Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Marriage Communication: Nagging Doesn't Work - Heather Long

Nagging doesn't work - no matter how well intentioned you are or how frustrated you may be - just nagging your spouse about chores, bills, responsibilities or whatever it is you are wanting them to do - well, it doesn't work. Now, before you tell me that when you constantly remind them to do something, they do in fact do it - this makes your form of nagging successful, let me counter that with this question:

If you didn't nag them the next time, would they remember?

Chances are, once you've created the cycle where you remind your spouse to do something repeatedly, they won't necessarily remember on their own unless you continue to pester them about it. At the same time, your spouse may begin to withdraw, resent and deliberately avoid doing the very thing you want them to do and you will end up doing what?

That's right - nagging some more.

Nagging Doesn't Work

I don't think I can say this enough, nagging doesn't work and the following is part of the reason why it doesn't. Do you know what nagging is? When you look up nagging on the net, you get the following definitions:
  • Continual gnawing at the bars of a cage
  • Shrewish: continually complaining or fault finding; "a shrewish wife"; "nagging parents"
I can't imagine a spouse out there who wants to be associated with either of those definitions. Nagging makes your spouse defensive and resentful. Nagging defeats the validity of any argument you may or may not have. Nagging is horribly disrespectful and it casts you as the parent to your spouse as the child and negates the concept of being equals and partners.

It's important to remember, that even if you don't think you are nagging - your spouse may perceive that you are and that's as large a problem as if you were actually nagging. So avoid nagging and the next time your spouse asks you to stop nagging them - take a very deep breath and think hard on what you've been saying or doing.

Whether they are right or wrong, if they have the perception that you have been nagging - apologize to them and seek a better way to communicate your thoughts, feelings and needs. You'll both be happier.

Have you ever nagged your spouse or been nagged by them?

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