Help! My Spouse is a Know-It-All. What Can I Do About It?


So let’s say your spouse acts like a “know-it-all” in certain situations. What can you do about it?

When you’re married to someone for a long time, certain parts of their personality can feel challenging. We all have imperfections and traits that may clash with others. Some of those traits make social interactions more difficult than they should be. If your spouse tends to behave like a know-it-all, you have probably felt this discomfort.

You can’t change your spouse’s behavior, but there are some things you can do to encourage improvement. One of the greatest gifts of marriage is that we can help one another to become better people. We can speak into one another, helping each other to see areas where we can improve. In this case, you have an opportunity to guide your spouse toward greater self-awareness.

When Does Your Spouse Act Like a Know-It-All?

First, when does your spouse tend to act like a know-it-all? Does this happen all the time, or just with friends or family? Do they engage in these behaviors at home, or just when you’re out together?

If they’re a know-it-all both at home and in social situations, this may just be an aspect of their personality. But if your spouse acts differently with friends or family than they do with you, that’s a sign there may be something deeper going on. In that case, your spouse may be feeling insecure around certain people.

Understand Where Your Spouse is Coming From

People who act like know-it-alls often struggle with insecurity. They may take on this persona in social situations in order to impress others. Ultimately, they want to be seen in a certain way – maybe as knowledgeable or helpful. Somewhere along the way, your spouse may have started to believe that being “the one with all the answers” got them the acceptance they craved.

Create Positive Reinforcement of Your Own

So let’s say social acceptance reinforced your spouse’s know-it-all behavior. You could offer them some positive reinforcement of your own. They may be looking for love, reassurance, and acceptance, so make sure you’re giving them that at home.

You can also gently reassure your spouse in the aftermath of a social gathering. Clearly, your spouse is excited to share interesting information with others. If it’s appropriate, you may want to acknowledge that.

Be intentional with how you handle this conversation. You want to look for a window of opportunity to bring this topic up. Consider starting out with something like, “You know, you don’t have to be ‘put on’ with others for them to like you. You’re not like that when it’s just the two of us. I don’t need you to know everything; besides, who you are without that persona is my favorite.”

Let Your Spouse Experience the Natural Consequences

Unfortunately, some habits and behaviors – like being a know-it-all – carry social consequences. People aren’t drawn into conversations with know-it-alls. In fact, they tend to avoid those interactions. Pay attention to how your friends and family respond to your spouse.

Again, it’s not possible to change a behavior for someone else. Continue to show unconditional love to your spouse. Whenever possible, remind them how much you love the real them.

Does your relationship with your spouse feel challenging? Our book, High-Maintenance Relationships, could help. It’s a guide to navigating relationships that require a bit of extra energy to maintain. If that sounds like you, take a look and order your copy here.

Now, we want to hear from you. Does your spouse have a challenging habit, like being a know-it-all? How do you navigate it together? Leave us a comment and let us know.

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