Gotta Grumpy Hubby?

June 15, 2015

in Uncategorized

In last Monday’s post I mentioned a husband being grumpy. I was surprised no one jumped on it. After I wrote the post, I came across What Is The Issue With a Grumpy Husband? – a podcast from Love and Respect. So today my Generous Husband post suggests being grumpy might be wrong (aka sin).

Grumpy Man © asierromero |

If you live with a grumpy man, I strongly suggest the podcast above, and those to follow in the series. As Emerson suggests, most grumpiness comes from choosing not to discuss what’s bothering you. I also agree with Emerson this tends to be primarily a male issue. Women don’t usually hold things in. Instead they complain, which is usually called something rude. I’ll go with nagging.

Those who grump and nag both tend to blame their spouse. If s/he would just ______ or if s/he would stop ______, I’d stop being grumpy/nagging. While there’s usually some truth to this, it’s not the real issue. We get to choose how we deal with life, including when life it not what we want it to be. Some ways of dealing with life bring results, but neither grumpiness nor nagging is known for solving things or precipitating change. Choosing an annoying strategy that can’t bring change is a bad plan.

If either you or your husband is doing these things, it needs to stop. It’s hurting both of you and your marriage. If you need to make changes, do so. If he’s a grump, learn how to make grumping less appealing.

~ Paul – I’m XY and I WILL NOT BE a grumpy old man. Annoying yes, crazy maybe, but not grumpy!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr Richard Norris June 15, 2015 at 4:21 am

Yep. I can relate to being grumpy at times – my wife notes it’s usually around 7-8pm each night. I’m not sure why but she is right. For me it is less about holding things in (but I do need to give that some more prayerful thought). I think it’s me going into task mode – getting the kids to bed. I like the route A-B not A to B via C, K, P and S!! My grumpiness can, at such times, become infectious (not a good thing).

Since my wife notes it regularly, I am working to improve.

Thanks for the reminder.
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Paul Byerly June 15, 2015 at 11:35 am

@Dr Richard Norris – Changes to my idea of how things should happen is certainly a grumpy trigger!
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libl June 15, 2015 at 8:58 am

Just asking for a clarification. What do you define as nagging/complaining, because I have in my marriage and have witnessed it in others where wives have an issue with something, address it, and are shot down as complaining/nagging by their husbands. Mine has done similar so I learned to be quiet and deal with it, myself, but now he says I just do what I want and don’t include him! I vowed never to be a nagging wife before I even married, but now I barely feel married if I can’t even mention the height of the lawn without a possible battle!


lynn June 15, 2015 at 10:13 am

I remind my husband of my preferences, such as that he clean up after himself, and I suppose this is traditionally called ‘nagging’. When I talk to him about it, he says, “You’re my wife. That’s what wives do.” By the way, he is never grumpy!


Paul Byerly June 15, 2015 at 11:31 am

@lynn The problem with “what wives do” is the list of “what husbands do” is a lot smaller than is used to be, while the list for women is not significantly smaller. In fact, we tend to have much larger homes, so this means there’s far more to clean up. So his list is smaller while her’s is larger than in the past.
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lynn June 16, 2015 at 4:17 am

He meant that ‘nagging’ is what wives do, but maybe what you said, too :-)


Paul Byerly June 16, 2015 at 7:53 am

@lynn Ah I see. Might still make a great post idea for the men!


Bryan June 15, 2015 at 10:15 am

In my opinion, I don’t think nagging/complaining applies to something categorized as sin. If it’s a preference, then it’s nagging or complaining. But if it’s reminding me that something I’m doing is a sin or something I said I would/wouldn’t do, then she’s helping keep me honest. That doesn’t mean I always want to hear it, but at least I know she’s doing it out of love and not for some selfish reason.

That’s just me, of course. Feel free to agree or disagree if you like.


Paul Byerly June 15, 2015 at 11:34 am

@Bryan It does depend on how we define things, and each of us defined things to our own advantage.
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libl June 15, 2015 at 12:25 pm

To me, nagging is unproductive nit-picking with the intent to hurt, annoy, or anger.

A nagging wife will make her husband’s life miserable by grumbling every time he enjoys a beer after work simply because she doesn’t like it.

A loving concerned wife may express her upset at her husband drinking to his detriment every time he pops a top on a brewsky.

My DH has a tendency to fall asleep before taking his pills. I wake him and ask him if he did. If it were a non essential multivitamin, that would be nagging, but since it is a matter of not taking the pills could land him in intensive care, I don’t consider it nagging.


Paul Byerly June 15, 2015 at 11:27 am

@libl I should have defined “nag” in the post. Just added it in a comment. In some ways it’s a now win issue:

Reminding me of someting I have forgotten is appreciated.
Reminding me of someting I am trying to ignore is annoying.
Not reminding me of someting I have forgotten could be a reason to complain.

The other side of it is your valid needs. Not feeling you can share your needs is a bad thing, for you and for the marriage. I think many men just wish their wife had fewer needs. (A feeling not uncommon for women too!)
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Paul Byerly June 15, 2015 at 11:09 am

I should have given a definition of “nag” in this post. Google says:

annoy or irritate (a person) with persistent fault-finding or continuous urging
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IntimacySeeker June 15, 2015 at 12:08 pm

I used to feel very defensive when my husband was grumpy (actually, self pity is a better description). I don’t think he was blaming me, but I took on the blame willingly, thinking, “with all I do for him he has the audacity to complain?” Now I am much better at validating his feelings by mirroring them with my words: “oh, that must be really hard to process,” or “I’m sorry you are going through that.” By doing so I am saying, “I care about you and respect your right to experience problems and feel emotions, and believe you have the means to find a solution.”

I might ask whether I can do anything to help, and most times the answer is no. He doesn’t want me to FIX it–he just wants me to HEAR him. (Hmmm….where have we heard that before?) Then I go about my business, which may include leaving the house for awhile.

I’m going to ask my hubby about the nagging thing. I think I do very little of that now. I’m more interested in his overall wellbeing than in what tasks get completed. Assuming nagging is usually about tasks that need doing? This comes with growing up, a grateful heart, generous spirit, resurrection eyes attitude. The grass being a little long or the whiskers not getting wiped out of the sink are miniscule compared to awaking to find all your body parts work and nothing hurts.

I get to choose whether to complain about an uncompleted task or to celebrate God’s gifts. It’s a no-brainer!!!


Paul Byerly June 15, 2015 at 12:58 pm

@IntimacySeeker I think we all want our “suffering” to be acknowledged. The trap, and I’ve been guilty of this, is over stating our suffering just to get sympathy. In general the best response to that is to still give sympathy, but at some point it becomes co-dependent.
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IntimacySeeker June 15, 2015 at 1:30 pm

I agree about the co-dependency. That’s what I was doing when I became defensive about his self pity, taking it on as if it was my responsibility to fix it.

I think if the grumpy or nagging behavior is persistent, a spouse is justified in drawing a boundary. If my husband insisted on sulking, sighing, and such every night when I got home from work, I might fill my evenings with other activities. I can choose my response and I can choose to avoid the situation. A husband might make the same choice by weighing his options: nagging wife or 18 holes? Hmmm…..


Paul Byerly June 16, 2015 at 10:55 am

@IntimacySeeker – It’s certainly human nature to just avoid. It’s also far healthier than what you say you used to do. Ideally a couple discusses the situation and there is change, but that takes both people working on it. Often the spouse does not allow the better choice.
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IntimacySeeker June 19, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Well stated. I think if the avoiding becomes the standard, that is just as problematic as the grumping/nagging becoming the standard. So we need to pay attention to the frequency of our behavior.

In the past, when I would choose to avoid, I did it with anxiety, fear, anger, etc. Now it feels like a healthy option I can choose as a way of taking care of myself. Our sense of calm and wellbeing when we make these choices matters also.

Sometimes when the grumping/nagging spouse realizes their partner is not going to engage in a defensive way, they become open to discussing the problem and seeking a solution.


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