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Over time, repeated hurts can build up to
destroy a relationship, but these
suggestions can help you heal
before the damage is done.
For nearly two centuries, Beethoven's
death was a mystery. The famous
musician suffered from irritability,
depression, and abdominal pain. His
dying wish was that his illness would be
discovered so that "the world may be
reconciled to me after my death."
In 1994, two Americans launched a study
to determine the cause of Beethoven's
end. Chemical analysis of a strand of his
hair showed his killer—lead poisoning!
More than likely, it was a little poison in
everyday activities that took his life. It
could have come from drinking out of
lead-lined cups or having dinner on a
household items in that day. Or perhaps it
came from eating contaminated fish or
even the extensive consumption of wine.
It didn't come in one lump sum, but the
lead killed him slowly and quietly—one
little bit of poison at a time.
That's also how bitterness destroys a
marriage. It stores itself in the soul and
slowly poisons the one who carries it. It's
a blade meant for another that eventually
severs the hand that tightly conceals it.
Recently, I have witnessed what a bitter
wife does to a relationship. The problems
with her husband are real, and her anger
is justified. However, what keeps their
marriage from healing is not only the
problems that he has to overcome, but
also the prideful bitterness she guards in
Little by little, day by day, she has
allowed this bitterness to poison her. Her
disappointing, and instead of confronting
the problem, she silently holds it against
him. He continues to make the same
mistakes, and she continues to harbor her
This pattern has gone on for years, and
now the love she once felt has numbed
and hardened her heart. Recently she
walked out on their marriage wearing a
list of her husband's transgressions as her
armor. Reflecting back on his behavior,
she nurses her wounds with words that
assure her that their marriage was a
mistake—"I knew it all along," she says.
What causes bitterness?
In every marriage, a husband or wife
does something that hurts the other. It's
bound to happen because none of us is
perfect. And in some cases, a spouse has
a habit of doing the same thing over and
over again, even after the behavior is
Bitterness comes when you hold onto
hurt and refuse to forgive the person who
hurt you. Most of the time, this comes as
a result of ongoing actions of a small
nature—lack of understanding, misuse of
finances, harsh comments—that build up
over time. Each offense takes residence
in the heart, and at some point there is no
more room left. That's when bitterness is
manifested and causes the most damage.
What's wrong with bitterness?
Continued, page 15
Don't Let Bitterness Poison Your Marriage
Sabrina Beasley McDonald