Do you know that some couples resent each other? Do you know that some couples can’t stand one another? Do you know that some couples cant spend time together because they loathe one another? Do you know that some couples wish one another death in their hearts?
Do you know that some marriages are just for show? Do you know that the only thing keeping some couples together is their children and probably what people will say when they go their separate ways? These couples are just putting up shows for the society to watch and be entertained.
I know you are asking how they got to that point in their marital lives. I know you want to know why two people who met each other, fell in love, decided to get married and share their lives together got to the point of not wanting to see each other and even wish them death as they go out daily.
The answer is resentment. This is what resentment causes in marriages. Resentment is a silent marriage destroyer. Resentment is present in many marriages yet these couples are pretending to be cool in public.
I know a woman who prays that her husband dies in an accident whenever he travels because she knows he’s going to spend time with his side chicks and she feels helpless about the situation. She has tried talking to him about how his actions is hurting her but he told her that if she doesn’t like the way he’s living his life, she can leave with their children.
This woman who has been married to this man for over ten years is tired of fighting and pleading with him to stop endangering her life since he sleeps with these ladies without condoms and still expects her to have unprotected sex with him.
She resents him. She doesn’t want him near her. When he touches her, she says she feels repulsed by his hands on her body. She hates seeing him. She secretly wishes that he drops dead. She is still married to him but he doesn’t know what she is harbouring in her heart against him. This is what resentment does.
Resentment is a powerful emotion that, if left unchecked, can destroy any marriage. From feeling like you are always the one doing most of the work to make your marriage enjoyable to having a spouse who doesn’t care about you and how they are hurting you, it takes a while for resentment to rear its ugly head in a marriage.
Couples don’t just start resenting their partner, it takes time. It builds up from the first time one persons feelings are taken for granted until the person no longer has the will to fight for the marriage and boom, resentment becomes the black clouds that eclipse the good in that marriage.
Resentment can cloud your judgment and leave you feeling nothing but animosity towards your partner until, one day, it eats away everything good and your marriage is on the rocks. That is a scary place to be as a couple. But you don’t have to wait for resentment to work its evil on your marriage, you can decide to wade off this monster by taking practical steps to make your marriage work.
The first you have to do is acknowledge your feelings. Resentment gains power when feelings are left to fester. Seemingly good marriages can break down thanks to years of buried hurts, pains and resentment.
You can keep resentment by acknowledging your feelings as they arise. Resist the temptation to swallow difficult feelings and hope they will just go away – they won’t, and your marriage would suffer as a result.
Acknowledge and deal with your feelings as they happen so you can move forward. Talk to your spouse about how they are hurting you or taking your feelings for granted. You don’t have to bottle up your bad emotions because one day you will explode and it won’t be good for you and your spouse when that happens.
Couples have to practice open communication if they don’t want to become resentful towards each other. So much resentment comes from things unsaid. It’s easy to get into the habit of thinking that your partner should “just know” if you are unhappy, but they are not psychic so you should talk to him or her about it.
Instead of letting things simmer, sit down and have a clam talk with your spouse about whatever’s on your mind. Try not to blame or get angry – just state your feelings calmly and ask if you can work on things together. Lay your cards on the table and state your feelings clearly.
Couples must acknowledge their needs to fight resentment. Unmet needs can be a source of terrible resentment in a marriage. If you never get a moment to yourself while your spouse hangs out with their friends, or you end up doing all the cleaning, you will soon feel resentful and abandoned.
It’s time to acknowledge your needs, and talk to your spouse about how you are feeling. Ask them if you can negotiate swapping or sharing duties so you can each have the time you need to relax too. Tell them the areas where you need some help and support. Your spouse can’t meet your needs if you don’t tell them what they are.
Couples should learn to apologize to each other instead of claiming that they are right all the time. It is not unusual to make an error of judgment while dealing with your spouse but what it is important is apologizing and changing your bad behavior.
One thing I have heard many Nigerian women say about their spouses is their inability to apologize when they are wrong. Nigerian men think that saying ‘I am sorry’ means that they are weak. Many men don’t apologize to their wives when they offend them and these women are resentful because of their inability to say sorry and mean it.
Instead of fighting all the time and trying desperately to prove who is right and who shouldn’t apologize because of their gender, married couples should stop taking their spouses for granted and apologize as at when due. It doesn’t cost anything to apologize to your spouse and stop hurting them. This will clear the air and show your spouse that you respect them and it will help your marriage in the long run.
If couples want to stop resentment from ruining their marriages, they should learn to take responsibility for their actions. Nobody is perfect. You are prone to make mistakes in life but the good thing is acknowledging these mistakes and changing for the better.
You don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again and expect your spouse to continue listening to your apologies. Apology without changed behavior is a scam. Stop toying with the feelings of your spouse and stop playing with their intelligence. This is how one person starts resenting the other and their marriage suffers for it.
Couples should have empathy towards one another. Your spouse is not your enemy. You are team mates and you have to face life and it’s many difficulties together. This should be the goal of every couple but resentment doesn’t let this happen because of buried negative emotions.
Even when you are angry with your spouse, take time to listen to what they are saying. Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. Be empathetic towards your spouse. Learn to forgive their mistakes. I don’t mean entertaining abuse and disrespect, those are not mistakes. They are conscious decisions of your spouse and you have to hold them accountable for their actions.
Manage your expectations. This is because unmet expectations can quickly lead to resentment. If you expect your spouse to know how you feel all the time, expect them to give you a certain am out of money, expect them to do things for you, you might become resentful when things don’t work out the way you want it.
Set realistic expectations when it comes to your spouse. This doesn’t mean you have to be pessimistic or leave your marriage to chance, it means you know that you are both imperfect humans building your lives together and know that things won’t always go as planned.
The challenges of trying to make ends meet in this country can make your marriage unenjoyable but you and your spouse can make conscious efforts to stop resentment from ruining your marriage. It takes two people to make a marriage work. Don’t forget this.
RE: Ways to improve your marriage during COVID-19 lockdown
Kate, this is another insightful and thought provoking digest with a powerful marriage saving content.
It is a must read for couples who wish to enjoy a happy marriage. I will say it requires prompt practice by those who desire a lasting marriage.
Please stay safe while we trust God for divine intervention regarding COVID-19.
-PST. Stephen, Abuja
Kate, what are you drinking these days that you have suddenly become an advocate of a good marriage? You cannot fool me. You are still a man hater who has no business writing about marriage because no man wants to marry you. You are just a bitter old woman and you want to mislead good women with your satanic articles. You will rot in hell.
Halim, I would have said another nice article, but you have always been writing nice and quality articles even if I disagree with you on a few of them that have core Feminist bent.
This article is spot on, germane and timely. I am on the same page with you on this because you have said all that needs to be said on helping couples bond at this coronavirus period. My wife will get to read this piece. More strength to your elbow.
Anytime I read your column, I feel like you are speaking to me directly. Who are you Kate Halim and why do you say things the way you say them and at the right time too? Your column last week was timely and educative. My husband and I love reading you. You are one of a kind. Don’t stop writing please. You are loved.
Mrs. Felicia Umeh, Lagos.