what happened when I stopped nagging my husband


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Okay, wait. Maybe that title is a bit misleading.

There are things that I STILL get on his case about.

For example, when my husband  coincidently has to run to the washroom for 45 minutes, whenever it’s time to do the dishes… I can’t seem to bite my tongue

BUT as the title says,  I have, for the most part stopped, or significantly decreased the amount I nag my husband.

Before we get into the why and the how of it, I’d like to go on record and say that I, unlike my beloved husband, don’t necessarily feel like nagging is the right word.

If you ask me, I think words like “reminding” or “passionately communicating” are better ways to describe it.

Minor details though.

Whether you refer to it as nagging, reminding or passionately communicating – the moral of the story is that I do it a WHOLE lot less than I did when we first got married, and it’s done wonders for our relationship.

At the beginning of our marriage I’m pretty sure I sounded like a broken record.

I was constantly “reminding” my husband to:

  • put his laundry away

  • unpack his suitcase

  • close the blinds before we hop into bed (they are on his side of the bed, it just makes sense for him to do it)

  • get the kids to bed on time

  • put dishes in the dishwasher

  • stop putting the empty soda cans BESIDE the sink, and put them in the recycling bin where they belong!

  • put his dirty socks in the hamper and NOT on the window ledge above our hamper (that one absolutely drives me)



On any given day I bet I reminded him 2-5 times about any one thing on this list…

And guess what happened when I did.


Nothing happened. Nothing changed.

Well, actually that’s not true. Sometimes after about 5 asks he’d eventually do it, mostly to get me off his back … but the following day we’d be back at square one (with socks sitting on the ledge and soda cans sitting by the sink)

I definitely wasn’t inspiring him to start any new habits.

… and on top of that, the vibe in our house wasn’t so lovey dovey! And rightfully so, when someone’s on your case all the time it’s hard to be in a lovey dovey mood.

Then one day, just as I was about to go off about an overnight bag that had been sitting on our bedroom floor for over a week, I had an AH HA moment.

I thought about how much time and energy I had wasted “reminding” and “passionately communicating” how much the bag of dirty clothes was pissing me off.

To be clear, it was a lot of time and energy… time and energy that had no positive outcome! 

… and really, did it matter THAT much? Was it THAT big of a deal?


That, and the man is a full grown adult! Who the heck was I to tell him what he needed to do.

Anyways, at the same moment, I stopped over the annoying bag full of ditty clothes, and went to use the bathroom.

I saw a tube of toothpaste sitting on the counter, with the lid BESIDE not ON it…

I bet you think that I’m going to tell you that my husband was the culprit. That HE had left the lid off the toothpaste.

Nope that was me!

Despite how many times my husband has asked me to put the lid back on the toothpaste, I never do it. Not intentionally, It just happens. It’s just a habit.


Because it doesn’t bother me and I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, just like he doesn’t think the socks on the ledge or the empty can beside the sink are a big deal.

They’re habits! Unintentional habits!
We have different priorities!

That right there was the day that I decided to stop nagging my husband.

It was the day I decided I would unpack the bag myself, take  1 second to toss the socks in the hamper, put his laundry away and put the damn soda can in the recycling bin without saying a word.

I just do it. It’s easier that way, and takes a lot less energy than it did to walk all the way downstairs and give him crap about a pair of socks.

It’s actually more productive.

Whenever I tell my girlfriends about this tactic, they are shocked.

“I would never” they say…

“He needs to do that himself…. You’re not there to clean up after him…”

I want to be clear, I am not a little wife who walks around cleaning up after my husband. There is not an unequal division of responsibilities in our house… I am not a maid.

He will eventually do all the things I listed above.

If I say nothing, he will eventually put the clothes away, the socks in the hamper and unpack his bag… but just not on MY timeline.

These are my priorities not his!

Just like the toothpaste lid is something that grinds his gears, not mine.

Life is short. Life is unpredictable.

And I don’t know about you, but these days, amongst the hustle bustle of life with kids, running our businesses and adult-ing, the time I have with my husband is limited!

I’d rather spend it having meaningful conversations or I don’t know, making out, than nagging him about a pile of clothes on the floor.

Because at the end of the day, that’s just the little stuff in life that distracts us from the big stuff…

So what happened when I stopped nagging my husband about tedious tasks around the house?

Nothing and everything.

His habits didn’t change, but the vibe in our house sure did.

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