Resentment will poison everything and everyone around it. In a marriage it should be a HUGE Red Flag of danger, that its time to clear the air, learn more about each others emotional/spiritual needs, help build better communication!
Resentment is a form of anger. We become angry when three things happen to us: When we feel our basic believes have been belittled, when our convictions are ignored, or our sense of self worth has been damaged. We are all human, so it is inevitable that sometime in our married life we will be hurt by the one we love. Disappointments and unmet or unrealized expectations are part of being human, we can help our marriages grow by being willing to talk with our spouse when those things occur. One of the best methods to resolving issues is a communication technique you can grab right out of your parenting tool box!
- Agree on a time and place to talk when both of you can give each other the full attention you both deserve. When you sit down to talk, make sure there are no interruptions so you both can give the situation, your marriage, your full attention. Don't answer the phone, check your cell phone, or be watching the game or anything on TV.
- Set the tone for your talk. Begin with a prayer. Find somewhere warm and inviting, or create an inviting space. Sit comfortably as possible.
- Don't barge right in, set the talk up with a statement of loving explanation.
- Respond to nonverbal communication gently. You should see this as an opportunity to learn more about your spouse's communication style, to learn his inner most thoughts and feelings. For example, if your husband sits with his arms folded across his chest you might say: "I have a feeling that was upsetting . Am I right?" Then listen completely to his response both emotional and verbal. Give nonverbal encouragement whatever it is appropriate.
- Avoid interrupting. Letting your spouse finish what he wants to say shows that you care about what he has to say. If you jump to conclusions you may miss an important point he is trying to make, or turn the topic around because you are uncomfortable.
- Empathetically listen and respond positively. Don't bring up anything from the past, even if it is, or you think it is relevant; it will only confuse the issue you are working on. If an issues is of concern to you and you need to discuss it with your spouse, set aside a specif time to do just that.
- Make sure you are very clear about what your spouse said, relabeling it: "I think I heard you say _________", will help you see if you did hear what you thought you heard.
- Be aware of spouse's emotions, his emotional rhythm, emotional pattern. Use phrases that will help further understanding of how he is feeling. Starting a sentence with a "You statement" can be seen as as an attack, it puts your spouse on the defensive instead of being open to hearing what will be said next. Try to think of phrasing each statement as a loving invitation.
- Recognize that this emotional expression provides an opportunity for the both of you to get closer. Use this moment to be prayerful together, learn more about each other, and explore news ways to deal with situations.
- Trying to resolve resentment takes time and understanding, don't rush. Revisit as needed and each time try to tackle only one part of the problem at a time. A good rule of thumb is not to spend more than an hour on any one topic.