Relationship Advice: How to Prevent Nagging

March 6, 2012 by

In my past blogs, I shared relationship advice on how to recognize the factors that contribute to a pattern of nagging and negative communication in a marriage. As a Portland marriage counselor, this is one of the most common problems I see couples struggling with. Acknowledging the issue is an important first step, but then both partners must take action to change their behavior in order to develop a healthier way of communicating.

Relationship Advice: Tips to Stop Nagging

Stay calm. You both know this is a problem and want to address it. Anger, frustration, and resentment get in the way of communication, so if you’re feeling worked up, take a step away from the situation.

Understand your partner’s perspective. Is your partner feeling ignored and unloved when you don’t respond to requests? Do your constant reminders make your spouse feel like you don’t appreciate what he or she is contributing?

Avoid “you” statements. Instead of making it an accusation, phrase it as a request. For example, instead of “You never take out the trash,” try saying “I would appreciate it if you could take out the trash tomorrow.”

Explain why. Your partner may not understand your reasons for making a request, so take the time to share why it’s important to you. For example, your spouse may not realize how much of an inconvenience it is for you to deal with a broken appliance every day.

Establish a time frame. Find out what schedule works best for your spouse to complete the task. As the nagger, you may need to respect that this schedule may be different than what you’d like. And the naggee will need to be honest and then follow through with this timeline in order to build trust with their spouse.

Hire outside help. Is your spouse not keeping up with the housework? Does the yard always look a mess? Maybe the problem is that you don’t have time to handle these chores.

The key to getting past nagging is trust, respect, and patience. If you are struggling to get past nagging and other negative communication patterns, I encourage you to seek relationship advice from a Portland marriage counselor.