Dealing with and Preventing Resentment in your Marriage 

If you find that you have grown angry and resentful toward your spouse, it is important to address it immediately. Anger and resentment stem from a variety of issues. If you don’t address the underlying cause, the problem is likely to get worse.

Not Getting Your Needs Met

If you feel like your needs are not being met in your marriage, it is quite possible that over time you may start to resent your spouse. When one partner feels like their spouse isn’t meeting their needs they may either give up on trying to meet their spouse’s needs or they may continue trying to please their spouse while growing resentful.

For example, Jessica was an outgoing person who enjoyed socializing often. Her husband, Jeremy, preferred quiet evenings at home. Jessica often asked him to attend parties or social gatherings but he usually declined. Jessica didn’t go to events without Jeremy so she tended to stay home. Although unhappy, she felt like she was being a good wife by staying by his side on Saturday evenings watching television. However, she grew resentful that her social life was lacking.

It is important to pay attention when your needs aren’t being met. Often, you can find strategies to meet your own needs. In Jessica’s case, she could have found ways to socialize and get her need to be around other people met, even if Jeremy chose not to attend events with her. This could have helped prevent her from growing resentful over time.

Weak Boundaries

Strong and healthy boundaries are important in a marriage. Without them, resentment can grow. Boundaries keep you emotionally safe and can help you remain true to yourself. Without them, you might lose sight of those things you want in life, causing you to blame your spouse and grow resentful.

For example, Chuck chose to visit his mother every Saturday. His wife, Joanne, disliked spending every Saturday afternoon and evening with Chuck’s family. Yet, she went every single week. While she was with Chuck’s family, she thought about all the other things she could be doing with her time. She grew resentful toward Chuck and blamed him because she did not get to spend as much time with her own family and her friends. Yet, she didn’t make any changes. She faithfully went with him week after week for years without ever speaking up.

There are certainly plenty of times in a marriage where it makes sense to meet your spouse’s needs out of a desire to sacrifice for your spouse. However, if you are growing resentful as a result of that sacrifice you are making, it is going to be too damaging to the marriage to continue.

If you feel like a martyr, you are not going to be doing your relationship any favors. It is important to speak up and share your feelings. Avoid constantly giving in to others under the guise of “being a good person.” It is important to say no sometimes and ask for help when you need it.

Lack of Communication

Problems with communication can lead to a lot of areas of resentment. When one partner feels like the other partner isn’t forthcoming with information, it can lead to a lot of resentment. For example, Jeff often said his wife Lauren “doesn’t tell me anything.” He was not sure what their plans were for any given weekend until she informed him. He was clueless about their financial situation as she tended to handle all the money. He felt like she was a control freak and he grew resentful as a result.

Lack of communication can often leave one person feeling in the dark. This can lead to a lot of anger over time. Learning new communication skills so that both of you are able to set a plan and work together is important. Otherwise, it can feel more like one person is in charge.


Money can be a major source of resentment. This can stem from a person’s past history with money or the current financial situation. Debt can be an ongoing battle for a couple.

When one partner owes alimony or child support, it can make the other partner grow angry about the current financial situation. Other past debts, such as student loans or credit card bills can make the other partner feel like they are paying for their spouse’s past mistakes. When one partner earns a lot more money, resentment can also build.

It is important to work together on developing a financial plan so that both partners can work together on financial goals. Discuss your feelings and concerns about money and be clear about your budget. It is important to be open and honest about your bills, spending habits, and financial concerns.

What to do about Resentment?

When resentment starts to grow, it will impact every area of your marriage. Your sex life, your emotional intimacy, and your communication are all likely to suffer. If you find yourself growing resentful, make sure to pay attention and start looking at the underlying cause. Resentment is likely to get worse if it is not addressed in a timely manner.

Consider marriage counseling if you are feeling stuck. Marriage counseling can help you find new strategies to deal with your feelings and improve your marriage. It can also help you let go of resentment and move forward in a healthy manner.




2 Responses to “Dealing with and Preventing Resentment in your Marriage”

  1. Your advice to address the underlying cause of anger and resentment is spot on.

    In our marriage coaching practice, my wife and I see every day how anger and resentment can lead in a downward spiral toward marriage separation and divorce.

    And when underlying causes finally are addressed, there remains the job of rebuilding the marriage. I’ve written a blog post on how:

    Turning around your troubled marriage could be easier than enduring the pain of a bad relationship.

  2. Resentment in marriage can be damaging to a marriage. When resentment in marriage starts out it may not be recognized by either partner until there are signs of anger or a spouse begins to distance themselves from their partner. If allowed to fester it can destroy the marriage.

Leave a Reply