Monday, July 18, 2011


Marion Pellicano Ambrose

He leaves the toilet seat up, she leaves makeup all over the counter. He never keeps his promise to help with the laundry; she constantly cheats on her diet and then complains about being fat. If these are some of the things that are happening at your house, then odds are one or both of you may find yourself turning into a nag.
According to the free online dictionary ( ) the definition of nagging is:
v. nagged, nag·ging, nags
1. To annoy by constant scolding, complaining, or urging.
2. To torment persistently, as with anxiety or pain.
1. To scold, complain, or find fault constantly: nagging at the children.
2. To be a constant source of anxiety or annoyance: The half-remembered quotation nagged at my mind.
One who nags.

When your spouse or significant other falls short of your expectations, your response may be to remind, scold, complain, and whine. Why do we think that doing these things will make the other person want to do what we want?  Let’s face it, the more you nag, the less likely a person is to do whatever you are nagging them to do! Nagging just doesn’t work!  Not only that, but it can become a vicious cycle. You nag; your partner withdraws so you nag even more. This is unhealthy for any relationship.

Think of how nagging affects your partner. It makes him or her resentful and defensive. It makes you seem like the parent and your partner the child. That’s both insulting and degrading for your partner. When you nag, you’re voicing criticism and disapproval. That can make anyone feel inadequate and like he or she is being attacked personally.

How do you get out of this cycle of nagging? First, try not to use words like “You should…” or “You never…” Try asking instead of telling. “Honey, would you please …” or “Will you…”  Don’t try to manipulate or make your partner feel lazy or stupid. Make sure your tone and words are not such that your partner will take it as an attack. Never lecture or bring up past events. Try sharing your feelings without blame or accusation. Make sure you are following through on your responsibilities and promises if you expect the same of your partner.
Finally, show appreciation when your partner does those things you would have nagged him or her about. Compliment them, smile, give a hug or kiss to show you notice. Remember what grandma used to say: “You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Your partner will be much more likely to do whatever the task is consistently without nagging and with a little appreciation for a job well done.

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