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.

How Can a Grumpy Husband Stop Grumbling? - Part 3 Grumpy Husbands [Video]

Play Arrow
Watch Intro Video

Get Humble, Don’t Grumble

I am not arguing that you lack discernment about the dishonor and injustice that smacks you across the face. You know what you know. Many of you fall just below genius on the IQ scale. You assess things brilliantly in your complaint, however you react like a grumpy old man. Is this what you want written on your epitaph: "Born a Genius, Grumpy by Choice”? Here’s what I recommend, and this is your choice: recognize the three negative results that come from your grumbling.

  1. Grumbling does not make you feel better. It actually makes you feel worse in the long term. Grumbling prevents you from discovering a solution that enables you to move forward in spite of the injustice and dishonor you feel. What good does it do to feel good temporarily after grumbling if it keeps you in the same miserable condition?
  1. Grumbling does not invite empathy, but rather just the opposite. Grumblers push caring people away. Not only do people say, “I couldn’t care less about your complaint,” but they see you as the reason for your perennial problems. Your crotchety personality pokes people in the eye, so they stomp on your toes in retaliation. Others hear you grumble about your broken toes, but they know full well you put your finger in the other person’s eye. Grumblers act like bullies and gain little empathy.
  1. Grumbling does not motivate God to do what He “should" do, nor does it motivate Him to do what He “shouldn’t" do. The grumbler must remember that he is not God. God is God. Humble trust and obedience does not guarantee God will do what we want; but all things being equal, if you were God, to whom would you respond? Would you respond to the grumpy believer who knows Him but shakes his fist at what he doesn’t understand, or to the grateful believer who knows God and entrusts himself to Him in the face of what he doesn’t understand?

When a Husband Is Not Humble, He Undermines His Marital Relationship 

I point out this information about grumbling because it is a major reason the grumpy man has marital problems. He misses the heart of his wife. She tries to live in peace with this man, but he makes this next to impossible. She reaches out to him to connect and applies the respect to him, but he pushes her away. I ask you, is she really just trying to make peace with you?

About her parents’ marriage a woman once wrote, "Mom was always trying to keep an atmosphere of peace despite my dad's continual distant and grumpy tone. He was a truck driver, so he was gone a lot of time, and when he was home...he was never emotionally connected to us kids. He was home but never ‘home.’ Our whole emotional stability was based on whether dad was ‘grumpy.'”

She then describes her own husband who manifested the same grumpy mood. "He works nights and is in bed all day. Like dad, he is home...but he is not ‘home.’ His tone is grumpy and feisty a lot...My emotions are tied around his...or how I 'perceive' them to be." 

Another wife writes, "My husband is a commercial pilot and travels a lot. He will go two weeks without texting or calling and come home like nothing happened. This morning, I got up at 4:30 a.m. to go to the gym. I asked him if he wanted to come. He said no. So I leaned down and kissed him on the cheek, and he grumbled and rolled away." If this is you, I ask you, is she really just trying to reach out to you?

A man of honor must ask himself if this statement could come from his wife: "I am respecting my husband and doing for him as I would for God. But being spiritually single, I am the only one doing this. He is mean and selfish and irritable. All. The. Time. Since he is not willing to practice the actions from which those feelings can later flow, I am doubting that he will ever be able to get there. I prayed that my actions would be received by him in such a way as to cause him to soften. The opposite has happened." I ask you to consider this: Is she praying and trying to respect you?

The good news is that, when a husband sees that he has been unfair and dishonoring to her (far more than she seeks to be unfair and dishonoring to him), he gets humble. He recognizes that he has been the pot calling the kettle black. This humility changes everything. Read what happened to two husbands in particular. 

A Husband’s Humble Action and Confession

The wife I quoted as saying that she wanted to leave her grumpy husband found her husband making a decision to stop his grumpiness. She says, "At that point my husband stepped down from the Diaconate and teaching Sunday school class to address what was going on in the marriage. He was so humble and gentle, and he actually, for the first time ever, pursued tapes to watch. Through his humility, I was drawn back to him."

A husband once said to his wife, "I don’t know how to communicate that I need your help, so I just get grumpy and quiet. I just can’t figure out how to communicate...but sometimes I feel disrespected (even though I know you are trying very hard to show me how much you love and respect me). And as soon as I start feeling that way, I realize you start feeling unloved (even though I love you more than I could ever communicate). All I know is I love you, and I want you to feel my love for you. I’m disappointed in myself for not finding a way to deal with my issues in a way that allows you to feel as good about yourself as I do."

This man committed to stopping his grumbling based on Philippians 2:14. He told me, “Philippians 2:14 is hard, I know. But when we accept the responsibility as men to become a cultivator for our marriages, we must be vigilant to keep ourselves from grumbling and complaining."

While I was attending Wheaton College, I would periodically visit the Pacific Garden Mission in downtown Chicago, even preaching there one evening. With hundreds of men and a few women from the streets gathering together in the place where they still have the big sign “Jesus Saves,” fights were known to break out. Sure enough, two men duked it out one night. The leader of the mission immediately went to the platform and invited all to sing, "Grumble on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Grumble on Thursday too. Grumble on Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Grumble the whole week through.” 

I never forgot that scene and the point he made: there are habitual grumblers. Without question, each guy felt he was unjustly treated and dishonored. That always proves to be the case. We kept singing while they were ushered out. The rest of the lyrics go like this:

In country town or city

Some people can be found

Who spend their lives in grumbling

At everything around

Oh yes, they always grumble

No matter what we say

For these are chronic grumblers

And they grumble night and day

They grumble in the city

They grumble on the farm

They grumble at their neighbors

They think it is no harm

They grumble when it’s raining

They grumble when it’s dry

They grumble all the year round

Yes, They grumble till they die

At the home of David and Barbara Green, leaders of Hobby Lobby, there is a plaque hanging on a wall that reads, “Get saved and get over it.” In other words, after we come to Christ, we need to put some issues behind us. Applying that slogan here, we must not let past injustices and disrespect keep us in a negative, complaining, and grumbling state. Jesus saves. Get over it. "Do all things without grumbling."

In part 4, we will discuss how a wife can deal with a grumpy husband. Until then, I would invite you to reflect on the following questions.

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

Questions to Consider

  1. How can a topic like grumbling be discussed without shaming the man?
  2. What good does it do for a man to temporarily feel better after grumbling if it undermines his credibility with other people and really doesn’t make him happy in the long term? 
  3. How do you feel about the fact that grumbling does not invite empathy but rather the opposite?
  4. If you were God, how would you respond to grumbling?
  5. Are most wives just trying to make peace with their husband by reaching out to him, or even showing him respect? How should a husband respond to such a wife?
  6. Why might a man who grumbles find it hard to ask his wife for help on what bothers him? Why is it difficult for him to humble himself at such moments? Does he feel a responsibility to carry his own burdens without worrying her?