Isn’t it wonderfully comforting to read an article about other people’s problems and realize that you’re not alone? That’s how my wife and I felt when we saw The Wall Street Journal article this week with the sensational headline, “Meet the Marriage Killer.” The subhead: “It’s More Common Than Adultery and Potentially As Toxic, So Why Is It So Hard to Stop Nagging?”
“Nagging — the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request, the other person repeatedly ignores it and both become increasingly annoyed — is an issue every couple will grapple with at some point,” the article wisely observes.
Interestingly, the article says that “women are more likely to nag” — not because it’s something they want to do, but “largely because they are conditioned to feel more responsible for managing home and family life.” Yup.
Fortunately for me, the nagging doesn’t usually involve essential tasks such as paying bills. Instead, I’m more likely to ignore requests that I deem not urgent, such as ordering prints of digital photos.
But, of course — as Stephen Covey famously pointed out in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” — a non-urgent task can still be important. Also, just because something isn’t important or urgent to one spouse doesn’t mean the other spouse feels the same way.
If any relationship is going to thrive, then each person needs to respect the other person’s perspective. Which sometimes means: Accommodate the request so the nagging will stop so everyone will be happier.
Are you on the giving or receiving end of nagging? Have you found ways to eliminate (or, at least, reduce) this problem?