Four Ways You May Be Showing Childish Behavior in a Grown Up Relationship

BY: - 4 Jun '12 | Marriage

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We have all consistently been given information on all that goes into building a healthy relationship. In this day and age couples should really have all the tools and resources needed to be successful in love. If they are not, the couple in the relationship is to blame. In addition to not following the recommendations offered, most individuals are set in their ways and unwilling to change or mature in regards to their relationship. Our childhood and past definitely play a significant role in the adults we’ve become. But with what we’ve learned along the way and what our spouses share with us about their relationship needs, should there really be any excuse when it comes to showing up like a grown up in our marriage?

Those of us who are parents are very familiar with the behavior our children display that quickly sends them straight to the punishment zone. So if a child can’t get away with it, what makes an adult think they can? It is time to take ownership of just how we show up and if there is room and a need for improvement, we must be (at the very least) willing to make changes.

If you recognize any of the below behaviors in your relationship, it is time to grow up.

Pouting when we don’t get our way. This shouldn’t even be an expectation. Our mindset should be focused on giving. There will be times things don’t go our way. No matter how much we beg and plead, certain things weren’t meant to be. With two people in a relationship both have to be satisfied. Coming to terms with the idea it’s not all about one individual is challenging for some but necessary for all. A one sided relationship becomes old really fast. The other spouse will eventually get tired of giving and never receiving. And we all know what happens when one gets tired.

Storming off. We expect children not to know how to handle their anger, but not adults. We’ve had years of practice and there should have been lessons learned along the way putting us in a better position to handle disappointment. Walking away when conversations get uncomfortable is not always the best way to handle a situation. Being a grown up means we have to deal with our emotions in a way that benefits us, our spouse but ultimately the marriage.

Shutting down. Not speaking for days on end after a blow up reminds me of me and my sister growing up. Whenever we were upset with one another, we would stop talking. Our goal would be to make the other jealous by creating new games or appearing to thoroughly enjoy ourselves in the hopes the other would want to play with us so badly they would start speaking to us first. Silly, right? But it made sense because we were children, but as an adult this behavior is neither cute nor funny. It is petty. How could we ever tell our children not to act this way if they see us behaving this way?

No sense of honest reasoning. Willing to do whatever is necessary to prove you are right including not being honest and cutting your spouse off if they are making a valid point are all huge integrity issues. Just think back to your childhood disagreements. It is funny when I think about it. It was important for us to save face and not look foolish in front of others if we were wrong. With children, reputation is everything. But in a grown up love relationship, sometimes pride has to be set aside. There are certain sacrifices we must be willing to make in order maintain a marriage filled with peace and joy. Admitting when we are wrong is one of them.

There were consequences for any of the actions above when we were children. And as you may have guessed they are even more serious as an adult. All of the behaviors above are the easy way to handle frustration, but being honest about our role in the situation and communicating effectively about the challenge are all signs that there are grown ups in the relationship.

BMWK, do you display childish behavior in your grown up relationship?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 630 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit and


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37 WordPress comments on “Four Ways You May Be Showing Childish Behavior in a Grown Up Relationship

  1. Ronnie_bmwk

    Tiya…you just called a lot of us out on our behaviors. Reading this really shows just how childish adults can be!!! I have been guilty of many of those childish actions. The key for me is learning how to communicate better. I can’t assume my spouse knows what I want and then get mad when I don’t get it… It’s been a growth process…but I am getting there.

  2. Tasha

    Wow!! Thanks for calling me out like that!! Lol…it is soo hard to let go of something that you’ve done for most of your life…simply because it HAD been working…now you have to actually act your age!!! Or at least start trying..hopefully it isn’t too late for a change!!

  3. Ashley

    Tiya did you really have to put me out there like that.. you are the walls in my house… lol but 4 real doe.. this is good and really show just how much I have not grown up… thank u Tiya for this cause you really point out that it just not how i am but just the child in me that I need to say bye bye to..

  4. Jennifer

    I know I’m guilty at least one of the behaviors listed, but I’m trying to do better. Great post! Can’t wait to share this with a few friends and family members, both single and attached. We all have room to grow.

  5. Sonja

    Ms. Tiya,

    Thank you! I am also a “shut down” queen. I recently began receiving the BMWK articles and I must say, I forward everyone to my spouse as I find them extremely informative! Keep them coming and thanks a bunch for the great insight!!!!

  6. Kavoi P

    Thanx for the insights and the good work in teaching me some good marriage lessons as I prepare for the ride of my life coming soon. Sure it’ll be beautiful regardless of the many negative vibe going round. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. christina

    This is great information especially for myself who is thinking about getting married in the near future. I myself is guilty of a few of these actions and am now seeing how it can hinder my relationship. Thank you for this great article:)

  8. William

    I’m trying to deal with a situation that I helped cause. The issue was infidelity. I was wrong for what I did and since then I’ve re-dedicated my life over to God. The problem is that my wife can’t let it go. I have no desire to travel down my past road anymore. It seems like the more I try, the more bitter and resentful she becomes. I take full responsibility for my actions, but some would say there’s a reason why things like that happen. There’s no communication, support, intimacy or anything! The same actions that you describe above is what she displays. I’ve been guilty of a few of them too in the past, but I pray that God will cleanse me of my previous ways. How can my marriage survive if she won’t let go of the past? This isn’t something that happens once in awhile. I deal with those behaviors every single day! What do I do? We’ve already been to several counseling sessions with out pastor. It’s like the advice goes in one ear and out the other. I’m frustrated and perplexed! Please help!

  9. JazzyMac

    What?????? @William, you cheated on your wife and you are still married. Until she feels that she can fully trust you again, consider the fact you are still living in the same house a positive step! It really ticks me off how people cheat and then want things to go back to the way they were. It wasn’t her fault you cheated, it was YOUR FAULT. You need to take responsibility for your actions and realize that you put your sexual and reproductive body part into someone else that was not your wife!!!!!

    SMH at the author, things are easier said then done. Just when I’m perusing this page (as a single woman) about how I can benefit from these tips, the poor, injured victim unfaithful spouse rears his ugly head about how mean his wife is acting just because he cheated.

    I have been approached by SO MANY married men. MOST do not even admit they are married until they are cornered (cornered after lying multiple times), and some talk so badly about their wives (and mother of their children) one would think the wives are Satan’s Spawn.

    I think displaying childish behavior is better than displaying court, legal, divorce behavior until the situation rectifies. Until then, you need to do any and everything possible to fix your marriage!

    That is the way the world is today. No accepting responsibility or consequences for your actions, then getting hurt about it.

  10. Shu-Shu

    I am a single woman in my late 20’s. For the past month, I’ve been through deep reflection on why I am still single. I’ve finally come to realize that I am partly to blame due to poor attitude and communication.

    Reading this article, I could only nod in agreement. I’ve experienced about 2 of this traits repeatedly in past relationships. As the author stated. “that gets old”.

    Thank you BMWK for the articles. With your support and guidance I will continue as needed my journey of self-love and preparation to being a good wife.

  11. Hunnicutt

    I’m very guilty of all of these and my most shameful childish behavior is shutting down. I’ve missed a lot of good recovery opportunities and still enjoying time with my significant other because I refuse to let things go and transition from an argument. Thanks for the article Sis, it’ll make me remember to do better.

  12. Tayyibah A

    Ok; thanks for calling us childish adults out. Solutions, suggestions and remedies for more grown up communicating skills please (and thank you) ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Tiya

      Start with the end result in mind. Meaning if you want a situation to end peacefully, go into that conversation with that goal, choose words that match that goal. Also, when communicating be mindful of your intentions. Before you speak ask yourself “what am I up to” with your words and actions and ask “is it going to benefit or hurt my relationship” Keep those ideas in mind and communicate accordingly.

  13. Darlene Young

    I have a hubbie that is as sweet as pie …however he can not stop looking at women..Its not just a look and keep going it a double take and maybe a triple matter where we are it never stops..I realise a man is a man but I do have feelings and no matter how hard I try to ignore it.. it never stops. If I mention it he will lie and lie and lie..I see the same thing he sees cause Im right there with him and he will never ever admit it..sometime I give him a little nudge to bring him back and its always …”whats wrong baby” or did I do something wrong?There may come a time when hes getting his “peep on” and he turns his head back to me and I WONT BE THERE.. Im I being childish?? I know I said he was sweet but that is if we arent out and about..Its like hes an all together different person…signed Confused

  14. Aisha

    i need help. I need you to drop by my house to do an intervention…NO LOL…I’m serious. Please send more information via email. I love your articles.

  15. Alyssa

    I got into a big fight with my ex after I found out he didn’t tell me about all the girls he was sleeping with. Even though they werent relationships, I stilll felt he could have been completely honest with me about it and we could have went from there. I would have had more respect for him, but I lost it after I found out I was lied on and too. I didnt want to treat him they way I did and I even went back to apologize but he didnt want to hear it and has completely cut me off. I did throw my shoe at him so….. Oh well… lying is a big bridge burner for me..especially if I care about you

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VIDEO: Miss Too Independent – You May Not Be Wife Material

BY: - 5 Jun '12 | Marriage

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This video was submitted to us and we had to share it. In this emotional video Dr. Antoinette Smith explains to the independent ladies that they might not be wife material. She shares her personal story and how despite having all of the material indicators of success she didn’t have the characteristics necessary for being a wife.

From YouTube:

Dr. Smith gets personal and has a discussion with independent, career-focused women (both married and unmarried). The road map to transitioning from an old mindset to wifely material is available in her book – “You’re More Than What Meets The Eye…The Independent Woman’s Guide to Becoming Wifely Material.”

I love how she talks about the fact that marriage has truly upgraded her. Check the video out below and let us know what you think in the comment section.

About the author

BMWK Staff wrote 1231 articles on this blog.

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