Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 12.28.32 PMIt’s not unusual that I hear men in therapy say to their wife in session, “Stop nagging me.”

I even came across this study and news story this month —
Study: Nagging By A Spouse Could Shorten Your Life — The study states:

But now a new study suggests husbands of nagging wives can actually be nagged to death.

Danish researchers from the University of Copenhagen said having a nagging partner can significantly shorten one’s life, and could result in three extra deaths per 100 people per year.

Type in “nagging” in Google and you will find all kinds of stuff. The image of a “nagging wife” has really become the focus of many jokes in our culture, and I even found this week a Wiki (complete with pictures) on how to deal with the issue — How to Deal with a Nagging Wife.

I’ve even had men quote Proverbs 21:9 in session, “Better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife.” Trust me, this approach rarely goes over well (i.e. RARELY!!! = NEVER!!!)

Men may talk about their “nagging wives” and women may joke that they have to “nag” their husbands to get anything done.

Often, it’s an issue that can be worked through in counseling. In my experience a spouse often nags because the other spouse is not communicating effectively, often tending to withdraw and shutdown — which often leaves the other spouse feeling like they constantly have to pursue issues with them. Sometimes it reminds me of the pursuer-distancer dance that many couples’ do. It just happens that “nagging” sometimes becomes the focal point, and the couple has not learned how to deconstruct their negative interaction and create a new, and more healthy one.

I came across a blog this week that addressed part of this issue, and I like some of the strategies around it that I have found to be helpful for couples as well. The author, Susanne Alexander doesn’t specifically focus on nagging, but she coins a term that she refers to as obliviosity. And she develops some practical steps to deal with it. Check it out and see what you think, Managing Obliviosity for Couple Harmony

Rather than continually blaming your spouse for something they do, look at yourself and figure out your contribution to the negative cycle you two have created.