Relationship Management Skills on Nagging

Couples experience stress-related arguments that may be due to finances, outside influences, and unmet expectations. Instead of finding acceptable outlets for stress or developing coping skills for anxiety or relationship management skills, spouses tend to personalize pent-up emotions toward each other and eventually become a recipient of unspent anger and frustration through nagging.

Nagging is defined as the bothersome, annoying, incessant, irritating fault finding or voicing of unmet expectations or tasks that need to be done. It takes the form of verbal reminders, requests, and pleas said in a number of different ways repeatedly.

For years, this has been a problem between men and women and some would want to end the relationship just to escape the feeling of being under constant pressure. Through time, women have earned the reputation of being the “nagger” and men the recipient of the nagging. However, there are some cases were the roles are reversed. Male nagging is not discussed as much, but it is prevalent in long-term relationships. Men tend to nag about different kinds of issues, and in ways that are a little less ripe for parody.

People nag because they do not feel that they are being heard or their words are just taken for granted. They mistakenly believe that getting loud or being repetitive will help them get through to the person whose attention they want.

If you have asked your spouse to help you do something, and your spouse cannot get around to doing it, nagging is NEVER going to help. If the undone task you have asked is so vital that it risks your health or your financial good name, you may need to do it yourself. Performing this task may mean that you need to eliminate a task of lesser priority. It is important to keep this balance and to share with your spouse the necessity of jostling your responsibilities.

In some days, no matter how great our intentions may be we just cannot get some things done. Make sure that your spouse gets the most forgiveness, kindness and understanding you can muster. Always give your spouse the opportunity to save face. To avoid arguments, rather than dropping offhand comments and complaints, arrange to talk calmly and deliberately about the issue and look for agreement and understanding. There must be an atmosphere conducive to expressing opinions and ideas without recrimination and retaliation. Find the root cause of the problem. Sometimes goals and expectations are not met because of lack of communication. It is important that couples clearly express the goals and expectations set for the relationship. These goals and expectations must be specific, achievable and time-measured. Once a discussion is over, it is over. Respect each other's opinion and one must not leave feeling disparaged. While it is not possible to agree with your spouse on every situation, it is possible to allow expressing each point of view without fear of reprisal.

The hardest part of being a nag is that you are probably right about the issues you keep bringing up. Talk without shouting. Raised voices can cause a person to immediately become defensive and may shut down emotions and stop listening to get away from an unpleasant situation. Shouting may cause a person either to have a low self-esteem or to lash out in angry retaliation that would escalate the conflict. You are not just talking to hear your head rattle but you are trying to make your home and your life run more smoothly. As with most things in married life, it is not what you say but HOW you say it. Take a breath and think about your tone of voice before you speak. When you speak with loving concern, your questions are likely to generate a positive, non-defensive response.

When you find a situation difficult to handle it may be therapeutic to communicate your feelings with a trusted family member or friend. Never feel like it is too late to get marriage counseling. Counseling will help each spouse to learn relationship management skills and effective communication skills to improve the relationship.

1 comment:

  1. These are all really good points!

    As a relationship expert (, I would like to add that couples need to know that conflicts are bound to happen. But here's the good news: there are skills they can learn so that they can handle them better. When they do, their partnerships fare much better. I offer a free teleseminar, "The 7 Tools to Manage Conflict Communication in Your Relationship." To hear it, go to: