An article in yesterday’s “Wall Street Journal” billed nagging as “The Marriage Killer.” I think I’ll tell my husband to read it. In fact, I may tell him several times.
In all seriousness, nagging—making repeated requests for the same thing, and the repeated ignoring of said requests—is a serious problem in many unions. The Journal article suggests several methods for escaping the cycle; here are a couple more:
Make your case with irrefutable evidence—and a sense of humor—once. One Reno husband had continuously promised his wife that he would put away his recently washed laundry. Three days later, that same laundry was still strewn about the bedroom. Rather than make the third request in as many days, his wife took him by the hand and led him to the bedroom. Once there, she had him face the pile of laundry. “This,” she said, “is how nice wives become nags.” The husband stared at the laundry for a moment, then admitted defeat; she was right. He put the laundry away that night, chucking the whole time.
Pay in advance. In an earlier article, I suggested giving a backrub as a way to interrupt an argument, on the premise that touch can often communicate our love better than words. This time, try an unrequested backrub (or foot massage, etc.) as advance payment for whatever you are requesting. After about 15 minutes, just about the time your spouse has turned to putty in your hands, you lean forward and say, “I hope you liked the backrub. It is advance payment for the favor you are about to do . . . “ Then you smile really sweetly and remind her to finish the project that is spread out on the dining room table, or look up the information you need to pass along to your insurance company.
If the chore still does not get done, well, at least you have shared a good 15 minutes before the arguing starts, right?