Become a member and gain unlimited access to content, courses, and webinars.
The Love & Respect



Unlimited Access To All Our Content

Inside The Love & Respect Membership

  • Love & Respect and 10 Week Study ($149 value)
  • 13 Online Courses With More Coming!
  • Access over 775+ Articles
  • Weekly Podcast - 145+ Episodes
  • Ask Emerson Videos - 60+
  • Collections - Curated Topics For You
  • Webinars Throughout The Year
and more to come...
Return to the homepage
Image duration icon
min read
Oops! Something went wrong.

A Lighthearted Description of a Grumbling Husband - Part 1 Grumpy Husbands [Video]

Play Arrow
Watch Intro Video

A wife shared, “I woke up grumpy today. He wasn’t happy about it.”

I have seen wall hangings that say, “A Lovely Lady and a Grumpy Old Man Live Here.”

Many wives struggle with the grumpy husband, but who is this grumpy old man? He is a miserable, irritable, unsociable, and moody geezer. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau famously portrayed these traits in the 1993 classic film Grumpy Old Men. They were two crusty curmudgeons who had aged disgracefully.

The only time the grumbler smiles is when he receives a senior discount. He is the type of man who says, “I had fun once, and it was awful.” One such fellow had a life-or-death surgery. The doctor resuscitated the old codger who came out of the anesthesia quite crotchety. The doctor said, “He is still very critical."

When does such a grumpy old man first show signs of “irritable scowl syndrome”? He shows evidence of being terminally cantankerous early in life, not just when he turns seventy. Typically, several years into his marriage the rumblings of the grumblings commence. I saw a T-shirt for young men that said, “Grumpy Old Man in Training.” Inklings of Ebenezer Scrooge and the humbug mind-set are seen at the daybreak of his career when his main word is “bah!” among other synonyms I can’t quote lest I violate my G-rating. Some even argue his grumpiness came to him in childhood when as an unwanted child his own mother couldn’t stand him and left.

The Definition of a Grumbling and Grumpy Husband

A husband who grumbles gives off an air of complaint or protest about almost everything in an ill-tempered and muted way. Without much talking, he displays a scowling spirit. A grumpy husband is constantly in a slightly angry mood because he feels annoyed or tired.

He feels his grumbling is justified. Actually, he would not see himself as grumbling, but rather showing his righteous indignation toward those who are mistreating him. He erroneously concludes, “I am unfairly treated by unfriendly people!” He claims he is ill-treated when the truth is he is at fault. He is bad-tempered and sulky, which sparks the negative reactions of others.

As a husband, when he reads Ephesians 5:33, which commands a husband to love and a wife to respect, he states, “Yep, that’s the problem. She is disrespectful.” He does not see himself as unloving. When he does admit he is unloving, his wife caused it by being disrespectful. As he sees it, he’d not be crabby and snappish if she just obeyed the Bible. As God sees it, he needs to obey Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without grumbling."

In the Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Grumpy is one of the dwarfs along with Happy, Bashful, and others. As people watch the cartoons, they say to themselves, “I know someone like Grumpy.” The grumpy trait is all too common. He is short-tempered, impatient, rebellious, pessimistic, stubborn, sarcastic, rude, cross, grouchy, critical, gruff, suspicious, easily disgusted, and opposed to change. Other than these things, he is a wonderful dinner guest!

Fault Finding: A Connection with Grumpiness

As for the grumbler, the closest he comes to owning up to his grouchy demeanor is when he says, “Don’t bug me. I am grumpy.” Commonly, he sees others as causing the muttering and moaning. He places the blame for his unhappiness squarely on their shoulders. His mind-set is, "If only the kids stayed off my grass, I’d be happy." He wouldn’t be miserable if people didn’t cause him to be miserable. He wouldn’t be irritable if people didn’t irritate him. As Jude 1:16 says, "These are grumblers, finding fault…”

A wife told me once, "One day, I went to the Christian bookstore and bought tabs for all our Bibles. I bought one for everyone, including my husband. He did not know I bought it for everyone, so when I gave him his he was cold, distant, and mad at me. I found out later he took it as an insult that I was suggesting he didn’t know his Bible well enough.” This wife had described her husband as a grumbler, and this served as an example of why he shows such irritability. I appeal to every husband, as men of honor, to rightly discern the facts. Wrongly assuming disrespect and condescension is certain to create mood swings, anger, and grumpiness.

Truly, the grumbler feels others are at fault and are treating him unjustly. They treat him unfairly and dishonorably, and grumbling comes on the heels of perceived injustice.
Jesus addressed this when He spoke a parable about those who agreed to work all day for a set wage, but when the landowner paid the same amount to the person who only worked the last hour, “they grumbled at the landowner” (Matthew 20:11-12).

One man describing a fellow worker captures the sense of injustice that the grumbler feels. “One of my crew is not too approachable. When he is asked to do a task that is well within his job, he complains and grumbles that he has no time or is busy with other things.” In other words, it is unfair and he is being inconvenienced.

Likewise a wife shares, "I truly look forward to my husband someday seeing that we are not all out to get him. He thinks this about me and his children. He thinks our 3-year-old is out to get him and disrespects him because she was trying to help, but did it in the wrong way, which only managed to make him grumpy and frustrated. When I lovingly come to him and say, ‘Honey, she was only trying to help you and please you, do you need to get so grumpy and speak so harshly with her because of it,’ he then gets mad at me and says I am undermining him and disrespecting him." His grumbling declares his indignation over people out to get him. He proclaims, “I am unfairly treated by unfriendly people!" He does not view himself as bad-tempered and sulky, which sparks the mistreatment. Bottom line, he finds fault with others as disrespectful, not that he is unloving.

In part 2, we will talk about the negative things that happen when a husband grumbles, but for now, take some time to consider the following questions.

Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

Questions to Consider

  1. I believe many people misunderstand a man who grumbles. Most often he is very sensitive to issues of injustice and dishonor. Do you agree? Why?
  2. I believe many grumblers are good-willed men who would die for their families, and their grumbling really does not represent their willingness to sacrifice their very lives. Why do you agree or disagree with me?
  3. Some grumblers have no intention of upsetting others but grumble for a short burst as a way of releasing their frustration in order to feel better. Do you agree or differ?
  4. Some men grumble to gain empathy from others and wish that others understood their frustrations. Does this ring true or false to you?
  5. How do you feel about the fact that some wives feel as though they must walk on eggshells around a man who grumbles?
  6. Have you considered what the Bible says about grumbling? What have you discovered from your meditations?
  7. Sometimes a grumbler is upset with the Lord. To what extent does He respond favorably to our grumbling?