The Number One Reason Your Marriage Is On The Skids

By Jennifer Elizabeth Masters

Nagging is something I remember well from childhood. My two older brothers both borrowed the car. One had to put gas in it before returning home, the other, was never asked to do so. My mother nagged my father about the inequality of the treatment of the two. Dinner was often when my parents clashed, as they sat face-to-face with one another. My mother had my father as a captive audience. I witnessed my Dad become violent once when I was 14. I will never forget this incident as it colored my experience of men for many years. My mother nagged my Dad about my younger brother not having to put gas in the car for the umpteenth time. He snapped! He heard the same refrain over and over and over and over! It was enough to make my Dad blow a gasket. If you have ever been in a relationship, you know this feeling of intense frustration. 

We have all been teenagers at some point in our lives. Getting teenagers to pick up their belongings and clean their rooms is often a challenge. At least one of our parents was guilty of nagging. You know the intensity of negativity that follows nagging. Wondering if you know the meaning? Following are some descriptors for the verb to nag:

griping, complaining, nitpicking, coaxing, catty, bitching, catty, pestering, recurring, unrelenting, urging, persistent, overcritical, demanding, cynical, relentless, shrewish, bitchiness

Nagging according to The Wall Street Journal is the number one reason marriages fail. To nag is a form of manipulation. One person wants the other to do something and has the perception that their partner will not perform the requested task, or will do so at the last minute. When the requests continue to be ignored, both parties get

upset, angry and resentful. The problem is, that repeatedly asking for the same thing makes us look like bitchy mothers, rather than loving partners. The person nagging is in the position of authority while the naggee is placed in the position of child. We are also demeaning the other by our continued banter and requests for the same thing.

Women are more likely to nag because we are traditionally the ones responsible for the operation of our household. We want things to run smoothly and have everyone contribute. If historically, our partners won’t do as asked, nagging becomes our method of communication. Women are usually more sensitive to issues early in the relationship. When we ask our partners to do something and fail to get a response, we recognize something is wrong. 

On an LA freeway, casual relaxed and scary!
My teenage daughter visited me recently. We made a few road trips while she was in California, and I made the mistake of allowing her to drive. As a teenager, her skill set and abilities are raw. I braced myself and grabbed the “oh shit bar” several times out of concern for my life. She has a tendency to speed, tailgate and look at her phone. I repeatedly had to ask her to be careful, slow down and stop tailgating. I apparently sounded like a nag. 


Men may not respond because they don’t know how or when they will get something done. They often keep their comments to themselves, if they have not figured out how to do something. There may be an unspoken fear about what our response will be if they say, they don’t have time, or just can’t possibly get the requested task done in the time-frame. Men may feel like a little boy, traveling back in time to the days that their mama yelled at them for not picking up after themselves. The smaller they feel, the more withholding occurs.

Nagging is Toxic

Nagging is a toxic way of communicating your point. Nagging is as detrimental to a relationship as an affair or bad money management. It can cause your spouse/partner to withdraw and not want contact with you. Nagging belittles your partner and lowers their self-esteem.


A to-do list for an adult diminishes their place in your relationship. It puts the person creating the to-do list in the position of parent. We don’t want to be a mother to our husband because we make them into a child. Making your partner a child is

not healthy for a relationship. 

A to-do list can create stress for both parties. Erase it, tear it up and stop writing this ever full list for your husband! I recently witnessed my mother have a heart attack in front of my eyes. This heart attack was purely stress related. She had never had any issues with her heart before. Stress kills. So does nagging. Stop it!

What Nagging Does 

  • nagging is disrespectful
  • makes your spouse resentful
  • makes your spouse defensive
  • puts you in the position of parent and your spouse in position of child – not healthy!
  • nagging feels like criticism so your spouse may tune you out

Love Goes Out The Window

When we are nagging we are shut down. We are focusing on our wishes not being granted. We are in a state of pessimism, rather than loving acceptance. If you aren’t sure whether you are nagging or not, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does what I am saying sound loving?
  2. Am I being accepting, appreciative or grateful by nagging?
  3. Am I communicating with an open heart?
  4. Is this a request or a criticism?
  5. Do I expect my request to be ignored?
  6. Is this going to matter in 5 years? If the answer is no, go and make love instead, it will be infinitely more pleasurable than trying to get him to do something he doesn’t want to do.
Nagging creates a rift between two people. When we nag, sex and intimacy go out the window. Resentment, anger and frustration build on both sides. When we treat each other with loving respect our relationship thrives. Instead of nagging, why not try words of appreciation or love instead? If your spouse is acting like a child – maybe you are a contributing factor. 

Jennifer Elizabeth Masters is a love and passion coach. She is the author of Orgasm For Life, the guide for creating bliss and intimacy in your relationship. She helps you discover the differences in wiring between you and your partner so that you create deeper understanding and closeness. If you are not in a relationship, Jennifer is a master at helping people move out of past programming with looping energy that recreates the same situations only with a different face. 

If you are unhappy with your life, relationship, work, depressed, anxious suffering in any way, Jennifer helps you shift into a higher state of being in the present moment. She has been where you are, spent over 30 years gaining wisdom, information and developing strategies and tools that she shares in her coaching practice with you. Not only will you shift your perspective, allowing more love in, your life will become more fulfilled, and productive. 

She clears patterns in the Akashic Records where all is recorded since the beginning of time. Her radio show, All You Need Is Love is going live this week on BBM Global Radio. 

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