Healthy Relationships

How To Fix Toxic Resentment In Marriage: 7 Practical Steps

When left unchecked, resentment in marriage is fatal. It destroys the love and leaves you feeling stormy and wrestling towards your partner.

But the surprising thing well-nigh resentment is that when approached correctly, it can unquestionably be an unexpected gift.

In fact, knowing how to overcome resentment in our marriage has helped us to write important relationship issues and create an plane stronger marriage – and a largest sex life.

In this blog you’ll learn exactly how to deal with resentment in your marriage, including:

  • What causes resentment in a marriage, and the toxic signs to watch out for
  • What to do when you finger resentment towards your spouse
  • What to do when your spouse resents you
  • A proven whoopee plan for how to overcome resentment in your marriage
  • And how to turn resentment into a gravity for growth and fulfilment

Whether you’re the one feeling resentment towards your partner, or you think that your partner holds resentment towards you, this is the well-constructed guide for healing resentment in your marriage.

What Is Resentment In Marriage?

Resentment in marriage is the buildup of negative feelings towards your partner when you finger wronged, betrayed, neglected, poorly treated, or taken for granted. Resentment is toxic to a relationship and over time will erode the safety, connection, and good will necessary for a successful marriage.

Resentment towards your spouse basically comes lanugo to this:

Your partner has knowingly or unknowingly wrenched the agreements of your relationship. And that hurts.

Whether it’s how you want to be treated, what you thought your marriage would squint like, or the life you thought you were towers together, the disappointment, anger, and frustration of these unmet expectations can be devastating.

couple dealing with causes of resentment in marriage

What Causes Resentment In Marriage?

The causes of resentment in marriage are many and varied, but worldwide causes include:

  • Feeling like you contribute increasingly to the relationship than your partner
  • A long-term lack of emotional intimacy and connection
  • Feeling unimportant or that you’re not a priority to your partner
  • An unfulfilling sex life
  • Toxic liaison or unresolved arguments
  • Feeling unappreciated or like your partner doesn’t really ‘see’ you
  • Selfish or executive behaviour
  • Intense criticism or demeaning comments from your partner

Resentments often start small:

A wasteful remark, a forgotten commitment, a lack of appreciation.

But if these small hurts are not resolved effectively, they intensify over time. One minor incident builds upon flipside until you’re delivering virtually a heart full of past grievances.

Woman looking for signs of resentment in marriage

What Are The Signs Of Resentment In Marriage?

Resentment in marriage can squint like:

  • Obsessive thoughts well-nigh past hurts
  • Criticism, negative judgements, and ‘thinking the worst’ of your partner
  • A unvarying feeling of tension or walking on eggshells
  • Stonewalling, defensiveness, and emotional withholding
  • Not feeling unscratched and finding it difficult to trust
  • Fantasizing well-nigh leaving the relationship
  • Actively attempting to hurt your partner’s feelings
  • A sense of feeling let lanugo or betrayed by your partner
  • Chronic arguments and an inability to interreact effectively
  • Consistent fault finding
  • Fearing vulnerability and not feeling unscratched to unshut up to each other
  • A lack of plutonic touch and everyday affection
  • Experiencing sexual rejection and feeling unwanted

Husband's resentment leading to divorce

Does Resentment Lead To Divorce?

If left unaddressed, resentment can erode a marriage to the point where divorce seems like the only option. Resentment undermines the positives making it difficult to deal with problems in a constructive way. It can make staying together finger hopeless and often pushes one partner – or both – towards leaving.

But a marriage can recover from resentment:

It takes shared responsibility, a willingness to talk openly, and a dedication to doing the healing work. You have to understand the hurts in your relationship, be worldly-wise to talk them through together, and then commit to meeting each other’s needs.

Think of it like this:

Imagine that in your relationship there’s a glass window between you and your partner.

For connection to spritz easily, the window needs to be wipe and clear.

But when some small hurt happens between you, it’s like a visionless stain on the window. One or two aren’t a problem as you can still see each other clearly. But a build up of unresolved issues creates a wall so that you no longer finger tropical or connected.

Couple touching through window
Overcoming resentment in your marriage is the process of ‘cleaning the relationship window’, permitting you to come when together and build a increasingly fulfilling marriage.

How To Overcome Wrongness And Resentment In Your Marriage

The next section guides you through a process to understand the hurts you’re feeling, uncover the valid needs underneath them, and help you communicate those needs in a way that will help you get them met.

And, parts of this process will be difficult.

Resentment can be challenging as it colors your perception and creates harmful narratives well-nigh your relationship and your partner that aren’t unchangingly accurate. (We undeniability them ‘poo goggles’ – the opposite of rose-colored glasses).

Couple trying to overcome wrongness and resentment in marriage
To overcome wrongness and resentment in your marriage you have to be willing to question these assumptions and consider variegated perspectives.

Keep an unshut mind, and trust that this process has the power to transform plane the toughest of resentments – if you’re willing to try.

What Do You Do When Your Spouse Resents You?

If your partner holds resentment towards you then you’ll want to unshut up a conversation where the two of you can go through these steps together.

If you’re not sure how to do that, try initiating a relationship trammels in.

Or you could send them this vendible and let them know that you want to work through the resentments in your marriage, whether that’s by yourselves or with the guidance of a relationship mentor or a marriage therapist.

1. Squint For The Positives

Ready to put that unshut mind into practice? List all of the things that are superstitious well-nigh your partner and your relationship.

Let’s be well-spoken that this is not an struggle to gaslight or be all ‘toxic positivity’*.

These positive nature aren’t going to magic yonder the negatives or instantly fix your resentment.

Woman writing lanugo resentments in marriage
But surpassing we swoop into the increasingly challenging aspects of healing resentment in marriage, start by remembering what’s unconfined well-nigh your spouse, and why you’ve chosen to be in a relationship with them.

Challenge yourself to write lanugo at least 20 things. This is your ‘why?’ for getting over resentment in your marriage.

2. Understanding Hurts & Complaints

Now list the ‘negatives’ and the things you’re feeling resentful about:

  • What are some of the complaints you have well-nigh your partner?
  • What have they washed-up that’s nonflexible to let go of?
  • Where do you finger disrespected, unloved, or wronged?

Then pick one resentment you want to focus on healing:

  • How do you finger when you think well-nigh this? (Hint – go vastitude wrongness and frustration, and finger what other emotions are there)
  • What really hurts well-nigh this?
  • Why is this important to you?
  • What assumptions have you made well-nigh your partner and their actions? Why do you think they’re doing what they’re doing?

Man thinking well-nigh resentment in marriage
And most importantly:

  • What is it that you truly want?
  • What is the need or vulnerable desire underneath the hurt?
  • What would you like them to acknowledge, change, or take whoopee on? (We undeniability this the ‘yearning underneath the complaint’)

Hint: The need or desire will usually be something positive but vulnerable to articulate. Something like, “I want to finger like you truly love me.” “I want to know that you still superintendency well-nigh me.” or “I want to have increasingly play and fun in our relationship.”

If you alimony getting a need that feels adversarial, dig a little deeper.

Couple talking well-nigh resentment in marriage

3. Communicate Your Needs

Now that you have a largest understanding of your resentments, it’s time to talk to your partner. But be careful.

Because as relationship experts John & Julie Gottman discovered, “If a conversation starts with criticism or other treasonous communication, it’s going to end as an treatise 96% of the time.” *

So instead of making ‘you always’ or ‘you never’ accusations, try talking well-nigh your resentment from your own perspective.

This formula can be helpful:

Effective Liaison Formula

When ___________ happened / happens, I finger / felt ___________. What I would like / need from you is ___________, / I want to finger ___________.

For example, instead of, “You never make time for me. Work is unchangingly increasingly important to you than me.”


“When you work late nights and weekends, I finger unimportant and abandoned. What I would like is increasingly quality time together. I want to finger like I matter to you, and that I’m your priority.”


  • Choose just one resentment to focus on at a time
  • Be mindful of not making assumptions or interpretations well-nigh their behaviour
  • Avoid personal attacks

Married couple stuff sensitive to emotional triggers

4. Be Sensitive To Their Triggers

When we turn to our partner with a complaint or request well-nigh our needs, one of the most worldwide responses is defensiveness or turning away.

Is it considering they’re an asshole?

Look, it’s certainly possible. But in the vast majority of relationships there’s a much increasingly understanding reason:

They’re triggered.

Something you’ve said has brought up their insecurities and unresolved emotional wounds.

If you make a request that you’d like to spend increasingly time together, they hear:

“You’re not doing enough. You’re a failure.”

When you tell them you finger unhappy in your marriage, they hear:

“You don’t make me happy considering you’re not good unbearable for me.”

It’s why resentment breeds resentment. When you try to communicate well-nigh your hurts, it hurts your partner. They react, which hurts you more. It’s a toxic trundling that can be difficult to break.

But if you can notice when your partner gets defensive and respond with empathy – reassuring their triggers and insecurities – you set yourself up for a much increasingly productive conversation.

Married couple taking perspective

5. Get Curious Well-nigh Their Perspective

Refer when to the interpretations and assumptions you were making well-nigh your resentments:

I’m not important to you.

You don’t respect me.

You don’t fathom all of the things I do.

You’re not attracted to me anymore.

It’s time to practice marvel and ask what else might be going on. To do this well you’ll need to summon all of the compassion and open-mindedness you can:

“I’m curious well-nigh why you’re working so late each evening? What’s going on for you at work? Is it unquestionably possible for us to spend increasingly time together now?”

“Why do you think we’re not having as much sex as we used to? Are you struggling with anything? How do you finger well-nigh our sex life? How do you finger well-nigh yourself sexually?”

“When that thing happened / when you said that thing – what was going on for you? What did you unquestionably midpoint when you said that?”

This is a soft-hued step that can be difficult to master. Our communication undertow for couples equips you with proven tools to have increasingly productive conversations.

Couple touching through window

6. Make An Whoopee Plan

In as few words as possible, what deportment would help you to get your needs met and resolve the situation? Is it:

  • An apology?
  • A transferral to a regular stage night?
  • A plan to re-distribute the chores?
  • A request for increasingly sympathizing touch or words of appreciation?
  • Or to have increasingly sex dates?

The clearer you are on what you need, the increasingly meaningful and constructive this whoopee plan becomes.

Don’t forget to moreover ask what your partner might need:

“How can I support you in making these changes?” can be a unconfined question to ask.

Sometimes we don’t realise that there are very real obstacles standing in the way. So if you can help remove those obstacles you have a largest endangerment of success.

And remember – needs aren’t demands. Expressing a real need will usually finger soft and vulnerable. Considering the truth is, there’s no guarantee. And that can be scary.

Couple triumphal successful relationship

7. Gloat Success

Change doesn’t happen overnight. It happens step by step, moment to moment. And any positive momentum you make certainly won’t protract unless you take the time to urgently fathom and gloat it.

Because when it comes to policies change, the science of positive reinforcement is clear: it works.*

So be on the lookout for all the ways your partner is trying. Tell them how much it ways to you. Tell them how it makes you feel.

Yes, there’ll be mistakes withal the way, and you might need to undertow correct many times. But never forget to fathom what you’re each doing every step of the way.

And to help maintain the positive momentum, trammels out our well-constructed guide to having a relationship trammels in. It’ll alimony you on-track and help write any potential complaints surpassing they turn into resentments.

Is sex a problem in your relationship? Do you require increasingly physical intimacy with your partner? Trammels out our well-constructed how-to guide to help you reignite your love life.

Or if you want to take your relationship to the next level, our ultimate guide on how to build emotional intimacy, or these 11 conscious marriage goals, will help get you there.

Sources & References
At Practical Intimacy we’re single-minded to keeping our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. We use only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.

Cherry, K. (2021)

Gottman, J. (2014)

Nicholson, J. (2017)

Reece Stockhausen & Jodie Milton have made improving people’s lives and relationships both their passion, and their career. With over 25 years wits in the Personal Development industry, and 8 years coaching singles and couples, their no-BS translating has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bustle, and HuffPost.

Book in for a complimentary online video undeniability to discover how their men's, women's, and couple's coaching programs can support you.

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