Many people tend to nag their spouse. Often, they don’t recognize how harmful it can be to the marriage. Psychological studies have shown that nagging doesn’t work and it certainly isn’t helpful for either partner. There are many misconceptions about nagging that cause people to continue nagging their partner, even when they aren’t getting results.
What constitutes nagging? Nagging is when you make repeated requests of your partner to do something. For instance, asking your spouse to do the laundry three separate times. It can also include reminding your spouse to do things. For example, “remember to iron your shirt before you leave today,” can be considered nagging. Nagging can include things such as pestering, urging, lecturing and demanding your partner to do things.
Nagging can be harmful to your marriage. Yet, many people are guilty of nagging their partner in at least one area of their marriage, rather it be the household chores, finances, or parenting. In fact, many people think that nagging is helpful to their spouse and to their marriage based on their misconceptions about nagging. Here are some of the most common misconceptions:
If My Partner Loved Me, He’d do What I Ask
Love doesn’t mean your partner is obligated to everything you ask. You didn’t marry a robot. You married a human being who has real feelings and needs. Repeating your requests over and over again doesn’t show your love for your partner any more than your partner’s lack of completing the task shows his love for you. Don’t read too much into your partner’s behaviors. If you ask him to take the trash out three times in an hour and he still doesn’t make a move to do it, don’t start jumping to conclusion about his feelings for you.
If I Keep Asking, He’ll Eventually Do It
If nagging was effective, you wouldn’t have to do it. It would mean that your partner would hurry to finish a task before you could even finish asking. Clearly, nagging doesn’t lead to positive results. In fact, the opposite can be true. Sometimes people are less likely to do something when they are repeatedly asked. Most people don’t like to be told what to do and they can become defiant when they are pestered or ordered to do something.
My Partner Needs Reminders from Me
Although your partner may be forgetful or absent-minded at times, nagging isn’t going to help. Instead, it is healthier to help your partner become more organized, if necessary. Your spouse can learn to set reminders, keep lists, and work toward being more responsible. It is imperative that your spouse not be dependent on you for reminders in life. Otherwise, there will likely be more problems down the road if your spouse is dependent on you.
Nagging can make your spouse become less responsible. It can also set up a dynamic where the person who does the nagging tends to treat the other person like a child. Feeling like you are married to an irresponsible teenager is not going to lead to a healthy and happy marriage. It is important that you treat your partner like a responsible adult if you want him to act like one.
Nagging Doesn’t Hurt Our Marriage
Many people think that nagging is harmless. However, it is very damaging to a relationship. In fact, some studies have pointed to nagging as the number one complaint of husbands and husbands have cited it for the main reason for filing for divorce.
Nagging can lead to your spouse feeling criticized. It can cause a lot of anger and resentment over time as well. It also interferes with your ability to have positive, quality time with your spouse.
What to Do About Nagging
If you aren’t sure if you are guilty of nagging your partner, ask if your partner feels nagged. It’s possible that you aren’t aware that your partner is feeling nagged. If you know you tend to nag your partner or your spouse nags you, it is important to address this issue as soon as possible. Have a conversation and try to work together on developing a plan to decrease nagging. Brainstorm possible solutions that the two of you can use to ensure that you can stop the cycle that leads to nagging and relationship problems.
If you aren’t able to stop this cycle, consider marriage counseling. Sometimes people think marriage counseling is only reserved for “big” problems. However, nagging can take a toll on a marriage over time. It can slowly cause a marriage to deteriorate so don’t hesitate to seek treatment.