Nagging Can Cause Divorce
Issues; Posted on: 2012-01-30 05:32:49 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
by Quinton Stacey
"Nagging is the enemy of love, if allowed to persist."
At first impression, one would think that the leading cause of divorce would either be economics or infidelity. But first impressions are often incorrect, and while economics and infidelity are among the leading causes of divorce, the honor of one of the top causes goes to the ancient art of nagging.
A recent Wall Street Journal article revealed that though the risk of divorce from nagging is about the same as that for adultery, that nagging is much more common.
Though nagging is more often associated with wives than husbands, and in fact wives are far more likely to nag, it is important to understand that the nagging is part of a dynamic to which both partners can contribute, and a cycle both partners can take steps to end.
Dr. Howard Markman, co-Director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies published a study on the phenomenon in 2010, and noted that: "Nagging is the enemy of love, if allowed to persist." Clearly, it is in the best interests of our people to get a handle on this marriage-killer.
Women are more likely than men to nag for various reasons, including having been conditioned to feel more responsible for home and family life and the fact they are more sensitive to male unresponsiveness. But experts say that dealing with the unresponsiveness through repeated requests -- through nagging -- is counterproductive in the long run.
Men and women have different communication styles, and understanding the difference, and conveying requests in a manner that is more readily understood and appreciated will be a net positive. There are many books describing these differences that can help, including Willard Harley's His Needs, Her Needs and Barbara and Alan Pease's Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps.
It is a sad statement that we spend far more time in our culture instructing our children about sex than about its fundamental prerequisite: relationships.
Nagging, no matter who is doing it, is a mode of communication that disregards your partner's feelings. It conveys messages that are very destructive to his or her feelings for you by making your partner feel untrusted, stupid and incompetent.
You know that nagging has become a problem when you fight about the nagging itself rather than its underlying cause, though in many cases the victim of nagging won't even mention it and will simply fall out of love with you, and all the mess that entails.
Here are some easy tips to help break the cycle of nagging:
1. Forget the artificial time lines.
Today we all want everything now, and we interpret anything less than instantaneous response as unacceptable. Unfortunately, dealing with a husband or wife as though he or she were an errant service provider and setting artificial deadlines for accomplishing tasks is unproductive. Do you really need your partner to interrupt what s/he is doing right now? It is better to say "The lawnmower has been on the kitchen table for a week now and we have the Landrys coming over for dinner on Sunday. When do you think you can get the table cleaned off?"
2. Give your partner an out.
Our romantic partners are not our employees. They are with us because of bonds of mutual love, loyalty and respect. In general, they aren't being paid for that because it is impossible to pay someone enough for that. There are some tasks a partner simply may not wish to perform for a variety of reasons. If the partner feels that refusal is not an option, s/he may agree to the task, and then fail to perform or even lie. Painting our romantic partners into an inescapable box in which they feel they must be compliant to our will is a recipe for turning formerly honest partners into justifiably dishonest ones. It is far better to say to your partner: "I'd like you to do X for me, but if you can't or won't, that's okay -- just let me know and I'll do it."
3. Consider outsourcing certain tasks.
If the partner responsible for a certain task just can't seem to get it done to the other partner's satisfaction, it may be worth finding someone else to perform that task for a fee and releasing both partners from that burden.
4. Let chores be done by the person to whom they are most important.
This seems almost self-evident, but it is rarely practiced. If the cleanliness of the bathroom is clearly more important to you than to your partner, rather than hounding your partner over it, do it yourself and let your partner perform a task that s/he finds more important.
5. Shut down the peanut gallery.
Few things will make someone more angry than to perform a task only to have someone who did not perform the task level criticism for the way in which it was performed. If you want your partner to bake a cake and your partner chooses to make a coconut cake rather than your preferred chocolate, don't be critical. When you are baking the cake, you can make it however you wish but if your partner is gracious enough to save you that task, don't be critical of how it is performed.
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