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Selfishness in Marriage how not to be selfish spouse overcome Behavior

From our experience, selfishness in marriage is the first behavior that needs to go when you get married because selfishness will hinder you from becoming ONE with your spouse.

In this article, we will share the obvious signs of selfish behavior in marriage, it’s negative effects, and how not to be so selfish in your marriage. This way, you can become the selfless spouse your relationship needs to thrive and succeed.

That being said, whenever we used the word selfishness or selfish, we mean to only care for what’s good for yourself, getting as much as you want, and giving as little as you can. In other words, it’s all about you!

Now, let’s get started.

We are all selfish before marriage

The fact of the matter is, that when you are a single unmarried person you only have one person to think about, yourself. Humans are naturally selfish individuals.

What you want to eat, places to visit, the music you listen to in the car, how to spend your money, when you did laundry, cleaned your dishes, etc. are all things you most likely didn’t have to consider anyone else’s opinion or needs for.

Your needs and wants have come first, and that is a natural response for survival! Who else will take care of these needs for you after you become an independent single adult?

Thinking of your needs and standing up for what your morals are is not selfish, it's what makes you who you are.Click To Tweet

But it all changes after marriage

The “Single Life” mindset and behavior you had prior to marriage has to change because you are no longer single. Specifically, you are married to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, your equal partner.

The person who will prepare chicken soup for you when you lay on a sick-bed (hopefully). The person you will share your deepest joys and sorrows with.

After we got married all those “I” statements were changed to “we” or “us“. We had to put each other’s needs above our wants.

We had to learn to compromise our music styles in the car, our food choices. We had to agree on how to budget the money earned, what we spent it on, how much to save etc.

Putting the other person’s needs before our wants wasn’t an easy process, however, that’s what we agreed to do when we got married.

Taking in to account your partner’s needs and desires it important to merge your lives and compromise on solutions that work for both of you.

Our personal examples of selfish behavior in marriage


Before marriage, I was always thinking about how I would survive until we got married. And then I had to change that mentality to how we will survive.

It was not an easy shift, it took me a while to adjust to married life and this new way of thinking.


I never knew how selfish I was until we got married. If you would ask anyone who knew me before then I think they would tell you I was a very giving person and not selfish at all.

For example, I spent money on my wants as well as needs, quite frivolously. I would change plans at the drop of a hat, and show up to an event or friends house, or they would drop by.

Then, after we got married, money was tight. I had to learn how to budget and stick to what we agreed. I also had to learn to consider my introverted husband in my plans before I said “yes” accepting an invite.

I had to start thinking about how the things I did affected both of us.

The obvious signs of selfish behavior in marriage


Believe it all has to be about you.

Think you are better than your spouse.

Only care about yourself and your happiness.

Are controlling.

Don’t like to give or share with your spouse. (E.g. Giving praise.)

Find it difficult to compromise.

Blame your spouse for everything that goes wrong in your marriage.

Realize forgiving others is difficult for you, consider yourself as being selfish.

⇒ You think your spouse’s feelings matter less than yours.

Feel as if you are competing with your spouse.


Do you have any of these selfish behaviors or beliefs? If yes, then it’s time to start working on yourself to become less selfish in your marriage.

Further down this article, we will show you things you can do to eventually stop being a selfish spouse. Plus an example of a common selfish behavior many couples face that relates to money.

But first, let’s look at the negative impacts of selfishness in marriage.

The harmful effects of selfishness in marriage

There are many damaging effects of selfishness in marriage, the ones we share below is what quickly comes to mind for us:

It creates hurt feelings, disrespect, and resentment in the marriage.

It causes communication issues and brings unwanted stress.

It escalates small solvable and trivial problems into heated arguments.

It affects your happiness in marriage.

It prevents you from thinking the best about your spouse and marriage.

It prevents a couple from growing together in marriage.

It prevents the building of trust and loyalty in marriage.

You won’t grow, and your marriage will become stagnant.

We were both selfish when we started out…

During our first year of marriage, dealing with selfishness was one of the first struggles we experienced together.

More importantly, it was one of the essential marriage lessons we had to learn even before learning how to communicate effectively with each other.

Simply because, in order for us to properly communicate, we had to put the “I” aside and so we could listen to each other, the “WE.”

In fact, trying to understand each other’s point of view (empathetic listening) is a selfless thing to do.

So how do you become selfless, instead of selfish in your marriage?

You can achieve this by denying that little voice inside of you that says:

But I want my way right now!

I don’t want to wait ….so I will hide it from my spouse.

I don’t want to compromise.

That’s too uncomfortable!

Their feelings don’t matter!

Yes, it sounds very immature when it’s written out so clearly.

Let us clarify, we are not saying your husband or wife has to deny your actual needs. Rather, you should both learn to put each other’s needs above your wants.

If you both practice the above statement and take turns when it comes to certain things, then it should be a match made in heaven!

How to overcome selfishness in marriage

Dealing with a selfish spouse can be extremely difficult. But have you thought about the number of times you have been a selfish spouse?

Sometimes one spouse’s decision to become selfless provides the other spouse with an opportunity to stop being a selfish spouse. Below are 6 things you can do to overcome selfishness in your marriage.

1. Be responsible, and admit that you are selfish.

This is hard to accept, but once you know it, its easier to overcome selfishness.

Remember, it’s part of who we are.

2. Communicate with your spouse about your selfish behavior.

Find a balance where you can compromise and take turns on who gets to pick what.

Express when you feel your spouse is being unfair with “I” statements. “I don’t feel heard with this decision.” OR “I know you are not doing this to hurt me, but when you X, I feel Y”

This simple practice will help you to build a strong foundation and set a great pattern for the marriage you both desire.

3. Change your mindset.

Understand that you are now one. Anything you do directly affect’s each other’s lives and your marriage.

Start thinking as “WE,” not “I.

Here’s a good question to ask yourself, “Is this what is best for both of us, rather than just me?”

4. Be patient.

It takes time and effort to change from being selfish to selfless so be patient.

5. Don’t blame your spouse for everything they do.

Stop being competitive with each other.

You are a team.

So work on how you can bring out the best in each other.

6. Serve your spouse.

How can you help your spouse today? What service can you do to make your spouse’s life easier today?

Maybe it’s washing the dishes, folding the laundry, or taking the garbage even though it’s not your turn to do it.

More importantly, make a difference in their life today!

[How strong is your marriage? Take the quiz.]

A simple way to become a selfless spouse in marriage

As you already know, money plays a huge role in our lives and can be the reason why you have selfish behaviors. So spend some time to review the root cause of all your money problems this week, if not today.

For example:

Do you want to spend more money on your wants instead of the needs of your home?

Do you feel you deserve more “spending dollars” or have a “bigger say” on how money is spent because you are the sole/higher earner in your marriage?

Are you hiding the inheritance, the extra bonus you received at work, or the extra spending from your recent shopping trip from your spouse?

Simply answering the questions above is a great way to start working on overcoming selfishness in your marriage and opening up communication. Because your answers will tell you whether you are being selfish or not. Is it all about you?

Next, share your answers and thoughts about the questions with your spouse. Have a conversation, and create an action plan to ensure your selfish behavior with money or whatever topic can stop.

If needed, create a monthly budget to track your income and expenses together, even if you don’t have joint bank accounts.

By successfully practicing how to not be selfish with money, you will be able to start changing your selfish behaviors. Your mindset will change from always thinking about “Me” to “Us”.

Remember you can’t change anyone but yourself

So work on you and keep the communication channel open with your spouse about what you’re learning.

Improve yourself, and if you are in a happy and healthy relationship your spouse will follow suit.

Thinking of your needs and standing up for what your morals are is not selfish, it’s what makes you who you are.

You also have to stand up for your actual needs like time alone. Otherwise, you are creating a very unhealthy relationship where you deny yourself completely and will lose yourself.

Self-care is not selfish.

Final thoughts

To become selfless and not selfish in your marriage, start by denying that little voice inside you that says, “I should have everything I want, when I want it, and how I want it.”

Then start working on yourself by applying everything you have learned in this article, so you can improve yourself and become a better spouse.

Because the fact is this:

Your marriage will not be healthy if you are a selfish spouse.

Your turn

Can you give examples of how you overcame selfishness in marriage?


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Selfishness in Marriage: How to Overcome Your Selfish Behavior to Become a Selfless Spouse