy”, but your greatest ally (humanly speaking). Maybe you are thinking, “Well, we have changed. We are not the same person we were when we got married”. Years of resentment will do that, you know.
It takes two to tango. That can refer to a struggling marriage, where there is significant resentment that leads to divorce. But the dance, the Tango, is called the dance of love. “Learning the Tango is like learning how to love. The push and pull between partners requires respect and trust.” Marriage is a dance. So, can we be real? We are meant to change, that’s by design. Time to come clean and unmask the resentment in your marriage.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel you are in Resentment. Our resource will be life changing and we would love to come alongside you as you restore your marriage!