Marriage Problems: Why Nagging Happens – Part 1

February 17, 2012 by

Nagging isn’t always taken as seriously as other marriage problems, but it is a major contributor to conflict and unhappiness in many relationships. It occurs when one partner makes a request repeatedly, such as completing a household repair, while the other partner repeatedly ignores it, leaving both partners annoyed and frustrated from the interaction.

Marriage Problems: Why Does Nagging Become a Pattern?

Even though the end result makes both partners unhappy, nagging can become a pattern of communication for many couples. So why do we do it if it makes us miserable? You may believe that your partner won’t follow through on your request, so you keep making the request. As a result, your partner gets tired of hearing about it and start to withhold, which of course only makes you nag more!

A study in the Journal of Family Psychology showed that couples who became unhappy five years into their marriage had a roughly 20% increase in negative communication patterns consistent with nagging, and a 12% decrease in positive communication. Over time, nagging can lead to fighting and even divorce if the couple doesn’t find a healthier way of communicating.

The good news is that these marriage problems can be fixed, but first you must recognize the problem behavior in order to address it. In my next blog, I’ll discuss further the causes behind nagging. If you are struggling with nagging in your relationship, I encourage you to seek help by working with a Portland relationship counselor to learn better communication skills.