I may not be amazing at a lot of traditional “wife” tasks. I don’t like cooking or baking, I don’t decorate our home for holidays, I detest running household errands, yada yada yada. But if there’s one area that I excel, it’s in the nagging department. My husband has told me multiple times that I have never nagged him. Ever. And yet, he still manages to finish all of the tasks that I don’t nag him to complete. Want to know how I do it? How to stop nagging and still get the help you need from your spouse? Here’s what works for me!
Stop Nagging Using Kindness
- Remember his strengths. It’s easy when we’re worn out and frustrated to focus on all of our husband’s less desirable traits. But before you bring up his honey do list and all of the ways he’s failing at it, take a moment to remember all of the things you love about him. Is he a fantastic father? Does he work hard to provide for your family? Does he make you laugh? If we lose sight of the good in someone, we’re going to approach any topic all wrong.
- Speak to his strengths. If someone never commended you on your strengths, and constantly reminded you of all the areas in which you were failing, how would you feel about that person? Would you be looking for ways to help and support them? Our natural response is usually to shut down and stop trying. And I don’t mean saying, “You’re an amazing father. Now if only you could walk your dishes to the sink!” Regularly compliment your husband’s strengths with no strings or requests attached.
Stop Nagging Using Consideration
- Avoid generalizing. What’s the difference between asking, (a) “Can you please take out the trash?” and (b) “You always say you’ll take out the trash, but you never do…could you actually do it this time?” The first is a request, the second is an attack. Chances are good that he has taken out the trash before, so the second approach dismisses everything he has done in the past. And even if he’s truly never taken out the trash, the second approach would still put anyone on the defense, which isn’t helpful for either of you.
- Consider your timing. When your husband is tired or stressed, or is in the middle of something else, adding another request is going to feel much more overwhelming to him than it would otherwise. We know that feeling, right? As I’m writing this post, my husband is battling his sixth day of the flu, and I’m fighting a bad cold while acting as the sole caregiver for our 2-year-old, who just transitioned to a big girl bed last week. And is still transitioning. Jesus, take the wheeeeeel! So receiving an email that our AT&T bill is about to go up, and knowing that I have to make a phone call while feeling awful, makes me want to cry. Had I received that email on a better day, it would still be annoying (let’s be honest!), but it wouldn’t feel like as big of a deal. Being patient and considering your timing makes a huge difference!
Want to take a deeper dive? Download our free ebook! It goes into greater detail, and leads you through a few activities to help make it stick! It also provides a handy worksheet to organize and prioritize your honey-do list, so you know where to focus your efforts without overwhelming your spouse. Get it HERE!
Stop Nagging Using Patience
- Don’t bring up 20 needs at once! I know it’s hard not to bring up the whole list. (You know we have a list!) But again, listing 20 things that need completed is likely going to overwhelm your spouse. Choose the task that’s most important, or has the most pressing deadline, and focus on that one task.
- Space your requests apart. Once one task is done, if at all possible, wait a few days before bringing up the next item on your list. Nothing takes the wind out of your sails quite like hearing, “Thanks for completing this task. I know you’re feeling accomplished! But now I need you to do something else.” Let them bask in their honey do glory for a few days before moving on.
- Offer to complete the task yourself, or to help. Marriage takes teamwork! And using words like “we” instead of “you” makes it feel more like a team effort, rather than a taskmaster and her worker. I even offer to do the things that I know my husband will yell “Please don’t!” to before I even finish the offer. Because even though we both know I’m horrible at putting together furniture, I want him to know that I’m there to help and support his efforts in any way I can.
- Practice patience. Now you might have caught on by now that if you take this approach, you likely won’t be checking everything off your to-do list within a few days. But the payoff is that your husband likely won’t consider your requests as nagging, and you’ll feel more like a teammate than a manager. In fact, my husband shared with me (as we chatted about this post) that it’s because I don’t constantly nag him, that he is acutely aware of the things that need done around our house, and wants to do those things to help me out.
Wrap It Up
And so, it’s quite possible to stop nagging your spouse and still get the help that you need from them. Remember and speak to his strengths, avoid generalizing, and consider the timing of your request. Ask for one task at a time, space them out, offer to help, and practice patience.
Believe me, I understand the frustrating mental load we often carry as wives, keeping track of everything that needs to be done for our family and home. But by offering our husbands kindness, consideration, and patience, we can still get the help we need, but without the attitude. Or with less attitude. Because let’s be honest. Try it out today!
P.S. Want to take a deeper dive? Download our free ebook! It goes into greater detail, and leads you through a few activities to help make it stick! It also provides a handy worksheet to organize and prioritize your honey-do list, so you know where to focus your efforts without overwhelming your spouse. Sign up here:
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