Bitterness is spiritual poison to yourself, your relationship with God, your marriage, your family, other relationships, and your witness.
It’s important to stop and take some serious time alone with God as soon as you notice bitterness or resentment rise up in your life. It is always a temptation. So pull out those weeds as soon as you see them.
Invite the Lord to show you the deepest motives of your heart and to give you His clear discernment, wisdom, and light to see what is going on. There are many things it could be.
11 MOST COMMON CAUSES OF BITTERNESS ON THIS JOURNEY
1. Do you have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ? Have you yielded your life to His Lordship and control? If you haven’t done this, you are trying to do this whole thing in your own strength and that will never work. This is the most critical decision of your life and is all that ultimately matters.
Please check out this post if you are not sure if you are a follower of Christ. https://peacefulwprod.wpengine.com/how-to-have-a-relationship-with-c…/
2. Is your husband actively sinning against you in a significant way? There is such a thing as righteous anger. It is appropriate to be angry at sin. But how you handle his sin is important and it can easily turn to sinful anger.
Is he currently involved in pornography, adultery, or abuse? Is he constantly harsh, angry, and controlling? Or does he have a serious issue like an uncontrolled mental health problem or a drug/alcohol/gambling addiction?
If there are major issues on his end you can forgive him with God’s power but you may not be able to trust him right now. And you may need some outside experienced, wise, godly counsel or other resources (medical help, police, etc…).
3. Or was his sin in the past and has he already repented but you are struggling with forgiveness? Forgiveness is something we do to honor the Lord and get rid of toxic things in our souls. It is not the same as trust. God can empower us to forgive no matter what our husband has done or if he is repentant or not. But if he has broken trust in the marriage, he will have to help rebuild trust.
4. Is there something going on with you physically? Are you experiencing PMS, PMDD, peri-menopause, pregnancy hormones, post-partum depression, inadequate nutrition, thyroid problems, side effects of a medication, severe sleep deprivation, or something else that needs to be addressed?
All of these kinds of issues can dramatically increase feelings of resentment and bitterness but the real root issue may be that you need to take better care of yourself or learn to recognize hormonal issues and deal with them properly.
5. Are you bitter because you have unrealistic or unbiblical expectations that you need to lay down? Unfulfilled expectations are a major cause of resentment. Could it be that your husband is not actually wrong, but just different? Do you need to understand masculinity and his unique personality and perspective better?
6. Are you listening to people (friends, mentors, or counselors) for advice who are against your marriage or your husband and who don’t want your marriage to succeed?
7. Are you being controlling or sinning against your husband in some way that causes him not to feel safe with you? Do you have pride in your heart you need to deal with? Do you think you should be able to make your husband do everything you want him to and resent that he has free-will? Do you expect him to always do what you want?
8. Are you taking your thoughts captive for Christ or are you allowing yourself to get sucked into a negative thought spiral of worry, fear, what-ifs, and anxiety?
9. Are you acting in your own strength and not in the power of the Holy Spirit? Are you starving yourself spiritually and not spending time with God in prayer and in His Word inviting Him to teach and transform you? It is impossible to live in the power of the Holy Spirit if you aren’t investing in your relationship with the Lord and you don’t spend time with God and feast on His Word.
10. Are you cherishing sin in your heart that is keeping you from having the power of the Holy Spirit? Are you opening the door to the enemy in some way and need to take care of that?
11. Could your husband, marriage, romance, your happiness, or something else be an idol in your heart? An idol is something or someone you put your faith in to meet your deepest spiritual needs for fulfillment, contentment, purpose, security, identity, and love other than God.
If you decide to try to follow Christ and obey Him so that you can get your idol, you will end up feeling resentful. No idol can ever satisfy. Only Jesus can deeply satisfy the greatest longings of our souls. If you realize your motives are to get something other than Jesus, repent and invite God to purify your motives and decide to do this journey for Jesus alone not to try to control or change your husband.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31-32
There are other possible causes of bitterness, as well. You’re welcome to share others you see. And you are welcome to share godly wisdom the Lord has shared with you to help you find victory over bitterness in your life.
I pray we will each decide to ask God to help us to tear out every tiny shred of bitterness in our hearts and get rid of it all. It is poison to our souls and lives and it will destroy us if we hold onto it. God can heal us and transform us if we will but trust and yield to His love and goodness.
Much love, dear sisters!
thanks April..I just love to learn more about how a healed, whole and strong woman grounded in Christ can be sucha source of blessing for her hubby! It seems like a conscious decision in many ways too. Praying and striving for this! xoxo
Yes, living for Christ is a conscious decision every day, every moment. We may stumble at times and we always have much to learn. But Jesus is right there with us ready and able to help. He loves us all so much! And if we will trust and yield to His Lordship, He will do amazing things in and through us for His glory! <3
awe April this comment made me tear up! you are sucha beautiful witness for Jesus and His ability to heal. Yes I am starting to really believe the Lord and lean into His strength more n more, and neglect my own ways! I love u very much beautiful lady!
That is awesome!!!! Praising God with you, precious sister!
Much love to you!
Thank you April. These are some really good questions to ask ourselves. Bitterness is a terrible sin and I pray we wives can let go of it and replace it with forgiveness.
Yes! That is my prayer, too. Bitterness is so deceptive and sneaky. And very destructive. I want to see it gone from all of our lives!
This is off topic April but I was curious about Askimet and how it works. Does it work for Google Blogger too? I get comments from spammers that just make me roll my eyes, point to my forehead and say “Stupid isn’t written here!”.
I know I have Askimet on my blog but I don’t actually know much about it or how it works. My apologies!
Oh no problem. I just happen to notice I never see spam here compared to my blog but I do moderate my comments so I don’t have to worry about it being posted.
I moderate my comments, too. But Askimet does catch a lot of spam for me. 🙂
One thing that makes me pretty miserable is when my spouse feels the need to let another woman know she is attractive. I always felt that there are certain kinds of communication and words that should be reserved for each other so when i would hear him tell another woman she looks lovely or is lovely , it is like a knife in my heart; each occurrence had the effect of driving my heart away and chopping away at love and security for me.
I can definitely see where most wives would not appreciate that kind of behavior. Hopefully, a wife can respectfully share that it feels hurtful to her when her husband does this and he will respect her request.
Much love! <3
My husband lies to me and says hurtful things that I can’t get over. It’s so difficult. Please pray for me
Oh, goodness! That sounds very difficult and painful. ???? Praying for the Lord’s wisdom for you and healing for you both. Do you have spiritual support and godly counsel available in your life?
Much love to you!
This goes along with # 5 in your list — Unfulfilled expectations are a major cause of resentment.
After 25 years into marriage, I have found that there have been a lot of unfulfilled expectations. I expected my husband to have a certain personality type (romantic, generous, outgoing). He’s not any of those things, but he is dedicated to me and loves me in his own way.
I expected my husband to have the same dreams and life goals as me (travel, adventure, etc.). He doesn’t, but he maintains our house and cars far better than I ever would.
I expected my husband to walk in a certain type of spiritual walk. He’s not there yet, but God is still working and I have to let God grow my husband at his own pace.
I expected my husband to be a financial contributor to our family. He has been completely disabled for 11 years now, but he works with me to make sure we stay within our budget.
I expected to have a family (children) to raise and love and nurture. I never did, but I have four fun and amazing dogs.
Honestly, none of my expectations were met in the way I expected them to be. For a long time the disappointment of the unfulfilled expectations kept me trapped in bitterness and resentment. I was unwilling to forgive my husband for not being the person I felt that I needed him to be. Now… with the help of godly counselors in my church and Holy Spirit Counsel in my soul, I have come to accept that God’s plans are better than mine. Though I still don’t fully understand His plan for my life, I am willing to surrender my expectations and plans to my loving Father and God whose ways are higher than my ways, whose thoughts are higher than my thoughts and whose outcome is better than anything I could ever think or imagine.
So, my counsel would be this: If you have unmet expectations, surrender them to God and ask Him to show you how His plan is unfolding for your life in place of the one you desired.
With love and respect in Christ, Renae
I love this so much!!! Thank you for sharing the wisdom you have learned.
I wonder if you might consider allowing me to share this anonymously on my Peaceful Wife Blog FB page?
Praising God for all He has done and will do in your life and in your husband’s life and marriage.
Much love, precious sister!
Hi April! I am so humbled that any part of my testimony might bless and encourage others. Yes! Please feel free to share as the Lord leads. Thank you for your encouragement and fellowship in Christ!
Thank you so much! I’m excited to share a bit of your story.
It’s such a blessing that we can walk this road together and encourage one another!
Your post is getting several comments this morning on my FB page. Many women can relate and appreciate the wisdom and encouragement you have shared.
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