Pop quiz: What's being touted as the #1 marriage killer these days? Is it ... A. for Adultery, B. for Budget, or C. for "Could You Please Just Shut Up Already?!" Well, I'm sure there are those who could make the case for D. all of the above, but believe it or not, C., otherwise known as nagging, is starting to get more credit as THE major poison for many couples. A recent Wall Street Journal article cited it as more common than cheating and just as big a trigger for divorce.
The research is there, too: A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that couples who became unhappy five years into their marriage had about a 20 percent increase in negative communication patterns ... like nagging.
We shouldn't be all that surprised!
We tend to forget some seemingly small but actually very important factors that influence our relationship with our partner, and one of those is how we speak to one another (duh). I remember reading once about how something as simple as gratitude and showing appreciation for one another is something that can easily go out the window in a long-term relationship, if you're not conscious about it. And when that happens, look out for said relationship to be henceforth DOOMED!! (Feeling taken for granted is such a romance crusher!) Nagging seems to go hand-in-hand with that, because it's a way of communicating that, intentionally or not, disregards your partner's feelings.
The nonverbal cues you're giving your partner when you nag are that you don't trust him, you're fed up with him, you don't think he cares/listens/understands, etc. If you're nagging, you're not really thinking before those incessant requests come tumbling out of your mouth. You're not considering what it's like to be in your partner's shoes as he listens to you complain that the drain needs to be snaked/the kids need to be picked up/the washer needs to be fixed/the cable bill needs to be tackled for ... the ... gazillionth ... TIME. I know -- you're probably thinking, "What the hell is taking him so long, why can't he just do it already?!" etc. But nagging is never gonna be the fix. Freaking out either. But being extra loving and careful about tone and word choice? Probably won't hurt.
No, I'm not saying we women have go all June Cleaver on our hubbies to get what we want, but what I think is going on when we nag is that we forget we're addressing the person we love, our partner. Someone we should want to communicate with in a more effective, loving way, right? (Especially if it means we'll end up getting what we want as a result!)
Do you ever catch yourself nagging, and if so, why do you think you do it?
Image via Mrs. Logic/Flickr