Resentment in your marriage

Whenever we avoid conflict, in order to escape amy discomfort, we invite a far more unpleasant companion: resentment.

It's actually a very descriptive word, resentment. You're carrying around a sense of injustice, say, thinking your spouse has wronged you and there's little you can do about it. So, instead of facing the conflict and addressing the situation maturely, you re-send it through your brain. And then you talk about it with your best friend, or your mother, and you re-send it through your brain again.

Eventually it becomes a re-sent-ment. Pretty soon, this resentment attaches itself to every other resentment you've been carrying around since childhood, and your ability to hold it all back erodes, and then you explode over something silly, like directions.

Jenny and I are no longer scared of conflict, because we are both terrified of resentment. Thus, we probably have an uncomfortable conversation at least once a day, even via text:

[Actual text exchange]:

ME: "Hey, are you gonna pick up the paint & brush & tape tonight?"

JENNY: "No, I'm not even done, yet. And whoa, how about a 'Thanks so much for painting the fireplace'?"

ME: "Oh, baby, I'm sorry; I did not mean it that way. I was asking if you were going to the store to 'pick up' more paint stuff, as in 'buy.' I wasn't talking about cleaning up!"

Neither one of us is scared any longer to bring up a perceived conflict, because both of us are terrified of resentment.

In marriage, it is far better to get rubbed the wrong way than to never get rubbed at all. At least when you get rubbed the wrong way you have the warmth of friction (plus, you can engage with the "rubber").

Those who never get rubbed, however, end up distant, cold and full of resentful thoughts like, "What happened to me? When did I get so scared to speak my mind and ask for what I want? Is this as good as marriage gets?!?"

No, it's not.


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