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June 21, 2023

Causes & Effects Of Selfishness In Marriage

Causes & Effects Of Selfishness In Marriage


Underlying Causes of Selfishness

There are always reasons why people behave as they do, though those reasons are only sometimes apparent. In attempting to understand your own behavior or that of your spouse, consider some of the causes listed below.Selfish blog body



This is obviously too broad of a topic to be covered in this blog; however, being aware of traumatic experiences from childhood can help you understand selfish behavior. If a child cannot trust anyone except themselves, they will often look out for themselves first. Abuse or abandonment will usually result in selfish behavior as well. Healing childhood wounds is the simple answer to the problem, but it is not easy.


“I just want some time for myself,” is what a selfish person will say, even though they may have a spouse working just as hard as they are. They want to escape parenting and household responsibilities.


Men may display chauvinistic behaviors because of training and the influence of their peers. On the other hand, women may still want to be the “princess” who gets what she wants and is pampered regardless of the family budget. Both types of stereotypical behaviors are rooted in selfishness and damage a marriage.


Studies have shown that marital satisfaction dips after the birth of a child. One or both parents may give so much to the child that they neglect their spouse. The “daddy’s girl” may get daddy’s attention and affection because it rewards him for lavishing it on her. Likewise, the “momma’s boy” may become the man in the mother’s life because he thinks she can do no wrong and validates her.


Negative Effects of Selfishness in Marriage

Selfishness has detrimental effects on your marriage, a fact your spouse may be oblivious to. As a result, you may experience the following effects:


Both emotional and physical distance are the consequences of selfishness in a marriage. When a selfish spouse is more concerned with their comfort, needs, plans, etc. than their partner’s, hurt is the result. When someone is hurt, it is only natural to pull away from the source of that pain – in this case, their spouse. They begin to clam up and shut down emotionally because vulnerability means manipulation. Physical affection and closeness are a casualty as well. No healthy person wants to be used solely for someone else’s pleasure.


Too often, the “non-selfish” spouse suffers from feelings of inferiority. They buy into the criticism and neglect of their spouse, whose approval they desperately want. Since they never get it, they wonder whether they are good enough for their partner. These feelings of not being worthy or good enough then affect every area of their life, leading to self-doubt at work or in social situations.


When the “non-selfish” partner has had enough of being ignored, manipulated, and uncared for, they will often bottle up hurt and anger. These pent-up emotions will seep into every interaction and create conflict and misunderstanding. Slowly over the months and years, the marriage begins to crumble. Looking to others to meet needs only a spouse should meet is a typical result. Divorce is frequently a result as well. For some, living under the same roof, but having separate lives, is the course that is taken.

If you want to know more about how we can help you build a strong marriage, please get in touch with me at Cliff@LoveRecon.org or call 866-218-1716. You may also visit our website, www.LoveRecon.org, for testimonials and information.

About the author 

Cliff Poe

Cliff Poe is Founder and Lead Coach for Recon Coaching. He and his wife, Jeani, are Master Coaches and their passion is to help individuals and couples form healthy, lasting and satisfying relationships. Cliff has a M.Div. in pastoral counseling and ministry. He enjoys writing and coaching as well as his family which includes 2 adult kids and their spouses, 6 grandchildren and a fur family composed of a Golden Retriever and a Mackerel Tabby.

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