“8 Do’s and Don’ts Of Dealing With A Grumpy Spouse”!

Is there anyone out there in readerland who has now, or has had in the past, a “grumpy spouse”? I didn’t think so, cuz I sure have not! Yet there are still some of those folks around. I know that because I see them in my office and occasionally run into them socially when my radar detector has not seen them coming!

At any rate I feel compelled to share this topic with you, in part to remind myself to not bring a “grumpy” face to my beloved Sherry. Jessica Dysart wrote an article with the above listed title. I share her eight with added thoughts of my own.

  1. DO: IDENTIFY THE REASON: It is a question worth asking – delicately.  Once you know the reason you, hopefully, can find the appropriate way to handle this uncomfortable situation. If this “grumpy” person persists for a while, it might be wise to see a therapist who can understand and help eradicate such a downer way of life.
  2. DON’T: TAKE IT PERSONALLY: Never get caught up in taking things personally from the git-go. When you observe the grumpy demeanor make a comment like this, “I see that you’re in a bad mood. Would you like to talk about it or would you prefer that I leave you alone?” If it turns out that you are the reason for the grumpiness, try not to get defensive. Stay engaged to try and understand the whole situation and then problem solve constructively.
  3. DO: USE HUMOR: Sometimes humor can be helpful. Oftentimes it can be harmful and make things worse. Be sure you know what you are doing here. If there is some tried and true humor that has a history of success, go for it. Personally I’m not a big fan of this. When I’m in a grumpy mood (rare as it may be J) I want to be left alone.
  4. DON’T: PUT THEM DOWN: Criticism, put downs, name calling, etc… don’t work! They just exacerbate the situation. Like I said before, if your spouse’s grumpy behavior persists longer than what you can handle, get some professional help.
  5. DO: TALK THE RIGHT WAY: Talking about the bad day or current bad mood may help – if the spouse is inclined to talk about it. If not, back off. And, if your spouse does want to talk, find out if you are to just listen or become a co-problem solver. Don’t attempt to “fix” the situation unless requested.
  6. DON’T: CONFRONT THEM (in the wrong way): Style is important here. Your words, tone of voice and body language can be huge turn offs and make the situation uglier. Come across caring and supportive, not combative or accusatory. Saying “what’s got into you” is a huge no-no!
  7. DON’T: LET IT AFFECT YOU: A spouse’s grumpiness can be infectious and transferable. Keep your emotional cool. Don’t make it your problem. Detach emotionally, and perhaps physically for a short time.
  8. DO: KNOW WHAT WORKS: Over time spouses get to know each other and determine the best way to deal with certain behaviors of the other. Once you have found a formula that works with some consistency, stay with it. Each individual relationship is unique and the appropriate successful style needs to be repeated. Hopefully the grumpy spouse goes there less and less in part because his/her loving spouse has read these tips and implements them, along with loving hugs of appreciation for the non grumpy days!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

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