Q: My spouse never helps out around the house. How can I get him/her to help out more without having to nag about it?
A: Do you know what the definition of nagging is? Being nibbled to death by a duck. This issue of nagging is really important.
Women, understand that your man wants —yes, even needs—to hear respect and to know that he’s loved and he’s doing okay. He doesn’t want to hear his mom’s voice from you. Men, understand that your wives need to hear from you the same thing—that they’re doing okay, meeting your needs, pleasing you.
Your home is a reflection on you. Now that you’re blending two upbringings, two lifestyles, two ways of doing things (make the bed or don’t make it?), you’re bound to experience some friction. So how can you communicate how you feel without becoming a nag?
Our encouragement is to understand that nagging comes off as critical. Spouses need to be more creative than critical. Think of ways to get the job done together. Use it as a connecting time. Turn the hot spot into a positive time. Talk to each other. Be honest about why it’s so important to you that the garage be cleaned—and then set aside a day to do it together with a reward at the end of dinner and a movie.
One wife shared with us how she came to terms with this very issue with her husband:
“I used to really hold a lot of resentment. When my husband would do things around the house, he would not finish the job. If he would mow the lawn, he wouldn’t clean up the trimmings. If he would take out the trash, he wouldn’t put a trash bag in. But now I look at it as an opportunity to work together, to have a partnership instead of just resenting the things that he doesn’t do. Through other friends complaining about different things with their husbands, I learn to appreciate that at least he’s doing part of the work and that helping him would be a chance for me only to do half of it. At least he’s doing something.”
In the end, it comes down to understanding and compromise. Seek to lighten each other’s loads and then willingly follow through because you love your spouse so much!