The last thing Kristen wanted was to be that stereotypical wife who pesters her husband again and again and again.
But, unfortunately, that’s what she feels like.
Kristen’s husband, Pete, is a fun and loving guy. When he’s not at work, he fills his time with golf, running, paint ball, cycling and more.
This active lifestyle, which attracted Kristen to him, often means that Pete puts a low priority on house chores. Kristen gets frustrated when the grass grows high or projects that Pete promised to take care of are forgotten. It seems like the only way to get Pete to follow through is for Kristen to regularly remind him.
She doesn’t like having to ask multiple times for Pete to do something and he gets tired of hearing her nag him about it. This dynamic has taken the fun and passion out of their relationship lately!
It’s not just women who nag.
When you have asked your partner to do something and it’s not happening, it can be frustrating. Maybe you’ve been patient, but you still don’t see the follow through.
Tensions build and trust weakens.
Your reminders only intensify tension and might even annoy your partner to the point that the project NEVER gets done.
If you’re looking for nag-free ways to promote follow through in your relationship, remember these 9 tips…
#1: Never use “never”
There are a few words that crop up in already-volatile conversations that only make things worse. “Never” is one of those words. In your frustration, it might seem like your partner “never” takes out the trash or “never” pays the bills on time, but this is probably untrue.
Don’t blame or put your partner on the defensive with this word.
#2: Avoid “always”
“Always” has a similar effect as “never.” If you hear the word “always” come out of your mouth, stop and question what you just said or are about to say. Is it really true?
Instead, talk about how you feel. Say, “I feel frustrated when you agree to follow a budget and then go on a shopping spree.” Talk about what comes up for you when your partner doesn’t follow through. This promotes openness and lets your partner know that his or her behavior is impacting you in this way.
#3: Be specific
Make sure that when you ask your partner to do something, you are specific. This is obvious and it’s a mistake that many of us make.
Rather than asking for “more help around the house,” be clear about what kind of help you most want. Is it mowing the lawn, unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry or paying the water bill? Know in advance what you’re looking for and then ask for it.
#4: Be time sensitive
We all run on different time-tables. For example, some people like to wait until the end of the day to wash all of the dishes at once while others prefer to clean up the kitchen as it gets used.
There is not one “right” answer and it’s likely that your partner isn’t always on the same time-table as you are. Include with your request your idea of when you’d like this project done by. Consider that your partner’s time-table could work too. (This might not be possible in all situations, but when it is let go of “your” way.”)
#5: Really listen
Make sure that when you and your partner talk about what you’d like done, you are not just asking and then tuning out the reply. Be sure to also really listen.
Listen without expectations as much as you can. Listen attentively so that you won’t miss valuable information about what your partner’s plan is for keeping his or her word.
#6: Get buy-in
When there’s a consistent lack of follow through, there’s usually a consistent lack of buy-in.
Buy-in means that your partner feels full freedom to say “yes” or “no” to your request. When there is no guilt, pressure or assumption that your partner will agree before being asked, it’s more likely that promises will be kept.
#7: Acknowledge improvements
Habits can take awhile to change. Follow the tips above AND be patient. Be sure to notice it when your partner is taking a step in the direction of following through.
Nobody is perfect so be kind and loving with your partner and yourself too.
#8: Consider doing it yourself
When you notice there’s little (or no) follow through from your partner, think about alternative ways to get a project or task done. This may mean that you do it yourself.
Step beyond what you’re used to when your partner won’t or can’t do what you’ve asked. You might find the experience empowering and there could be other responsibilities that he or she would be more willing and able to take on instead.
#9: Don’t make it about anything else
Be focused on the task, action or behavior when you make a request. It gets confusing for you and your partner when you begin talking about getting the house cleaned up for an upcoming family visit and then launch into how annoyed you get when he or she is late.
Everything gets jumbled together and neither of you know what’s the next best step regarding either the house or timeliness. Try to keep it simple and clear. Phrase what you’re suggesting or asking in terms of what you DO want.