Is your spouse a grump?

That can be so frustrating. Even when their grumpiness might be valid and stemming from real-life stress, chronic pain, or maybe feeling stuck in a miserable job or situation, it can still bring down the mood of everyone in the house. But, before you lose hope, there are some things you can do that might help improve their grumpiness or, at the very least, help them manage better for the time being.

For starters…

don’t take it personally. More often than not, their grumpiness has nothing to do with you. It’s much more likely due to something else in their life. It could also be as simple as a rough car ride home or a hard day with the kids after school. Long story short, their mood isn’t always about you.

Next, let’s assume their grumpy attitude comes from something hard in their life. Think briefly about how you would like to be treated if something hard happened to you. It’s with empathy, isn’t it? That’s right; a good first rule of thumb is to start with empathy. Tell them you’re sorry they’re struggling or having a bad day. Show them some understanding and validation by acknowledging that something hard is going on. Being heard and understood are longings we all have; once we receive them, we often feel better.

But, if their grumpiness goes beyond that, you must communicate effectively with them. This is where you don’t try to fix their problem, but you don’t react to it by letting it affect you, either. Ask questions; find out the details of what is happening; lean in and listen and see if there is any way you can help or support them. 


it’s time to set boundaries when dealing with a chronic grump. When empathy, listening, and good communication don’t work, it’s not okay for their mood to just take the house hostage. This is when you get to share with them how their grumpiness impacts you and the family and that you’re happy to help them through a challenging time, but they will need to find an outlet before consistently bringing a negative mood into the house. 

God tells us to do all things without grumbling and complaining (Phil 2:14-16), and when we allow our spouse to live out their lives in Grumpville, we’re not helping them become who God wants them to be. It’s okay to have our moods affected from time to time by hard things, but it’s not okay to consistently walk with a negative attitude all the time. 

Let’s recap:

  • Don’t take their mood personally
  • Start with empathy first
  • Communicate effectively
  • Set boundaries

Your marriage deserves some joy, and it’s ok not to settle for grumpiness! If you want to learn more about how to deal with a grumpy spouse, check out episode 97 of the Expedition Marriage podcast, How to Deal With a Grumpy Spouse.