One of the oldest marriage tips out there is to not nag your spouse. It’s tried and true – nag your spouse, and you won’t have a happy married life. I always had an idea of what nagging was. I also had an image of what a nagging wife situation looked like, and it wasn’t mine. But then I realized that nagging is just complaining. Nagging is complaining with no resolution in mind. Nagging is complaining for the sake of letting the other person know you aren’t happy. Nagging is absolutely an ingredient in the recipe for an unhappy marriage. And I was nagging.
I realized I had been nagging my husband for months without realizing it. When I didn’t like something he did, I pointed it out and complained about it – regardless of how big or small it may have seemed. Every time he left his shoes in the living room, left a mess on the kitchen counter or forgot to pick up dirty clothes, I was there to let him know. Instead of collecting all these things that bothered and talking through them with him, I just complained whenever he did them. There was no resolution in sight. He acted, I complained. Repeat.
After realizing I had morphed into a nagging wife, I knew I had to stop. I finally understood what it meant to pick your battles, which is another excellent piece of marriage advice. I wasn’t a miserable person. I wasn’t trying to bring my husband down. I just wasn’t happy with the effort I was getting from my husband, so I suppose my response was to nag. But, if one spouse isn’t happy for whatever reason, it can create an unhappy marriage.
How I Stopped Nagging My Husband
I talked with my husband about my unintentional nagging. As we were discussing it, he said all my complaining made him feel like I wouldn’t be happy with anything he did. He said I’d be unhappy regardless, so he didn’t really know what to do anymore. And since I wouldn’t be pleased either way, it made him less motivated to do things around the house. Sadly, I was making my husband feel inadequate without realizing it.
Duh, makes sense! It’s just like when your mom told you not to hang out with that bad guy, which made you feel more inclined to do so. I was constantly complaining, hoping my husband would fix the issues, but instead, it made him not want to try.
So, we discussed which actions of mine annoyed him and those of his that annoyed me. We discussed why they bothered us, even if the reason was silly. And, then we agreed to make a genuine, conscious effort to get better at those things. Fast forward a couple years later, and for the most part, that approach was successful. When we’re not holding feelings back, we’re much happier. There are, of course, times we both slip, and we have to remind each other.
If I begin to slip into nagging wife syndrome, I quickly see the nagging as a cry for help. If I’m nagging, it means something is bothering me, and I’m not communicating it. It means I won’t be happy until I communicate that thought to my husband. So, when I catch myself nagging, I start the conversation by saying, “Hey, I have to tell you something.”
An emotional, awkward or completely normal conversation later, I have all the heart eyes for my husband again.
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