One of the hottest stories this week appeared in the Wall Street Journal under the headline, Meet the Marriage Killer: Nagging. The story called nagging as toxic to a relationship as adultery. (See video clip above of writer interviewed on CBS News)
I know about the WSJ article because my husband nagged me to read it.
Of course, the perception is that all wives nag. Indeed, the article started with a story about a wife who went as far as to leave a note in her husband's sandwich to "nag" him to go to Home Depot.
I've seen lots of people weigh in on this story and I want to add my two cents. First of all, men nag too. If we're getting ready to go someone and I'm not moving as quickly as my husband would like, you should hear the nagging that goes on to get me to move faster. I would bet money this same scenario occurs in other marriages, too. Back in 2007, Lisa Belkin wrote about nagging and said we nag people we care about. With the rest of the world, we let them have their consequences. That article concludes you can't nag someone into change.
In the WSJ article, Howard Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Denver, says couples who learn to reduce this type of negative communication will increase their odds of staying together. The first step, he says, is admit you are stuck in a bad pattern. The second is to look at it from the other person's perspective. Explain why the request is important to you and set a time frame. If you are the naggee, give a clear response which may include considering alternative solutions.
I noticed that nagging goes on in the workplace, too. Most of us have witnessed it.
It could be a boss whose getting frustrated with an employee and starts nagging him to do his job. It could be co-worker who thinks he or she is the boss and nags the other person to do their job differently. I believe it usually ends up with the whole office or department miserable. No one likes to witness nagging.
So I'm putting it out there -- nagging is just as toxic in the workplace as it is in a marriage.
But should it be handled the same way? If you witness it, should you offer up the suggestions that Markham has given -- bring attention to it and come up with ways to break the pattern? Have any of you ever tried that?
If you're doing the nagging, is it because the other person is a slacker or is there something else going on? Did you even realize you were nagging? Do you think people who break the nagging pattern at home will bring a better self to work?