stop nagging start helping

Stop Nagging. Start Helping.

stop nagging start helpingEvery relationship comes with different responsibilities.

Some married couples clearly define what each of them will be doing. Maybe a deal is made where one of them will be the “breadwinner” while the other handles the children and household tasks. Or they have a literal list detailing what each of them will be doing – trash for you, dishes for me.

Most people, though, tend to play things a bit more by ear. We simply expect that our significant others will help out and do their fair share. And when they don’t (it’s inevitable from time to time), it makes us mad. We were relying on them, and they let us down. They expect us to do everything and offer no help or appreciation.

So what do we do? We harass them. We nag. We think if we ride them long enough about something, they’ll finally get their butts in gear.

But does that really work? Most of the time, no. Instead, it tends to have the opposite effect as they seek to escape our nagging. And things just get worse.

I want to share an example of one couple confronting this type of problem. The wife would regularly complain to her husband (usually nicely… sometimes less so) about how he never remembered to put things back in the fridge after using them – particularly after breakfast. It really frustrated her because sometimes food would be wasted. She saw it as a problem.

But one day, she realized that her approach simply wasn’t working. Even though she was working hard on asking nicely, he continued the behavior.

But one day, she finally realized that this was just something he was bad at. Just like she’s bad at some things (like remembering to take out the trash).

As she thought more about it, she had to admit that he helped her with all kinds of things – things that she often didn’t even realize he did. Because they were just done! He didn’t nag her about them. He realized that they just weren’t her “thing.” He took care of them himself because they needed to be done.

And it hit her: she didn’t need to try to force him to change his behavior, she needed to start helping him with this thing that he struggled with.

So one morning, she tried a different approach. When she saw that he had left things out, she said to him, “I have to get better at helping you put things away after breakfast.”

And his response was totally different! Instead of grumbling or becoming defensive, he thanked her. He told her that he was working on it, but for some reason, he just had trouble remembering.

Now she makes it a part of her morning routine to double-check him. And it’s no longer a regular morning battle. She trusts that he is trying, and she focuses on trying to help him – rather than trying to get him to change.

Food is no longer wasted. And they are both happier for it.

If you’re struggling with a regular battle in your relationship, consider how you can shift your approach. Can you stop nagging and start helping? You may find your relationship is stronger for it!

Rooting for you!


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