Overcoming Anger and Bitterness in Relationships

It was June when I realized I’d been carrying bitterness I didn’t even know I had.

It was July when I first voiced it, early September when first prayed about it, October when i looked in the mirror and realized I’m just as beaten up and broken, and November when i finally inquired about counseling because I had believed for far too long I could beat bitterness with enough time, inspiring books, and good behavior.

Turns out, I was wrong. Maybe you know how that goes.

See, this bitterness–it wasn’t the kind of bitterness people saw. It was tucked behind closed doors and hidden behind smiling faces.

It wasn’t the kind one could see on Instagram. It was the sneaky, barely detectable kind–even to me. I mean, give a girl enough distractions and a few date nights and she’ll ignore the distress in her own heart and even begin to believe everything’s peachy keen.

Except…maybe it isn’t.

Maybe when there’s a searing brokenness in our soul, we overlook it because we believe the lie that we’re SUPPOSED to be the good example, SUPPOSED to find the answers instead of looking to the One who is the answer, and SUPPOSED to be some expected version of ourselves that we dream up in our mind.

Overcoming Anger & Bitterness in Relationships


But can I just say this? Marriage is hard. It’s brutally difficult and some days it just wrecks you. And then it wrecks you ten times over when you do a hard look in the mirror when you realize half your bitterness stems from the log in your own eye and the other half from all the ways your unspoken expectations don’t play out in spoken reality.

So, I guess I’m just here to tell you that if you’re a married girl, or just a struggling girl, it’s okay to need help–and that you’re not alone. I’m not the gentle, grace giving wife I’d like to be enough of the time.

All too often I become the hardened wife, the accusatory wife, and the wife that makes herself out to be a martyr when she’s done one more load of laundry than she would have liked, and I’m rarely the woman that I want to be.

Even when I'm not the gal I want to be, Jesus is always the guy I need him to be. Click To Tweet

Yet in the midst of it, there’s some grace filled ribbon that weaves our busted-up hearts together in perfect love.

Mine and his. Mine and His. Mine and yours.

And I can’t help but think that’s the way God shows off–when we show up and see ourselves for who we really are but instead of giving up, give in to a love that breaks through bitterness.

Because even when I’m not the gal I want to be, Jesus is always the guy I need him to be, cupping my face with gentle hands, daring me not to stay there in my bitter brokenness but instead beckoning me beyond it to stand in victory. He invites me into something selfless, soulful, and supernaturally sweeter than the most bitter parts of my heart…something that dares me to remember that He is more and life is more than this.

There is more.

How to Know If He's the One and Thoughts on Young Marriage

And I stand tallest when I fall on my knees in prayer because that’s nails on a chalkboard to Satan’s ears. And I want to silence His bitter voice in my heart one wild, radical, love step at a time.

I stand tallest when I fall on my knees in prayer because that's nails on a chalkboard to Satan's ears. And I want to silence His bitter voice in my heart one wild, radical, love step at a time. Click To Tweet

I dare you to do the same.

Because bitterness stems from all the ways our unspoken expectations don’t play out in spoken reality.

Bitterness stems from all the ways our unspoken expectations don't play out in spoken reality. Click To Tweet

What unspoken expectations are you holding for yourself, or for others?

How has that led to unnecessary bitterness that masks itself as righteous anger?

Dig deep inside your soul.

Stand in your identity.

Walk on holy ground.

Ask for help.

Don’t let the enemy get a foothold.

There’s so much more for you than bitterness.

Pour out more love and grace when it’s undeserved because that’s what Jesus did for us. And maybe, definitely, so should we.

Pour out more love and grace when it's undeserved because that's what Jesus did for us. And maybe, definitely, so should we. Click To Tweet

Do you struggle with bitterness? Share your story below!

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

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Jordan Lee

Author: Jordan Lee

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3 thoughts on “Overcoming Anger & Bitterness in Relationships

  1. Thanks for writing this! I struggle with bitterness and anger all the time. And I feel like because of that, I’m nit-picking every little thing my husband does, because I’m not expressing my expectations. Or because of what you said, that my Unmet expectations are not apart of my reality. But God has so much more for us! Jesus didn’t come to love us, free us, and die for us so we can live in bitterness. But so we can live in joy, peace, and hope! Thankful that God desires better for us! It’s like you’ve picked pieces of my brain in this article haha thanks sister!

    Posted on December 12, 2017 at 2:20 pm
  2. I have struggled with bitterness. I started working at a daycare last year and it broke my heart in half. I saw children who were abandoned and neglected. I saw abuse and broken families and it tore me apart. Honestly I didn’t realize until I read this blog that I burried that bitterness and found my identity in it. I am going to run to Jesus and run away from bitterness. Thank you so much.

    Posted on December 20, 2017 at 10:54 pm
  3. Thank you so much for writing this! I’m a senior in college and my boyfriend of 3 years and I recently had to start doing long distance. It’s been really hard for us and I’ve had a lot of bitterness and anger for the situation and for unmet expectations. Too often it is too easy to forget that no matter how much we love someone, it’s nothing without inviting Jesus into that every single day. Thank you Jordan for your wisdom and willingness to share, this just made my night ❤️

    Posted on January 4, 2018 at 2:28 am