Nagging the one you're with can be good for his health and your relationship, if (big if) you do it right.
Martha Mahan's husband of 39 years is, in her words, a "professional nagger."
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One of the secrets of a long, successful marriage is being able to nag, or respond to nagging , playfully and lovingly, according to cognitive therapist Kathleen Burton.
Burton says the playful approach works only in a relatively loving and happy relationship. In the case where one nags compulsively or the other refuses to budge, the defenses are so strong for one or both that not even humor and creativity can break them down.
Before you tell your spouse to get out there and exercise, you had better be prepared to throw on your sweats and jump in the action yourself, says Burton.
Instead of nagging your spouse about walking the dog, suggest you do it together.
Chances are you've procrastinated on a few occasions. Your nagging should acknowledge this fact: "I know I haven't gotten to paying the bills as I said I would, but could you clean out the car so at least one of us does what we said?"
Sometimes the task at hand is more important to the one doing the nagging than it is to the one being nagged. Acknowledge this by offering alternatives: "Maybe we ought to just break down and buy a doghouse rather than have you build one."
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