What is a wife to do if she finds that she is married to a selfish husband? Here is a little practical advice on the subject.
Recognize that the Problem is Not Necessarily about You
In my book on anger, Angry Without a Cause, I take the time to talk about how selfishness is no respecter of persons. That is, selfish people are inconsiderate toward anyone that would pose a threat to them getting what they want. Therefore, it should be understood that the problem with your husband’s obsession with himself has nothing to do with your looks, waistline, sexual performance, or appearance. Honestly, it has everything to do with the fact that he uses people in general as a means to his own end.
Honestly, this is one of the number one mistakes that I see women making. In other words, they often take it personal that their husbands are more into themselves than them. However, we must understand that a selfish husband will overlook the needs of anyone, including God (I John 4:20), if he feels he can get away with it.
This is all important for this very reason: you will fail to react in an appropriate manner if your self-esteem is too attached to the matter.
People that have too much at stake in a relationship make decisions that hurt the relationship rather than help it. And, if your self-esteem as well as your self-worth are dependent upon your husbands treatment of you, then you will fail to be able to respond in a way that is kind, loving, and unconditional in nature.
Respond in an Adult-like Manner
I often say that marriage has a way of making the most sophisticated of adults act like little children. When this occurs, both the husband and wife typically fail to learn from their mistakes, and they stay in what I call a middle-school mentality when it comes to relationships.
It is more than vital for a wife that is married to a selfish husband to play her part in raising the relationship to the next level. If she simply responds with anger, malice, coldness, and resentment, she will do little to help this process. In fact, by responding in a negative manner, she will only help to retard any potential growth in the relationship. This is all covered in our marriage book called How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting with One Another.
Isolate His Negative Behavior
When dealing with conflict, I find it to be extremely important to isolate the negative behavior and misguided thinking of the other person. If this does not occur, then typically the other person will persist in their error.
It is human nature to see the error in others before we see it in ourselves. This is why Christ taught in Matthew 7:3-6 the following:
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
For this reason, I have found it to be more than important to isolate the negative behavior of a person that is in error by doing the following:
1. Watch my tone of voice
2. Show acts of love before trying to reason (This is covered in our marriage video called the Top Mistake Couples Make in a Fight)
3. Error to the side of caution in my actions so they do not have a reason to stop their ears at my counsel or advice
4. Wait and then wait some more before responding to them.
5. Do not talk to them when they are emotionally charged (This is taught in our marriage book, How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting With One Another, in chapter 4.)