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10 Excellent Ways to Deal With a Selfish Spouse

Updated on June 13, 2017


Selfishness is one behavior that can cause problems in a marriage. A selfish spouse can make his better-half feel unwanted in the marriage, and this can lead to a weakening of the marriage bond. Furthermore, selfishness can cause serious disagreements in a marriage and this can lead to marital disharmony and divorce. How do you deal with a selfish spouse if you find yourself in a marriage in which your spouse is self-centered?

Try to Understand Him

Your spouse may be selfish because of how he may have been trained, his association with selfish friends at school, something a relative or friend told him, or a terrible experience he might have gone through.

One way to deal with a very selfish spouse is to try to understand him. When you understand why your spouse acts the way he does, when you know the history that informs his actions and behavior, you will appreciate how he thinks better. This information will help you to map out a strategy to help you control yourself when he behaves in certain ways so that you do not have fights with him.

So, ask your spouse about his past. Identify the possible causes of his attitude from the information he gives to you. Then, think about how you can convince him that the people who influenced him taught him the wrong thing so that he can see that he has to do something about his behavior if he wants to have a good marriage with you.

Tell Him He is Being Selfish

Tell your spouse that you feel he is self-centered and that his behavior is affecting you and making you unhappy in the marriage. Give specific examples of things he has done which show that he is selfish. For example, you might say, “I was very hurt when you chose to buy that expensive shoe when we have not paid the children’s school fees. Last week, you made me very sad when you told me you also have problems, when I informed you about how my superior treats me in the office. Moreover, you are always blaming me when things go wrong in this house. I cannot continue this way. If you want us to continue with this relationship, then you must consider my feelings.”

When your spouse sees that his behavior is affecting you emotionally, and when he considers the subtle threat you give him, it may give him a reality check. If you are a great spouse and he feels he will lose a lot if the relationship breaks up, he may re-consider his ways.

Keep Pointing Out His Faults to Him

Your spouse may not admit he is selfish when you point out his faults to him. Therefore, you need to exercise patience, but keep drumming home the fact that you think he is selfish. When you create that awareness, it may make him seriously consider that he may have a problem.

When he acts selfishly, point it out to him immediately so that you can draw his attention to it. For example, when he does not sacrifice to spend time with you when you are sick but chooses to spend time with his friends, tell him what you think of his behavior that same day so that he will see you know what you are talking about. You may say something such as, “This is what I often talk about. You chose to visit friends when you know I am not feeling well and need company. Isaac, how would you feel if you were sick and I neglected you?”

Making your spouse conscious of his or her selfishness is a good way to deal with a wife or husband that is selfish because your constant reminders may be the fillip that may make him or her desire to change so that you will not have a chance to bother them anymore.

Let Him See the Benefits of Trying Not to be Selfish

Let your spouse know what he or she stands to gain when they try to be a bit more selfless. That may motivate your spouse to work on himself or herself so that he or she can enjoy those benefits. For example, if your spouse is always talking about himself, you could say, “Isaac, don’t you think that when you talk more about me it will make me feel good about myself and, as a result, I can serve you better?” If he is proud, you may say something such as, “I find it difficult to allow you to make love to me because you treat me like dirt. However, if you were to put aside a little bit of your pride and treat me with some respect, it would make me feel great about my body and I would be more willing to make love to you.” This is a great way to deal with a wife or husband who is selfish.

Be Generous Towards Him

If you want to deal with a selfish spouse in a manner that may make him change his behavior later, decide you will be a good example so that you can show him the proper way a spouse must conduct himself. Thus, continue to show generosity towards him even if he despises the efforts you make to make him feel happy.

Buy gifts for him. Appreciate him for the good things he does for you, often. Continue to give yourself to him romantically. Refrain from being too critical him and avoid the “blame game.” In addition to these, let him see that it makes one feel great when he thinks of other people. For example, when you are giving him a gift, smile and look enthusiastic. Then say something such as, “You know what Isaac, it is such a joy to give you a gift every time. It makes me feel really great and wonderful. No feeling in this world beats the feeling you get when you think about others. I hope you will try it sometime. Trust me, it will make you feel good!”

When you continue to show such an attitude, it will make your spouse stop and think, and this could lead to a change in his behavior.

Decide Not to be Petty

You must make up your mind that you will not waste time on unimportant issues, that you will not be petty about some issues, but that you will focus on the big picture. For example, you may choose to appreciate yourself if your spouse ignores to give you appreciation. If you wear clothes and you feel you look great in them, just say, “Man! Isaac, you look great in that jeans and polo shirt,” or “Wow! I look really beautiful and smart this morning!” as you look at yourself in your mirror. Stand for a moment, smile at your image and feel happy. This is one of the best ways to deal with a selfish wife or husband who feels you do not matter.

Focus on Yourself Sometimes

Sometimes a spouse will behave selfishly because he thinks he is the center of your world. He may misunderstand the efforts you make to show you care about him to mean that without him, you cannot have any happiness.

Therefore, refocus the attention you give to your spouse on yourself, if you want to deal with a selfish spouse. Visit friends you have not seen in a long while. Do that manicure or skin cleansing you have been postponed for months because you have been trying to satisfy every whim and caprice of your spouse.

Leave Him for a While

Sometimes a spouse will start taking you for granted when you are always around doing his bidding. He may come to feel he is entitled to your presence and attention. When you spend some time away from him, you will let him see that you perform a very important task in the house and it will make him value you more and treat you with more respect.

Therefore, when you feel the behavior of your spouse is becoming unbearable, take a break. Spend a week away from home to let him see that you are also valuable. Before you leave, tell him exactly how his behave is affecting you emotionally. For example, you may say something such as, “You make me feel as though I am not needed in this house. That is really annoying me. If I stay around, I may explode. So, I need to take this break so I can cool off.”

How to Communicate with a Selfish Spouse

Selfishness can harm communication in marriage and destroy effective communication. One area where selfishness can rear its ugly head is when you are having conversation as a couple.

If your spouse refuses to give you an opportunity to talk, say something such as, “Don’t you want to hear my views too? I thought a conversation is about two people exchanging ideas, and not one person talking to himself and listening to himself.” Say it in a calm voice and smile. Refrain from getting angry and saying something such as, “All you do is talk about yourself! Can’t you keep quiet for a moment and let me talk too!”


Seek God’s intervention to help change your spouse so that he can recognize the harm he is doing to you and to the marriage. Read the story of how God made Nebuchadnezzar realize his pride and selfishness and how God humbled him in Daniel 4 of the Bible. Let the story inspire you to believe that God can make your spouse change.

Then pray a prayer such as, “Dear God, I thank you for giving Ike to me as a husband. Father, I have a problem with him. He is inconsiderate, gets angry when I am not in a mood to make love to him, expects me to meet all his expectations, and lacks empathy. God, it worries me and it is making me unhappy in this marriage, and so I have come to you to help me. Just as you humbled Nebuchadnezzar and made him see reason again, humble Ike and let him come to the awareness that he is selfish. Please let him change so that we can have a happy marriage. Amen.”


If you take these tips on dealing with a selfish spouse seriously, try to understand why he or she behaves the way they do, let him or her know that the way they behave hurts you and can rob them of certain benefits, ignore them sometimes, and seek Divine help, you will be able to deal with a selfish spouse and continue with the relationship so that you can avoid a divorce.

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© 2017 Isaac Yaw Asiedu Nunoofio


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    • Papeeebooks profile image

      Isaac Yaw Asiedu Nunoofio 6 months ago from Ghana

      Your point is well noted! Thank you for the comment!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 7 months ago from The Caribbean

      Great ideas. It would be help if the prayer also included a phrase or two in recognition of the fact that the pray-er is not perfect and may also have to make some changes.