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The Worst That Can Happen

What's the worst that can happen to your marriage? I think it is a build-up of resentment.

It is next-to-impossible to show love to someone when you resent what they've done or not done. Even if you try, your actions will be suspect. Your body language will give you away.

Resentment is what allows the thought process that justifies emotional affairs, infidelity, and deliberate overspending or overeating.

Resentment is what leads to badmouthing your life partner to your family and your friends. In long lasting marriages, spouses speak even better of each other than their friends do.

How can you get rid of resentment in your marriage? Find Third Alternatives to your disagreements, Expect Love and drop the rest of your expectations, and Assume Love while you consider alternate explanations for the stuff that bugs you.

Or you can sit and simmer until your spouse or life partner falls madly in love with this miserable, seething version of you and chooses to do everything you expect a life partner ought to do.


Wow, Patty. Very powerful and so important.

This I love to see. We know people whose families know everything about their marital disagreements. Our families know nothing. Not that there is much to know about, but I am so thankful we never began going to family to garner support against each other. We have seen how destructive this can be.

So true, CJ. When we share our negative news with great emotion, it sticks with others a lot better than our meek or missing updates on how much better things are later.

I've now read your last line to my husband and both kids (20 and 22) and we've had great "Well, when you put it THAT way..." laughs!

As I am intentionally working on banishing bitterness and resentment in 2013, this post speaks directly to me, and I'll be revisiting it often!

<big grin>

I feel like my partner and I are at a place where he is resentful of every unkind moment I have, and also of some of my normal moments where I unintentionally irritate him. I can tell that he is going to hold on to his resentment for hours or days, and there seems to be nothing I can do about it. This is happening so often that it hurts, and I'm not sure how to deal with the pain and feelings of being alienated from each other. I don't want to vent to family and friends, but I feel like I do need to vent to someone.

Consider yourself vented.

And notice that you are now resentful of his resentment. Change your expectation, and your resentment goes away. Find a Third Alternative to your unkind moments (i.e., to conveying your displeasure and asking for what you want), and perhaps his will go away.

And it never hurts to try ask him for his help: "I really value our relationship. What can I do right now to repair the rift between us?"

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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