How to Stop and Avoid Being a Nagging Wife
One of the most frustrating things about men is that they will promise to do something they have no intention of doing. He says that he will repair the pipe, but he doesn't get around to it. In the meantime, you have to wait, because you don't know how to do it, and he will get angry if you call a repair company.
Your only option, it seems, is to remind him. Again and again, you remind him, and he continues to ignore your request. He tunes you out and avoids being around you. You feel like you have to become the enforcer of his promises, and it turns you into a nag.
You don't like being a nag, and he certainly doesn't like being nagged, so what can you do to avoid being a nagging wife?
One thing women tend to do once one thing is done is to move on to the next thing that needs to be completed. What this means to the man, though, is that once he has done something for you, you simply give him something else to do. There is no reward for accomplishing a task; rather it is almost a punishment.
All people like to be thanked and appreciated for the work that they have done. Just like dogs and other animals are easier to train with positive reinforcement, so do humans. Be sure to say thank you, and express how having this item completed will affect your life in a positive way. In this way, he knows that his contribution is acknowledged, valued and important. Giving him a reward, like pie or sex will show him that good things happen when he does what you ask.
You may feel that your own work isn't appreciated and taken for granted, but the goal here is to get him to do the work without having to nag him. It isn't about whether he shows appreciation for your efforts. Besides, by showing your man how to properly show appreciation, you may find that he will learn how to show appreciation to you as well.
Note that this isn't simply about paying lip service to appreciation. Many of the women I talk to easily complain about the things their husbands don't do, and downplay the things that their husbands do for them. "Yeah, he filled up the gas tank, but he was driving by the gas station anyway. But he never ..." It might be helpful for you to make a list of the things he does that you appreciate and post it. This way, he will know that you appreciate what he does, and the list will serve as a reminder for you the next time you think he never does anything.
Fairness and Respect
Make sure that when you need something to be done, you ask your husband nicely to do it. Do not make it a demand or a command. Ask him if he is willing to do it and make sure you set a reasonable time frame for him to do it. Don't expect him to drop everything he is doing to do your bidding unless there is an emergency.
Since you have delegated the task, he should be able to do it the way he wants to do it. Do not micromanage and expect him to do it exactly the way you would have done it. One of the requirements of an independent contractor is that the employer tells the contractor what needs to be done, and gives them the time frames and other parameters. Then, the contractor is given the leeway to do the job according to these parameters. Think of your husband as an independent contractor instead of an employee. He is not your employee, and should not be treated as such.
Don't expect perfection from him. We have a tendency to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and imperfections, and get angry when our spouses make mistakes or are imperfect. There are times we leave things undone. We have to be forgiving when our spouses leave things undone as well. Be more forgiving.
Also, remember that he has other things he wants to do. Make sure that you allow him the time to do those things as well. If you ask him to do something, remember the other things you have asked him to do as well. Sometimes we forget that the reason he didn't do this thing for us, is because we asked him to do something else.
Get his Agreement
Proper communication is a must in any marriage. You want to work things out for a lifetime so you do not have to fight these battles every day. Don't ask him to do something when he is busy watching a game or occupied.
Better yet, sit down with your husband and work out a game plan. Divide up the chores. Maybe there is a chore he does not like, and you are willing to switch with him. Maybe you can decide together to get a maid or get a repair company to fix something.
Putting things in writing is a great way to make sure you both agree on the terms. Put the chore on a written to-do list that is posted on the refrigerator. Alternatively, you may schedule it and put it on a calendar. That way, you can mark off some spaces that are free for him to spend as he wishes.
Come up with a schedule of when things will be done. If he promises to fix the sink by Sunday, don't say anything more about it until Monday. It is his responsibility, and you want to avoid being the enforcer. If doesn't do it by Monday and doesn't give you a new time frame, then on Tuesday you are free to call a repairman.
Don't Expect Him to Read Your Mind
If you ask him to go to the grocery store and buy milk, don't get mad because he bought 2% instead of skim milk. If you don't specify your preference, he has a right to make the choice. He shouldn't be required to remember, simply because you have been buying skim for the last twenty years. He simply isn't that observant. Tell him nicely that from now on he should buy skim. Just to be sure, make sure you write "skim milk" on the grocery list from now on.
Accept No for an Answer
If he doesn't want to do something, and tells you so, then accept no for an answer. You might get mad in the short run, but isn't that better than having the thing drag on and on undone? This doesn't mean he can push all his chores on you. Ask him to do something else while you take responsibility to get the thing done. You can do it yourself or hire someone to finish the task.
Getting Your Husband to Do Things Without Nagging
As a summary, here are some bullet points to remember so you can avoid nagging:
- ask nicely
- communicate clearly, and not when the game is on
- write it down
- let him do it his way
- bribery and appreciation works
By treating your husband respectfully as another responsible adult in your household, you can avoid nagging him, and develop a closer relationship with him.
© 2012 Shasta Matova
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