So, why does nagging happen, and why is it so hard to stop?
Easy, it is because whether it is the dishes not getting done, or a lack of romance in the relationship - your needs are not getting met. When your needs are not met - especially when you feel justified in your need - you tend to nag your partner to meet those needs. The more you feel deprived, the more your emotions get entangled, and the more heated and snide the nagging becomes. From here, there is only one place to go. The Pit. It's not a great place. Your partner isn't inspired to do the things you ask. You are not fulfilled. The Pit isn't the place where love, passion and intimacy live.
So, the million-dollar question then becomes - How can I get my needs met WITHOUT nagging?
1. Know your NEED and give up your STRATEGY
2. Don't "SHOULD" on your spouse/partner
3. Take 100% responsibility
4. Focus on what you DO want
5. Communicate and get Creative
6. Go with what works
7. Get GROOVY with Gratitude
#1 Know your NEED and give up your STRATEGY. Okay – so let’s explore this a bit more. What is the difference between a need and a strategy? A need is the EXPERIENCE that you need to feel thriving. Needs are things like, clarity, connectedness, love, and appreciation. A Strategy is the solution you see to gain the experience that you want. For example you might have a need for clarity or simplicity in your life. For many people clutter and dirt around the house can get in the way of these experiences. When our spaces our cluttered it is easy for our minds to feel cluttered. A Solution to this is to have everyone pitch in for housework. Another example is a need for connectedness. This need might show up in strategies like nagging your partner to be home for dinner more, or giving up golf. Take some time to find out what your need is – and then give up your strategy.
#2 Don’t “SHOULD” on your spouse/partner. No one likes to be ‘should on’. I guarantee you that this will never get good results. Everyone wants to be accepted for who they are exactly as they are – warts and all (and let’s face it – isn’t this the way you want to love your partner?). So, if your spouse is a slob, if your husband doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body – that’s OKAY. Don’t treat them like the “should” be different then they are.
#3 Take 100% responsibility for your own needs. This means every time you have a thought that sounds like this, “If _________ was different, I could be happy.” Red flag! Red flag! Wake up – this is you giving up your power! Take it back by accepting 100% responsibility, stop the blame game, and get curious about yourself. Why do you need your spouse, your job, your mom to be different? What are you waiting for to be happy? Which of your needs aren’t getting met?
#4 Focus on what you DO want. Ask yourself these questions: What do I want for me? What do I want for you? What do I want for this relationship? Take some time to REALLY look at the answers. Look long-term, look short-term, look deep and really explore all 3 questions.
#5 Communicate and get Creative. Now it’s talkin’ time! State your intention & ask for what you want. That might sounds something like this, “I really want to be more on top of my game, and I really need the house clean in order for my mind to be clear enough to do that – would you be willing to help me with some chores?” or “I really love you, and want us to feel more connected. For me, I think this could be achieved by spending more time together. Would you be willing to come home a bit earlier a few days a week?”
#6 Go with what works. Now here is the clincher – Your spouse will NEVER be able to meet ALL of your needs. If after making a request, you do not get the results you want – Let it go. That’s right, no nagging, no blame, no shame. Just let it go and find another way to meet your need. It’s YOUR need, so go back to #3, take 100% accountability and come up with a new strategy to try. Go with what works (stop forcing what doesn’t work)
#7 Get GROOVY with Gratitude. Take a look at your partner and everything they do and give that enriches your life. Allow yourself to be wrapped up, snuggled, and caressed by deep, rich gratitude. Do this daily (and let your gratitude shine)
Mindy Amita Aisling
ICF Life Coach,
NFPT Fitness Trainer,
OMA Certified Mediator
Mindy Aisling is a certified life and business coach in Bend, OR, exceeding all of the educational requirements & training set forth by the ICF.
She has worked with such organizations as St. Charles Hospital, Soroptimists, The Dispute Resolution Center, Olympic Medical Center, Americorps, and Juvenile and Family Services.
She has been featured in the New York Times, The Seattle Times, The Bend Bulletin, The Peninsula Daily News, KOMO 4 TV, The Oregonian and many more. You can learn more about Mindy here.
Mindy offers professional, affordable online coaching to clients around the world, and local coaching to clients in Bend, Oregon.
Licensed and Insured