I often say that I wouldn’t be a nag if people actually listened to me the first time. So I remind them, again and again and again. ‘Did you do your homework?… Did you take out the garbage?… How many times have I told you not to leave the door open?…”
But here’s the thing: nagging doesn’t work, and it also makes everyone miserable. It can even affect your relationship. Is there any way to keep the peace and get things done?
Set clear but flexible deadlines
I won’t tell you how many times I’ve begged my husband to please clear out his mess from the garage. ‘Do it now!’ I say. (He doesn’t.) My guess is that he doesn’t like being told what to do, or when, and how. What may work? Setting a clear goal that we both care about, and giving him the freedom to choose how to do it. For example: ‘Surprise! I saw some great shelving on sale for 50%. They’d look great in the garage—you can put your tools there. We’ll need to clear space for it. How about this week, before the shelves get delivered?’
Avoid noncommittal agreements
Sometimes our family says yes just to be ‘agreeable’ but don’t intend to keep the promise. We end up nagging them to do something they never intended to do. The best bet? A family ‘honesty policy.’ Make it possible for them to decline rather than string you on: ‘You don’t have to do it, but give me warning so I can find someone who can.’
You know, ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine.’ Surprise your husband by doing one of his chores, and your act of random sweetness will make it harder for him to refuse when you remind him of something he forgot to do. (Find other great tips in our article on bonding with your husband after dinner.)
Match tasks with prioritiesPraise the effort
Maybe your husband doesn’t really pick up after himself, so say thanks when he does remember to do that. Or acknowledge baby steps and partial victories—at least his papers are in one area, even if they’re not alphabetically arranged in color-coded folders. And don’t criticize if he does something, but not the way you’d do it. If you complain about the way he cooks, chances are he’ll never offer to make dinner again.
Photo from interestingfacts12.blogspot.com