The Vicious Cycle of Nagging
Nagging can become a vicious cycle. The more you nag, the more your mate avoids you or withdraws both emotionally and physically from you, so the more you nag.
Is this really how you want to live?
Why Nagging Doesn’t Work
- Even though your gripes may be valid, nagging makes your spouse resentful.
- Nagging makes your spouse defensive.
- Nagging puts you in the parent role, and your spouse in the child role. This isn’t healthy for your marriage relationship.
- Nagging is disrespectful.
- Nagging is often perceived as criticism, so your spouse may tune out making what you are saying ineffective.
- When your spouse is being nagged, he/she probably feels attacked personally.
- Nagging can make your spouse feel inadequate.
Ways to Avoid Being a Nag
- Don’t blame.
- Don’t demean.
- Don’t attack.
- Don’t criticize.
- Avoid making your spouse feel stupid.
- Don’t give in to your frustration and do your spouse’s chores. Your mate needs to learn to deal with the logical consequences of being messy.
Instead of Nagging, Try Positive Approaches
- Share your feelings.
- Stick to the issue at hand.
- Keep your statements brief so they don’t turn into long lectures.
- Don’t make ultimatums.
- Avoid using the phrases, "You always…" and "You never…"
- Consider saying "would you" or "will you" rather than "could you" or "can you". There’s a subtle difference in the way the request will be heard by your spouse.
- Set a good example in picking up after yourself, putting your clothes away or in the hamper, leaving the bathroom is good shape after your shower or bath, eating healthy foods, exercising, etc.
- Try to brainstorm solutions with your spouse.
- Acknowledge your different perspectives regarding chores and housekeeping expectations.
- Show your appreciation when your spouse does put dishes in the dishwasher, or picks up a towel, turns off the television to take a walk with you, or when dirty clothes end up in the hamper.
- See what happens if you stop nagging.
If you are the One Being Nagged
- Accept your responsibility in helping to create a home environment that has triggered a nagging response in your spouse.
- Honestly evaluate your attitude about chores, picking up after yourself, annoying habits, and more.
- Ask yourself if you have a pattern of avoidance when it comes to chores or other issues.
- If you ignore your mate’s requests or refuse to even acknowledge that you heard what your spouse has said to you, stop this behavior. Really try to listen and to respond to your spouse. It is okay to say no. At least your spouse will know you heard what was said.