Josh from Zumbrow Falls, Minnesota wants to know what he should do to stop the nagging.
The short answer comes in two points:
1. Sit down with her and define where and how you can help her.
2. Suggest the best way for her to communicate with you when she needs something done.
Let me develop further. I advise you Josh to have your wife read what follows.
Nagging is a symptom revealing two problems:
1. It is amazing to see on what nagging usually occurs: most of the time it starts with household tasks. Then gradually it becomes the way to communicate most requests.
Women and men when it comes to their household do not focus on the same things. What matters for one is irrelevant for the other. Tidiness and cleanliness are critical for her when they are relatively less important for him.
Home for him is the space where he relaxes and puts his vigilance at rest. So he genuinely does not see that the garbage must be taken out because the weekly schedule of garbage disposal is not even on his radar.
Yet for her it is frustrating and annoying, and she shows it.
We are all bathed with task distribution and sharing domestic tasks. But nobody truly gives clue on how to do that.
Women feel entitled to some help without defining precisely what help they need. They presume it obvious to anyone sane what needs to be done. They forget in the process that men are different from them, and will not pay attention to what they view as details. It then takes to have a rational approach with the goal in mind.
If Ladies, you want help, convey your message in such a way that the recipient understands it. Nagging does not really work, because things get done out of exasperation. The more she nags the less he listens to her the first time. Miscommunication gradually worsens.
Men are willing to help if we bother explaining what we need precisely.
If you want him to do something, ask for it and state the details of the outcome you expect, preferably in writing.
Take the time to sit down together and review all the domestic duties you have on your plate, and determine the ones that you can share. Ladies, you should choose what will truly make your life easier, and explain to him what he could do to help you. Whatever is decided then is not fixed in stone, in fact you should review it regularly to make sure it works well.
Men would much rather help than being nagged on. Nagging is some kind of torture that they would avoid at any costs.
Ladies you will soon realize two different points:
- Very often you are better off doing what you want yourself
- You will find that what was a burden for you is not for him, and you will regret the time it took you to really delegate.
2. When perspective and priorities differ, it takes a constant clear communication to make things work.
Naggers will claim that they communicate their desires. They do their own way. Unfortunately it is a blurry message to men.
Bear in mind that men have no interest in what they are nagged on, other wise there would be no nagging. Unless they are guided thoroughly they will not get the message.
On that matter in particular, I believe that women who work nag far less than those who don’t. Primarily they don’t have time to nag, and second their focus is also elsewhere, and they let go much more when it comes to domestic tasks. Women who work are by necessity far better communicator with men. They do that all day in the work place!
They most likely will express their desires in a way that will be understandable for any man including their partners.
Even so, they might forget to use one technique that has proven to be amazingly efficient in my household.
Choose email communication when you need to ask help.
Whenever I have something in mind that I would love my husband to do, I send him a brief email. I use the subject line for the task, and I try to be concise yet precise in the content of the email. Bullet points are great to shorten sentences. Invariably, I get an email back within the hour: “ got it. Will do”. And he does.
The beauty of email communication for boring tasks that are important to women should be highlighted.
What happens in the male mind is this. The email is integrated as important because his brain is used to get important tasks via email. There is no voice tone that could carry some emotional charge. So the brain gladly adds it to the To-do list, and triggers the usual reminders men use to stay on track.
In addition, a man who comes home after work is not particularly inclined to talk. So talking about something boring for him will not easily catch his attention.
We could debate endlessly over the reasons why men should not find boring the details that matter to women. The point is that nagging reflects something important for her that he should take care of for his own sake.
Nagging will cease when both genders stop presuming that the other one knows.