October 20, 2013
Nag Me Some More
Maybe your partner continues to wait for you to keep your promise. Maybe he or she can't wait and ends up doing it without you or getting someone else to do it. Maybe you finally do the task, but instead of properly appreciating it your partner grumbles because it took so long. Now you both feel resentful.
The next time this scenario comes up, he or she says, "You always do this!" or "You never keep your promises!" That isn't quite true, because sometimes you have done exactly what you said you would do. But never and always describe how it feels to the other person, who doesn't feel able to count on you. Your partner nags you with increasing frequency in an effort to get you to do things, and to do them on time. You become more and more likely to ignore or delay those tasks because you don't like being nagged and rushed, and you definitely don't want to be bossed around. As the arguments become more frequent, you both become more and more resentful of each other's bad attitude and obnoxious behavior. Your satisfaction with the relationship is going downhill.
Maybe what you are thinking sounds something like this: If you nag me, I won't do it. You're trying to control me!
But what if you thought something completely different: If you nag me, it means you need this. You're depending on me!
Consider the possibility that your partner's nagging is nothing more than a request for help, even though it may not be expressed in the way you would prefer. The apparent irritation and impatience are masking deeper feelings, the anxiety and insecurity that ask, are you there for me? Are you really there? When you show your partner that you are reliable, you provide reassurance. You build trust. You make it easier for your partner to cooperate with you. You both feel like you are building a life together.
What if, instead of seeing nagging as a sign that you are unappreciated, you saw it as evidence of just how necessary your contribution is?