How to stop nagging
“Wash the dishes!” “Take out the trash!” “Make the bed!” The constant nagging is sure to drive your partner mad, it will drive him or her away and hurts intimacy. Find out how to stop nagging and communicate effectively instead.
In recent news, a Taiwanese man staged a robbery so that he could go to jail to avoid his nagging wife. This is an extreme case, but to prevent your relationship from becoming unbearable, the first step is to recognize if you have become a nagging wife or husband.
Who is a nag?
Not many people realize that they nag. To you, it may seem like you’re just giving your partner a helpful reminder because he/she keeps forgetting things.
In your mind, that is not considered being a nagging wife or husband. However, the definition of a nag lies with the person who is on the receiving end.
A simple reminder borders on nagging when the partner feels like he/she is under a verbal attack. So keep your phrasing and tone of voice in mind when you’re delivering a reminder.
"Nagging takes the form of verbal reminders, requests, and pleas," says Michele Weiner-Davis, a marriage and family therapist.
"You can say it in a number of different ways, but when you say it in a number of different ways over and over again, that constitutes nagging."
Why nagging won’t work
Nagging can turn into a crazy self-defeating cycle. Though you may good reasons to nag, your partner still has not heard what you’re saying.
However, experts say that going on and on about it is not going to help. It will instead make your partner resentful and defensive, bringing out the fight-flight mode that will create distance in a relationship, both physically and emotionally.
Nagging can also bring up a lot of negative emotions such as disapproval, anger, irritation, agitation and condemnation between both partners.
Making a change
You should learn how to communicate what you want properly. Begin by calmly stating what was said or done and how you feel about it.
The partners of people who nag also have to share some of the responsibility in improving the lines of communication in the relationship.
"Start out by doing what your spouse is asking to you to do -- that might nip it in the bud," says Weiner-Davis.
"Another alternative would be for the person who is getting nagged to avoid getting angry or nasty, which doesn't work well. Instead, have a heart-to-heart about what it feels like to be constantly hounded about something, but in a loving way, instead of a defending way."
If these tips fail, or when nagging consumes a relationship, therapy might help.
"Try a marriage education class," says Weiner-Davis.
"Or find a good marriage counsellor -- anything that will help you find better means of communicating."
Life beyond nagging
“Good relationships are based on mutual care taking,” says Weiner-Davis.
"You really have to look out for your spouse. You have to put your spouse's needs before your own -- and that might mean doing something you're not really crazy about doing. And when you have to nag, that's a sign mutual care-taking is not happening."
Whether it's finding new ways to communicate, or seeking help from a therapist, nagging can be avoided.
"The key is finding alternative ways to reach your goals, and being more productive and more loving," says Weiner-Davis.
What do you when your partner nags at you? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.