5 Steps to Dealing With Bitterness Toward Your Husband

So this week I focused on respecting our husbands - but let me go one step further and say that we can give respectful lip service and appear on the outside to be very respectful toward our husbands but we must guard our hearts and minds. Guard them from what? Bitterness.
Hebrews 12:15 warns: “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
Dare I admit that it was my husband who first detected my bitterness. In the midst of a heated discussion a few years ago – my mouth overflowed and he was shocked and immediately he said – you are really bitter about some things! That was a dagger in my pious heart. In my pride, I certainly was not about to admit that he was right…but when I opened up my prayer journal that night and began to pray and talk to God I was completely convicted. The Lord had used my husband to open my eyes to a poison that was eating me up – bitterness.

I am so thankful for that night when my husband put his finger on why I was in distress – it wasn’t him – it was me! Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Boy was the Lord using my man to sharpen me and to get serious about some of the negative and critical thoughts I was playing in my head very quietly for no one to hear. These thoughts gave root to bitterness. And just like the weeds in my garden that need to come out at the root or else they will be back again next week – I had to get serious and uproot these thoughts. So here’s what I did.

1. I Confessed my sin to God and my husband.
2. I put a plan in place. I put a filter on my thoughts – my filter is Philippians 4:8. I already had it memorized but I needed to start using it to frisk all the thoughts about my husband at the door of my mind. It reads: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.”

3. When I have a critical, negative, bitter thought I ask myself – “is this a noble thought? Is this pure? Is this lovely? Admirable? Praiseworthy?” If it is not – I must do what 2 Corinthians 10:5 says “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” I must make my mind obedient to Christ. Soooo…

4. Eject – do not let those thoughts swirl in your head because eventually everyone in the family can see it in your demeanor, your lack of joy, and even in your words – though you may think you are hiding it. Replace those thoughts with thankful thoughts full of grace.
5. Forgive your husband and pray – ask the Lord to give you eyes to see your husband as he sees him.
This is not something that will happen overnight – it’s a life long journey of guarding your mind and your marriage. The enemy would LOVE to get a foothold using bitterness – so beware – and put Philippians 4:8 as a filter over your mind. Be free from bitterness!
Walk with the King!

http://www.womenlivingwell.org/

Comments

  1. Steph Crawford says:

    This is so much where I'm at. It's easy for me to bite my tongue and outwardly respect my husband, but I've never quite gotten the hang of what to do with everything I'm holding in! I'm so glad that you point out that we're not fooling anybody – eventually that bitterness welling up in our hearts will spill over into our words and actions for all to see. I appreciate your encouragement to root it out diligently (not an easy task) before it's roots become deep.

  2. very true…I struggle with this as well.Thanks for the encouraging and wise words on how to deal with it!

  3. I struggle with this too at times, and I love how you have a "to-do" list to help eradicate this behavior! Great post.

  4. I needed to read this today. Thank you!

  5. Melinda says:

    Hi Courtney!
    Thanks for visiting my blog … Yes, I LOVE your header … great minds do think alike! ;0)
    I love you blog, too. This is so needed. I will definitely be back. God has been speaking to me about "Taking every thought captive" not only in my marriage, but parenting, in all areas.
    Bitterness can really creep up in our marriages. One thing that has helped me is to ask God not to expect so much from my husband, because then it becomes "What have you done for ME lately." He's challenging me to love him period — regardless of what he's doing or not doing. That has really helped. This is a great post. Keep it up!
    ;0)

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Sometimes it's hard to accept that it is a life long journey. I so want to do things the right way, all the time…now! Bitterness can creep in when we least expect it. Your advice was just right, to stay on top of it, and allow our minds to be renewed. Thanks for the reminder.
    I too tend to get defensive when hubby points out that I am doing something wrong…I'm trying to change that, and be more humble, and except his concern, and learn from it. God bless!

  7. shopannies says:

    thanks so much for sharing

  8. Jenn @ Beautiful Calling says:

    Oh, that verse "Whatso ever things are true" has been something I have been working on every since reading Elizabeth George's "Loving God with All your Mind".

    I enjoyed reading your post as I too am almost always able to have an outward appearance of submissiveness but sometimes not so on the inside!

  9. Beth in NC says:

    Hi Courtney,

    This is some great advice here. (I'm coming over from the Well.) It has taken me almost 20 years to learn these lessons. It would save a lot of women years of heartache if they understand this in the beginning.

    Love,
    b

  10. So how do you attempt to swallow all the bitterness and become a better person if you are the only one who sees you that way and get put down and not respected for what you contribute to the household? I'm all for forgive and forget, but sometimes there comes a limit

  11. Courtney (Women Living Well) says:

    Jen – bitterness will ruin you if you give it a foothold in your life. Without the help of God, you may not be able to overcome some of your bitter memories and past hurts.

    I would first pray and ask God to really help you as you struggle with this.

    Then I would list some of the things you love about your husband – maybe it's physical attributes – his broad shoulders, strong hands, sense of humor, willing to help a friend or play with the kids.

    I would begin to say thank you to him for those things- maybe as he goes out the door – just give him a quick kiss and say one appreciative word.

    Do not expect anything in return. Continue this path of daily building him up and praising him. Human nature desires to please and when he sees that he pleases you rather than confirming his suspicians that you hold contempt for him – he may warm up to you and begin to draw near to you – rather than continually disresect you.

    Often men are motivated by receiving respect and Ephesians 5:33 says that "wives are to respect their husbands."

    God wired men this way – so if you don't care for this idea – talk it over with God in prayer and ask him to help you.

    Give your husband what he desperately needs – respect – and you may find that he begins to do the same for you.

    Stop replaying the memories in your mind of the hurts – you must let them go if you want to have a deeply intimate and fulfilling marriage.

    These are hard words I know – but with the help of the Lord all things are possible.

    Much Love,
    Courtney

  12. Oh how I needed to read this just now. I have had so much bitterness building inside me. Feeling like I have more responsibility than my husband does. Being frustrated that he can’t figure out how to calm our daughter down, so I often step in, eventhough it’s supposed to be my time to myself. Getting annoyed when he doesn’t respond to our daughter the way I would, etc. I just finished reading The 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry and really need to work on filtering all my thoughts through Phillipians 4:8. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Courtney.

  13. Hi courtney, i am truly blessed by your writings. I am struggling presently with a spouse who does not apreciate or respect me. I hope someday he would have a change of heart and stop treating me with so much dis-respect. God bless you for your words of wisdom

  14. Anonymous Wife says:

    Hi Courtney. I googled “bitterness towards your husband” and found this today. I’ve been married for almost 25 years to my husband. He’s a good worker, faithful and loves me. However, I have suggested that we renew our vows next month on our 25th anniversary for over a year. Or a dinner, bbq, cruise, Disney – ANYTHING! I thought it was a milestone and something celebrate. I have always received a grunt or a blank look from him when I asked – which I’ve stopped doing. I’ve been battling and battling bitterness over this issue. He knows I’m upset about this but frankly, he doesn’t care. He loves me the way HE wants to be loved, not the way I need to be loved. But I guess after 25 years, I just need to deal with it and let it go.

  15. My momheart is struggling with being slower to anger/frustration, especially with my kiddos.

  16. What a great post. I [also] love that you have practical steps for getting bitterness out. It’s easy to say “I need to change this” but having practical steps helps SO much. And I also appreciate that you call it what it is – bitterness! Many times we as women think that this kind of behavior is totally acceptable and “all women feel this way” so it’s ok because we deserve it! It’s so not true. So glad I found your blog!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I wrote a post, long ago, about how I dealt with some bitterness in my marriage …here’s how it began…Dare I admit that it was my husband who first detected my bitterness. In the midst of a heated discussion a few years ago – my mouth overflowed and he was shocked and immediately he said – you are really bitter about some things! That was a dagger in my pious heart. In my pride, I certainly was not about to admit that he was right…but when I opened up my prayer journal that night and began to pray and talk to God I was completely convicted. The Lord had used my husband to open my eyes to a poison that was eating me up – bitterness. (To read more click here.) [...]

  2. [...] again and suddenly you boil over with anger and an abundance of bitterness comes out.  Yea – I’ve been there! Luke 6:45 says “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and [...]

  3. […] I choose to not get bitter.  Bitterness can creep into every crevice that you allow!  Banish it!  I do not waste energy […]

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