Learning to Nag

A few weeks ago Craig of Deep into Love wrote a post in response to my post about love and housework. In it he wrote that “Nag” is often “man-speak” for a woman telling a man the unvarnished truth.

I was a bit taken aback to see such a concise explanation of something which I have struggled with for four years.

I never wanted to be a nag. Nags are nasty people, usually women, so worn down by their attempts to get others to live well that they cloud their relationships with bossiness to the point that there is nothing else left. Nags treat everyone, even–or perhaps especially–their spouses, as immature children. I remain convinced that there is a reason that Nag rhymes with Hag.

Nagging was simply out of the question for me.

And then Josh and I got engaged.

As we worked through all that we could before getting married Josh made it abundantly clear that he saw nothing wrong with nagging. Josh was raised to expect that his wife would orchestrate all things domestic and assumed that would include reminding him repeatedly of any way in which he failed to do his part promptly and correctly. I was horrified at the thought. I was not going to treat Josh as anything less than a responsible adult; one whom I just so happened to love, respect, and admire enough to marry.

When I found myself bringing something up more than once or twice I would worry and ask Josh if he felt nagged. Invariably Josh replied that he did not feel nagged, but that it would be fine in any case. And then I would try to figure out a way to not care about whatever the issue was so that there would be no need to bring it up again.

A few months ago things finally clicked.

I asked Josh why he hadn’t done something since we moved in May. He replied that he had not thought about it. I responded that he must have thought about it since we had discussed it three previous times… and then I stopped mid-thought. “Wait, you mean you didn’t do it because I didn’t nag you and you don’t remember things unless you are nagged?”

Thankfully Josh manages the kindest of expressions, even when his face is screaming “DUH!”

Once again I have to deal with marriage as an intimate relationship with a real person rather than an idea. I do not want to be a nag. But I am married to ADHD-I Incarnate, and he just so happens to feel loved when I repeatedly remind him of things he may have forgotten.

Today I am actively working on “telling Josh the unvarnished truth” concisely and repeatedly. I do not want to be a nag, but I can settle for being a loving wife who engages in nagging early and often.

So if you think that I sound like a nagging wife, don’t be afraid to tell me. I will take it as a compliment.

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6 thoughts on “Learning to Nag

  1. Craig

    As the afore mentioned Craig, I want to let you know that that the post – the one about your post? I got a comment or two that were less than friendly in tone. Just sayin’.

    As much as we men complain about it – there’s something about the bossy little girl part of women that we like. How else are we to know to pick the socks up off of the floor? Just remember Rae, unvarnished truth “in love”. :)

    God Bless you and yours in your ‘nagging in love’ thing. And thank you.

  2. Pingback: Morning Rituals | Mister Rae

  3. Marc Cardaronella

    I think reminders are fine…even repeated reminders are fine (within reason). It’s true, men can be a little domestically challenged. I spend all day thinking, planning, communicating, organizing, coordinating, worrying and nagging others to make things happen at work that when I get home I’m often a bit brain dead. I don’t especially like to think or “be organized” at home, which is sometimes a source of contention. So, being reminded of things that need to be done on the domestic front is a good thing.

    What I don’t like is when it’s done in a sort of way that makes me feel less…less competent, less manly, less intelligent, you name it. People sometimes have a way of doing that. It’s not just women that have the corner on that behavior. However, it’s especially difficult when it comes from my spouse because I want to be everything for her.

    If you can do the repeated reminding in a way that let’s your significant other know that they’re still the most in your eyes and you don’t think less of them for being a total space cadet and completely unorganized, then it’s a good thing.

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