“There doesn’t seem to be any hope for us,” a woman said to me recently.
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
“I’ve asked my husband to change and he throws it all back on me,” she continued. “He complains about me and I complain about him. I’m getting so resentful now and I’m not sure if I even want it to work.”
“It sounds like you are both hurting,” I said. “He sounds very threatened and when threatened he comes out fighting.”
“That’s him,” she said.
“And what do you do?” I asked.
“Retreat,” she said. “I stand in there and argue for a while and then I just shut down. There’s no getting through to him and so I withdraw. To be fair, I do my share of provocation.”
“What do you do?” I asked.
“I say nasty things because I’m so upset,” she said. “I just have so much resentment built up. I can’t keep it all in. I think it’s the same way with him.”
The Roots of Resentment
I took a detailed history from this distraught woman, hearing much the same story that I’ve heard thousands of times—two people who hurt each other and then grow more and more distant because of that hurt. Two people who once loved each other but who, because of their wounds, now feel only resentment.
In their resentment it is only natural to seek relief. Some become absorbed in social media. Some have affairs. Some use drugs and alcohol to deaden their pain. All want relief from their pain, pushing away from their mate.
Are those marriages doomed to failure? Is divorce their only option, hoping to find happiness in the future with someone new with whom they have no troubled feelings? While this view may be common, this perspective is short-sighted.
The Path to Healing
Consider these points of view:
- First, it’s possible that your love is still alive but buried beneath many wounds. As with this couple, perhaps your caring and concern for your mate is buried beneath years of pain. Perhaps you’ve let wounds fester, or found no clear way of dealing with those hurts effectively. Could it be possible that beneath your pain is still a lingering love for your mate?
- Second, it’s possible to heal those wounds. Have you considered that you can heal those wounds? Perhaps you’ve lost heart and hope and possibly even the will to heal them, but there is very likely a way to do so. Most couple who feel profoundly discouraged have not gotten the best help possible. Most have given up on help too soon and slipped back into the ruts that cause so much hurt and suffering. Can you open yourself up again to the possibility that healing is possible? Bear in mind that God wants to help you to heal. God said to the prophet Isaiah and to us, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41: 10) God wants to show you the path to healing.
- Third, it’s possible to get expert care to help you heal wounds and see each other in a new, loving way. Too often couples allow wounds and ongoing stress to damage their marriage before getting expert help. Have you allowed bitterness to creep into your marriage? There are experts ready and willing to help you and rediscover the caring you have lost for each other. Will you reach out for help?
- Fourth, it’s possible to discover care and healing again. Rediscovering the caring you’ve lost is a journey you can take. Taking this journey together can be part of the healing. Determining together that you will find ways to heal from the wounds that feed the bitterness can be an exciting journey. With expert help and filling your hearts and minds with God’s Word, you can heal. Will you go on this journey together?
- Finally, anything is possible. While this is a cliché, with God’s help and a humble heart, anything truly is possible. There are ways to encourage your mate to seek help with you. The path from hopelessness to hope is not as far as you think. Will you choose to believe in possibilities today?
Taking the First Step
Have you lost hope for your marriage? Is your marriage bogged down with bitterness and resentment? Do you long for change, but feel uncertain where to start? We are here to help you take that first step. We offer a variety of services including individual sessions, group sessions, Marriage Intensives, and a subscription group for women called Thrive. Contact us today and our client care team can help you determine where to start, as you take that first step towards healing your marriage. You can reach us at 206.219.0145 or contact us here.