Is It Really Normal To Hate Your Spouse Occasionally?

Ever since our youth, we've been bombarded with movies and images and stories of true love and how we are all destined to live out our happy ever afters. Tales of how magical love can be and how peaceful life gets once you've found your soulmate and settled down kind of got shoved down our throats. However, part of growing up means realizing that, while love is a beautiful thing, it can get pretty ugly.

Marriage isn't always a bed of roses. It's actually unrealistic for people to live together for a long period of time and not have any sort of personality clashes. Sometimes, these clashes can run deep and lead to resentment and even hatred. While that does sound harsh, you may feel that this is a normal part of marriage and everyone goes through it. If you've been going through the motions wondering if you're being consumed by hate toward your spouse, then you probably want reassurance that all will be well. Well, according to relationship experts, marital hatred is not normal relationship behavior.

Marital hatred should not be normalized

Spousal hatred flourishing as a TikTok trend was not on our 2023 bingo cards. It isn't exactly a recent concept, but because of the level of technology we have today, marital hate has definitely hit the mainstream. The TikTok trend among couples involves men pretending to engage in domestic violence toward their unsuspecting partners as a result of their "nagging" behavior. 

In this TikTok video above, creator @_stronger_than_before_ breaks down why these videos are absolutely dangerous.

What may seem like harmless, cynical videos can actually reveal toxicity in the relationship and lead to domestic abuse and divorce, according to former divorce lawyer Kelsey V. Eisen, Esq., who spoke to Coveteur. Eisen maintains that marital hate should not be normalized and is not a regular byproduct of marriage. "No degree of hatred should exist in a relationship," she stated. She explains that even though disputes may occasionally raise some tension and temporary dislike between you and your spouse, full-on hating them frequently is far from normal. Even resentment is a huge red flag. If you spend your time resenting the person you're married to, especially over the little things, it's not a good sign.

Unresolved strife causes hatred in marriages

There are several reasons why marital hate can manifest in a marriage, and they all differ based on each individual relationship. However, there are some underlying causative factors that you can look out for.

In an interview with The New York Times, celebrity relationship counselor Terrence Real blames the "toxic culture of individualism" for the damage in most relationships today. "It's about me, me, me," he said. "You-and-me consciousness is an adversarial world in which one loses and the other wins. It's a big power struggle."

Real explains that relationships function on three "phases of love" — "harmony, disharmony, and repair." A lot of couples go through the harmony and disharmony phases but don't ever fully pass the repair stage. This is usually due to their marriages suffering from a communication breakdown, a lack of understanding, and a toxic sense of individualism. Having qualms is not the problem — it's failing to find common ground and balance over and over again that leads to perpetual resentment and hatred.

When it comes to factors that can result in marital hate, Kelsey Eisen points to repetitive harmful actions and attitudes that compound over time. These actions include dismissing your spouse on a whim, instances of misogyny for heterosexual couples, continuous disappointments, and disillusionment.

Turn on adult-mode and leave immaturity in the past

According to Terrence Real, you have to put in real work to fix the turmoil in your marriage as it happens. Leaving unresolved conflict to fester like weeds in a garden will only cause marital hatred, and there's no masking it. Hatred in any circumstance underlies some major dysfunction in your relationship. You can't repackage hate — it'll only bubble back to the surface.

Real recommends checking your immaturity and childhood trauma triggers as they come up during times of conflict. These behaviors can come up as "controlling your partner, retaliating, or withdrawing." Instead, he advocates "wise adult" behavior, which entails seeing the problem from a wider perspective and acting within the interests of both parties. Therapy is a great way to fish out behavioral issues from the root.

Kelsey Eisen advises people not to rush into marriage for the sake of it or for bearing children, but rather to take the time to make sure it's something you really want. Love is nice, but you also need to like the person you're marrying.

And finally? Apologize. Whoever said that the most important word in the English lexicon is "sorry" was actually onto something. Real emphasizes that while you can't change what happened in the past, you can decide how to handle what's going on now. One of the best ways to resolve a conflict is through mutual understanding and respect.