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Are You Mean to Your Spouse?

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Couple arguing over remote control
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Often, when we're cranky or in a foul mood, we take it out on those we love the most. Sometimes, we feel as though we can use our loved ones like a punching bag. So, our boss makes us angry and rather than tell him how we feel, we go home and explode on our husband just because he forgot to take out the garbage. Or we really do get angry with our spouse - maybe she doesn't want to go to your parents house for Thanksgiving or pick up the dry cleaning - and we get bitter and cruel.

Many times, we might not even realize what we're doing. That's dangerous because being mean to your spouse will degrade your relationship. If left unchecked, it could even lead to separation or divorce. Noticing your behavior is half the battle, so here are signs that you're being mean to your spouse:

You lose your temper.

Anyone who starts screaming over something, such as what to watch on TV or the dishes sitting in the sink, is being mean. Do you find yourself getting angry at the drop of a hat? Then, do you start to yell and scream or feel like ripping out your hair - or someone else's? There is no reason to go on a rampage, even in your own home, over small things. If you're losing your temper easily, you have to try and figure out why. What is causing you to be on edge like this? How can you change this behavior? If you can't change the behavior on your own, you need to consider professional help. Recognize that if you're always letting off steam, your spouse might be the one getting burned.

You call him or her names.

Name calling is a big error that many spouses make. Try to catch yourself doing this, stop, and apologize right away. Sometimes, it just comes out. It can happen to the best of us. But it can really hurt your spouse's feelings and cause a rift between the two of you. As hard as it may be to look yourself in the mirror and admit to the name calling, you need to do it. Name calling can be a form of abuse, and you don't want to go down that road.

You deny him or her sex.

Denying sex is often used as a way of persuading spouses to do something you want. But this will only backfire on you. Aside from alienating your spouse, you could mess with your sex life. If you have a healthy and pleasurable sex life, you want to avoid denying your spouse sex. He or she might not be keen on sex again after you lift the ban. Even if you get what you want - whatever it was that motivated you to deny sex in the first place - you will have to pay in the form of relationship trouble. You should never do anything that gets in the way of developing intimacy with your spouse.

You ignore his or her feelings and ideas.

Paying no attention to your spouse is almost as bad as calling him or her names. The cornerstone of a strong relationship is communication. To communicate well, you have to be able to express yourself. But, more importantly, you have to be able to listen. That means you can not ignore your spouse. Cutting off communication, even and sometimes especially when you are angry, is a mistake. It sends the wrong message. It tells your spouse that saving face and winning an argument are more important than considering his or her feelings. Your spouse's feelings - his or her happiness - should always be among your top priorities.

You favor other people.

When you get married, you're promising to make your spouse the most important person in your life, next to yourself. If you are worrying about what friends or family think or need ahead of your spouse's thoughts and needs, then you're breaking your vows. Even though you should not abandon your loved ones just because you have committed to the person you love, you do have to make your spouse number one. Favoring others over your spouse can cause lots of arguments. No one wants to be taken for granted or forgotten. So, be sure to always put your spouse on the top of your priority list.

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