How to Deal With a Selfish Spouse


My mentor told me years ago that the greatest enemy to marriages is selfishness.

I think we all start out doing whatever it takes for our partner to know that we love them and even go out of our way to make each other happy. Somewhere along the way, we unintentionally put other things first and we begin to focus more on what we want and what we think, leaving our spouse feeling frustrated and alone.

I think we can all admit that we can be selfish at times and with certain things in life we have our mind set on. Now, I believe that a little “selfishness” is good. Really, what I mean here is self care — like having healthy boundaries and making sure you have alone time. But: being selfless doesn’t mean you should be a doormat and have no opinions. 

The trend we are seeing is that more and more couples are feeling entitled and don’t realize the negative impact it has on their marriage until it’s too late. The reality you must face is that marriage isn’t for selfish people who only want their own way. Marriage isn’t for people with ego issues or who lack empathy. Marriage isn’t for individuals who are willing to sacrifice their own needs and desires only when they feel like it.  

Marriage isn’t for selfish people.

Selfishness is an attitude that subtly permeates many of the ways we can think and act towards our spouse. So, if you struggle with being selfish more often than not, the two questions to ask yourself are, “Is it possible to have a healthy and thriving marriage if I continue to be self-centered?” and “When I am selfish, how does it make my spouse feel?” 

To take this conversation even further, here are some Connecting Questions to talk through with your spouse:

  • We all know people that are extremely selfish. Can you share a story of someone’s selfishness that had a negative impact on you?

  • Who in your family is self-centered? How has their selfishness impacted holidays and family gatherings?

  • What are some healthy boundaries that need to be established in order to protect our marriage from people in our lives that are self-centered?

  • Since a little selfishness is healthy, what are some areas where you want to work on being more “selfish” (aka self care)? (Examples: setting boundaries with your time, not being a people pleaser, taking time for self care, protecting yourself form negativity, working out, etc.) 

To watch our webcast on spouses who are self-centered or have narcissistic personalities, become a MyMarriage365 member and get even more Couples Connecting Questions. We were joined by our friend and Marriage and Family Therapist Quentin Hafner who helped us learn more about this marriage topic.