I recently had a reader contact me asking if I could address the bitterness that’s growing in her heart towards her husband and what can she do about it. Well, I don’t believe she’s alone in these feelings because I think it’s pretty common among wives. In fact, I believe there are so many wives who experience this towards their man that I even mentioned it in my post, 20 Reasons Why a Wife Doesn’t Want to Have Sex! So I figured I’d share some thoughts and ways to help you combat it.
So, you’ve tried to forgive him and you thought you did, but deep down inside the seeds of bitterness are starting to grow and your love for him is starting to diminish by the second, and now…
He’s let you down….again.
His words were harsh towards you….again.
He’s made poor financial decisions…again.
He’s unconcerned with your feelings…again.
He’s remained distant towards you…again.
He’s checked out on his role of a father…again.
He’s dabbled in that sin…again.
Because of these things (and more), bitterness has grown in your heart.
Here’s what bitterness is in case you’re not quite sure and you’re just making assumptions that you and your man’s love story is now all over because you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling.
- Bitterness keeps a record of wrongs.
- Bitterness harbors resentment.
- Bitterness is anger with unforgiveness.
Bitterness then leads way to anger…
- Anger hardens your heart towards your husband.
- An angered heart towards your man leads to disrespect.
- And men need respect to feel loved.
The wrong kind of anger leads to sin…
- An unforgiving spirit is sin.
- And your prayers go unanswered because of your sin.
Do you see how all of this can affect your marriage as well as your spiritual life?
Bitterness, if it’s not choked out of your flesh, can destroy your marriage. The love story that you once had is now turning into a horror story.
Now let’s see if we can fix this problem.
I believe the first part of dealing with bitterness is recognizing what’s taking place in your heart towards your husband so start by asking yourself some of these questions:
- Are you constantly disappointed in him?
- Frustrated with him?
- Cold and closed off towards him?
- Short, snappy, and nasty?
Often times our men don’t try to intentionally hurt us or let us down. They’re just like us; imperfect humans trying to figure things out, who, from time to time, just happen to make poor choices and/or respond in the flesh the same way we do.
God’s forgiven the inexcusable in us but for some reason we can’t seem to extend that same grace and mercy towards our man.
Is it because we measure up to God better than he does?
We sin less?
We’re more righteous?
I kinda think we’ve watched one too many Disney princess movies and we’ve become disillusioned about our Knight in Shining Armor. Prince Charming always saves the day in the movies and he certainly doesn’t mess up and let the princess down on a continual basis, now does he?
But that’s not the same as our love story, is it? Our men clearly let us down over and over again.
As do we!
And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Luke 7:37, 38
Jesus Christ freely extended grace and mercy to a known sinner, and what did she do? She showed her devotion to Him.
We are all sinners, aren’t we? We fall short over and over and over. Day in and day out. And when we do blow it, how many of us would like another person to point that out to us?
Condemn and criticize us in the process?
Continually bring it up throughout the marriage?
Get the cold shoulder because you did a poor job of taking care of the kids that day or because you burnt the dinner again?
Hurl “I told you so’s” at us?
No one would sign up to be treated like that. If they do, then they’re crazy!
I believe every single person deals with bitterness in some way because that’s just our flesh screaming out that we’ve been wronged. But we need to learn to control our feelings and turn to Christ for healing, security, unconditional love and forgiveness.
The answer in dealing with bitterness is easy peasy.
- Let go.
- Be gracious and merciful.
But overcoming bitterness is extremely difficult.
Training your mind and your emotions in order to do these things, well that’s a whole nother story! If you’re having a difficult time with bitterness, here’s a verse to memorize:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31,32
3 Things I Do In My Marriage to Combat Bitterness
- First and foremost, I remember that I’m a sinner too!
- I try so hard to let things go and not keep a record of wrongs (since keeping a record of wrong is not loving and it’s a sin.)
- I seek to dwell on the Word of God so my mind can be transformed.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
I know a woman who would not let certain issues go. In no way, shape, or form was she going to cave in on her opinions. It didn’t matter if the person she was angry and bitter towards was a loved one on their deathbed. She was going to remain right on her stance regardless of their failing relationship even if it was her father, (true story!) I saw this several times throughout my life and how she allowed this sin to eat at her. The unfortunate thing about bitterness is if you don’t deal with it, it will destroy your relationship and perhaps even you. For this woman, bitterness has robbed her not only of close family relationships but also of her mental and physical health as well.
It’s your choice, my friend. No one can force you to hand your disappointments, concerns, frustrations, fears, and the anger you have towards your husband over to the Lord. But what you can do is remember the forgiveness that Christ has freely extended to you, and in turn, extend that same forgiveness to your husband out of devotion to the Lord. By doing this, not only are you pleasing the Lord, but you’re also spiritually protecting your relationship from the Enemy since he comes to steal, kill and destroy.
Live a poured out life for Christ,