“Why isn’t your work over yet? Why are you still at the office? Why am I the only one helping kids in their homework? Why are you always drinking? Can’t you replace this old car?”
If these questions paint a picture of you and your marriage, then you are probably being told that you have the characteristics of a nagging wife.
Nagging, which is constant prodding, is a frequent complaint in marriage. This may begin when either of the partners feels that the nagging can get him or her what they want. It is a signal that something has gone wrong in the relationship, and might result in hurt, unhappiness, and division when the discord is not resolved in a limited time.
This post briefs you about a nagging wife, how not to be a nagging wife, and how to have a better understanding of your partner and your marriage.
What Is Nagging?
The dictionary defines nagging as ‘persistently annoying or finding fault with someone.’ Another meaning says ‘to annoy someone by constant demands or complaints.’ The reference of a nagging wife is a common cliché dating back decades.
Remember that not all wives are nagging, and no woman would nag unless she is overworked, unheard, overwhelmed, or taken for granted. She may nag when she is in physical, psychological, emotional, or financial distress, sometimes caused unintentionally. In some cases, nagging could be caring, too (1).
The Stages Of Nagging
Nagging is likely to come in stages. Let us understand them with some simple instances.
- Initially, a wife may politely put across her concerns, without being disrespectful. She tries to make her husband understand that she will appreciate it if he will discuss his decisions before taking them. He may tell her that he alone must decide some issues in life, or he might discuss it in the future. Repeated requests or complaints of the wife, in such cases, may be considered as nagging.
- When the wife realizes that her spouse has no intention of discussing any important decisions with her, she might get annoyed, speak a bit harshly, and even raise her voice. This could be the second stage of nagging. She may then pick up a fight about his independent decisions. This is when anger, disrespect, and demands come into the picture (2).
- Arguments do not resolve the little problems and make the relationship worse. Her anger over the many decisions he takes without her consent may pile up. This could be the third stage of nagging as she remembers the many ways her husband has mistreated her.
In the above scenario, the husband complains that the wife keeps nagging, and the wife says that her partner never does what she wants him to do.
Signs You Are A Nagging Wife
If you wonder if you have been a nagging wife without your knowledge, then look for the following signs.
- Resentment: If you have noticed some resentment from your partner when you begin to talk, then your partner may think that you nag a lot.
- You might be told: If your man has said to you that you complain a lot, or that you talk too much, then he is indirectly or even directly saying that you are nagging.
- Unfair criticism: A nagging wife is never content. She complains about everything most of the time and makes harsh criticisms. She would always see faults in everything, which may not be right for a relationship.
- Gives instructions always: You may want to take control of your relationship without even realizing it. If you give out instructions to your man, and if they aren’t met, then it is likely that your husband perceives those instructions as nagging.
- Never content: If you are hardly satisfied with your partner, then it could indicate that you are becoming a nagging wife. You would go into a nagging spree whenever your needs aren’t met.
If you have noticed any of these signs, then you need to work on it or get help to end it.
How To Stop Being A Nagging Wife?
Here are some tips that may help you to let go of the urge to nag and let love bloom in your relationship.
- Stay quiet: When things are not going according to you and the way you want them to happen, keep quiet rather than complaining. This could prevent you from saying things that you may later regret.
- Walk away: Walk into the other room, and leave that place when you think you will start an argument, or if there is conflict or anger. Walk away respectfully but stomp out.
- Keep yourself busy: Do something like cooking a special meal, calling a friend, or involving in some activity. If it is a long-term argument that makes you nag all the time, maybe you could have a proper discussion with your spouse.
- Rest: You may tend to nag a lot in some cases, like when you are tired. The best solution is to go to bed and sleep rather than starting a serious conversation when you are physically or emotionally drained.
- Pray: Pray for strength and wisdom to make the right decision. Praying can help to take your focus from whatever is causing you distress or discomfort.
- Accept your helplessness: Believe in the fact that you cannot control a lot of things. Shift attention to what you can control in your relationship. Do your job well, and set a good example rather than working on the things that make you helpless and frustrated.
- Use positive reinforcement: Put yourself in your partner’s shoes, and ask yourself if you would put up with your partner’s unceasing criticism if you were him. Reflecting on this thought could motivate you to use positive reinforcement, such as praise and appreciation more than criticism.
- Do not act as an authoritative leader: Avoid unnecessary arguments by setting rules or standards. Work with your husband to set a specific standard acceptable to both. When arguing about home chores or finances, remember to follow the set rules.
- Focus on yourself: Concentrate on yourself, learn about your weaknesses or shortcomings, and figure out ways to improve yourself. For instance, you may hate or argue with your partner for his laziness, but you may also possess that trait. Therefore, avoid being judgemental and focus on self-improvement.
- Gain trust and respect back: Your partner may lose that trust and respect towards you. However, there is no quick fix, as both trust and respect are complicated. To encourage him to trust you, share your innermost feelings and give him more chances than complain about him not doing something.
Nagging can backfire, and the negative consequences might further contribute to marital instability. A stable and good marriage is based on mutual understanding and honest communication without any nagging. Stay calm, respectful, and remain focused on the routine. Try making small changes, so it ultimately works on addressing significant issues. It will, therefore, cultivate a happier and harmonious relationship.
2. Adela C. Timmons et al.; Daily Patterns of Stress and Conflict in Couples: Associations with Marital Aggression and Family-of-Origin Aggression; J Fam Psychol (2017)