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How to get what you want without getting on his nerves.
Do you feel like you're always asking your husband to do the same things over and over again? Honey, did you remember to pick up the dry cleaning? Honey, don't forget to put down the toilet seat!
If this sounds familiar, you might want to consider a more effective — and less annoying — way to get what you want.
In this video, psychologist, relationship coach and YourTango Expert Dr. Amy Johnson explains how you can have your needs met without sounding like a pest. "The best way to reinforce any behavior and to get what you want," says Dr. Johnson, "is through praise."
Hi I’m Dr. Amy Johnson with Ask an Expert answering your love and relationship questions. And today’s question is: My husband calls me a nag. I think of it as letting him know what I want and need, but he sees it as nagging. How can I get what I want without him thinking I’m nagging him?
Let’s talk about finding another way to get your needs known to your husband. I’m not saying you are nagging him but if he perceives it that way he’s likely to get defensive and shut down and he won’t even hear what you’re saying. So the best way to reinforce any behavior and to get what you want is through praise. This is true when you’re training a puppy, or disciplining children, or trying to get your husband to clean up after himself. So ask him for what you want. Let’s just say, it’s kind of cliche, but let’s say you want him to take out the garbage. Say, “Honey, will you please take out the garbage?”. Now when he makes any movement toward taking out the garbage, praise him. Let him know that you appreciate that he heard you and that you appreciate what he’s doing. Because the better he feels about himself and the better he feels about it, the more he’s going to do it, plain and simple.
If he doesn’t take out the garbage, it’s ok to restate your request. But you’re not going to do that with judgement. You’re not going to say “I asked you once, why haven’t you taken out the garbage?”. Just restate your request, “Will you please take out the trash?”, and if he never takes out the garbage I would suggest dropping it and looking at the story that you might be telling. Because so often we say “Well, he didn’t ever take out the garbage after I asked him. He obviously doesn’t respect me. He doesn’t hear me, he doesn’t care about me, he doesn’t love me” and none of those things are true. If he hasn’t taken out the garbage all it means is that he hasn’t taken out the garbage. It doesn’t mean anything else. It literally means there’s garbage in your house, that’s it. And in the big scheme of things, that’s really not that big of an issue.