A colleague of mine and I recently had a chat about relationships; he’s single, sort of searching, definitely out there in ‘the maze’. One of the things we talked about was nagging; he wanted me to explain what is it about Eves and their ability to nag – in his book, this is one of the greatest relationship killers and something that drives Adams up the wall. He wondered why it is that women can nag so much and in fact, he wanted to know if nagging is in women’s DNA. So I consulted a scientist friend of mine and he told me that nagging is intrinsically in women’s DNA and he sent me molecular charts to prove the same! Just kidding 😉
So my colleague and I delved into ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of nagging without coming up with any ground-breaking answers or explanations, but it was a rather animated discussion. When I think about it, it would just have been easier to say that nagging is in women’s DNA and then we would all just accept and move on….(and that would have been the end of this post) heheheheh
It got me thinking back to when we were growing up as kids and how our parents, OK! our beloved mothers, had to tell us repeatedly to finish our household chores or arrange our rooms or fetch something whilst our eyes were glued to the TV watching cartoons. Didn’t it just drive you a little bit mad? I come from a generation where rolling my eyes at something my parent said would have probably landed me singing sensations all over my body that would last for a few days (so clearly I am not the xoxo/xaxa generation) but I probably just mentally rolled my eyes at being repeatedly told to do something. What I also acknowledge is how it must have driven my mum mad (bless her) to have to tell me to do something several times without me acting. I am sure it drove her up the wall – to her, it was the epitome of disobedience!
When you think about a relationship between Eve and Adam, you don’t really think of disobedience (I know some will beg to differ since they or their spouses took vows ‘to obey’), but there is certainly an issue with communication and perception. To be precise, it is a big issue. Nagging has been defined as the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request, the other person repeatedly ignores it and both become increasingly annoyed; it has been termed as the marriage killer. So after doing quite a bit of reading, here are some explanations that have been advanced about nagging:
- That women are conditioned to feel more responsible about managing family life, relationships and homes and therefore are more likely to pick up on problems and try to get them fixed;
- That men sometimes are responsible for the nagging because they do not give clear answers or do not take action (in a timely manner) on things that Eve expects them to do – men may have their reasons for this but oftentimes, Eves do not see or understand these reasons;
- That nagging is a habit that brings resentment in a relationship and feelings of being belittled or not being trusted – that in fact, what it points to from one point of view is that Eve doesn’t really trust that Adam will get down to fixing the leaking pipe and that unless she persists about it, it will never get done;
- That when one party in a relationship or union, let’s say Eve, asks the other to do something and it doesn’t get done, the Eve is likely to feel that Adam is ignoring her and this can bring about feelings of not being valued by Adam;
- That whilst Eve may think that becoming more verbally demanding of Adam to do something will compel him to actually do it, it generally works in the opposite direction and only infuriates Adam and makes him less likely to ‘cooperate’;
- That sometimes it is about the personalities – take for example a relationship where one party is an organized, anxious or obsessive individual by nature and the other party is a laid back person who believes that in good time, they will get round to doing what they are supposed to do and all will be alright in the end (they say opposites attract, no?). In such a situation, the more organized individual is likely to keep reminding the other repeatedly of things that need to get done and the cycle of nagging will just come naturally as a result of their personalities.
What there is certainly consensus on is that nagging can do real harm to a relationship and therefore, the less nagging there is in a relationship or union, the more likely it is likely to thrive and survive. The big question is – how do you get nagging to end or down to a minimum? Now, if I knew the key to how to stop nagging, I would be immensely rich and writing this blog from a yacht ;-). Clearly, there is no easy answer and it seems to all boil down to the following:
- Communicate, communicate, communicate! Do not talk at each other and as much as possible, avoid negative communication like telling your significant that they are lazy or that if the world depended on them, we would all be extinct;
- As much as possible, try to look at things from your partner’s perspective – as I said before, nagging has quite a lot to do with perception and putting yourself in your partner’s shoes could make you see things differently without a word being spoken;
- If you commit to do something or know that certain things are expected of you, then follow through and just do them. It will make both of you in the relationship breathe much easier.
- That said, I think there are always issues about expectations in relationships; sometimes people expect too much of each other but in other cases, even what one might consider basic expectations are not met. Therefore, it is important to manage one’s expectations without losing the fundamental notion that you are a couple.
- Sometimes, it helps to explain why you need something to be done so that the urgency (or the lack of it :-)) is understood by both of you and that way you are reading from the same page;
Or you could just get creative like this wife did:
Adam bit into the sandwich his wife had packed him for lunch and noticed something odd—a Post-it note tucked between his sandwich fillings. He pulled it out of his mouth, smoothed the crinkles and read what his wife had written: “Be in aisle 10 of Home Depot tonight at 6 p.m.”
Adam was renovating the couple’s kitchen, and his wife had been urging him to pick out the floor tiles. He felt he had plenty of time to do this task. She felt unheard and resorted to what an ingenious and hysterical way to get his attention.
But I can’t guarantee you that you will get the desired results ;-).
Have your say and have a nag-free week, won’t you?