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How to Deal With an Immature Spouse: 7 Tips

Your husband swept you off your feet with his charm and wit. You loved his spontaneity and unconventionality. However, three years and one child later you have discovered that while he may be fun, your partner is not very mature. He cannot keep a job for more than a few months, he doesn't do any work around the house, and he thinks that his only responsibility to your child is to make sure he has a good time. You are tired of your husband not pulling his weight. You feel like you have two children instead of one child and a husband.

Being married to someone who is immature can be very disheartening. However, if each spouse is willing to change, most couples are able to work things out. Through hard work and commitment you can learn to deal with an immature spouse.

If you find yourself trying to deal with an immature husband or wife, take heart. There are things you can do to better the situation. The following is a list of ideas from Victor Cline's How to Make a Good Marriage Great that may help you in dealing with your immature partner.

1. Make a commitment.
If both you and your spouse have decided to try to work things out in your marriage, make a commitment to see it through. Change is hard and painful. Working through your problems will not be easy. In order for things to work you both must have a commitment to stick with it to the end.

2. Define what behavior needs to be changed.
You need to sit down with your spouse and define what behaviors are most offensive and need to be changed. Be very specific and clear in your expectations. Make sure you pick things that actually can be changed. Write down your ideas.

3. Work on one thing at a time.
Don't expect your partner to change everything at once. Pick one behavior to start with and work on it until it is changed before moving on to the next thing. This will help your partner to not be overwhelmed. Also, the changes will be more permanent if they are more gradual.

4. Have other interests.
It is important to have some other interests outside of your relationship with your partner. No marriage, no matter how good it is, can provide everything you need. Have balance in your life, and encourage your spouse to do the same.

5. Have a support system.
Make sure you have support when things get tough. This can consist of friends, family members, or an organized support group. You can't get through this alone.

6. Seek outside help if needed.
This may be a problem that you and your spouse can't solve on your own. If you are not making any headway, be willing to seek outside help. A counselor or neutral third party can do wonders.

7. Take time to enjoy each other.
It is important to take some time out where you and your spouse can enjoy one another. A marriage should be joyful. Go out and do something you both enjoy. Use humor to lighten up hard situations. Make sure that you take the time to just have fun together.


Cline, V.B. (1996). How to Make a Good Marriage Great. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft.

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