On Women Nagging And Men Not Listening
Anytime there’s an article about a specific problem in relationships and women are to blame, the whole world is tuned out as I read and study every single line with the focus of a Rhodes Scholar.
Today, the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “Meet The Marriage Killer: It’s More Common Than Adultery and Potentially As Toxic, So Why Is It So Hard to Stop Nagging?”
The article’s writer, Elizabeth Bernstein, attempts to unpack the nagging problem amongst married couples, quoting both real couples who have gone through a nagging phase as well as psychologists who study these types of human behavior issues. As far as some numbers to support her theory of nagging being to marriage what a meteor was to the prehistoric era, Bernstein cites a study done by Dr. Howard Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Denver and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies.
Research that Dr. Markman published in 2010 in the Journal of Family Psychology indicates that couples who became unhappy five years into their marriage had a roughly 20% increase in negative communication patterns consistent with nagging, and a 12% decrease in positive communication. “Nagging is an enemy of love, if allowed to persist,” Dr. Markman says.
As far as who is at fault for all the nagging in a relationship, no concrete numbers are given, but Bernstein does posit a theory, which I found most interesting.
Men are to blame, too, because they don’t always give a clear answer. Sure, a husband might tune his wife out because he is annoyed; nagging can make him feel like a little boy being scolded by his mother. But many times he doesn’t respond because he doesn’t know the answer yet, or he knows the answer will disappoint her.
In a nutshell: Women be nagging.
As a man, it warms my heart to read things like these. I thought, More women should have a friend like Bernstein advising them to quit pestering me over certain things.
Then, I read the article again (remember, Rhodes Scholar like focus), and I started to notice some holes. (To be fair, it’s just an article to provoke discussion on a particular issue. I have to say this because some people tend to think articles are supposed to solve the very problems being discussed within them.)
The article begins with an anecdote about a husband whose wife put a Post-It note in his ham and cheese sandwich with a request for him to meet her at the Home Depot after work. Please repeat this sentence out loud so you can understand how ridiculous that sounds.
A Post-It, in between two slices of bread of the world’s most boring sandwich.
He had to take the note out of his mouth because he bit into it. That was the moment the husband knew his wife had a nagging problem. Later in the article, we find the husband is 58, the wife 62. It’s an important tidbit when combined with the husband did not go straight to his lawyer’s office to file for divorce and went to the Home Depot instead. So what we saw is a grown woman resorting to the same tactics my mom had to resort to when she made lunches for me in elementary school and wanted to remind me she loved me, and it worked.
Now some might assume I would ask this man why he did not stand his ground if the note upset him so much, but I have a better question: How many f*cks does he not give to the things his wife tells him to do?
I’m sorry for the cursing, but there’s really no other way to emphasize how deep the issue has gotten once a person has taken to writing Post-It notes and putting them in a sandwich. I appreciate Bernstein’s overall sentiment in the article. Women nag, but the reason articles like her bother me is because they make men look bad. In the article the husband said, “”I don’t need a reminder in the middle of my sandwich.”
Well, sir, sometimes we do.
I won’t go so far as to say women love being told what to do by a man, but if there is one thing I have learned about women, rarely do they ever not do what I have asked them. Unless she is super busy with other more important matters or honestly forgot, there is a good chance, if I ask my woman to do something that has an open deadline, she will act like it was due yesterday.
Meanwhile, she has told me to schedule an appointment with my doctor for the past two weeks, and I have yet to do so. I plan to do it, but no sooner than I feel like. And that’s when she schedules the appointment for me, then calls me 30 minutes before the time she schedules, tells me there is an emergency involving her happening at some random adress and I need to get there in less than 30 minutes, I zip over to this address in a panic, and I pull up to where? The doctor’s office.
The funny thing is, most things women ask us to do are not nearly as involved as something like going to the doctor’s office. The task is something like taking the clothes to the cleaners, and we didn’t because we still have clean dress shirts to spare.
I recall my ex-girlfriend hounding me about a phone call I needed to make to our landlord about a matter I felt wasn’t going to get solved. Day after day she asked me and day after day I told her, I got too busy and I would do it the next day. A week went by and she stopped asking me. We moved on to other arguments about other issues, but as sure as water is wet, she would always bring up the phone call I never made. Even after we broke up, whenever the conversation would turn to what our issues were, she brought up the phone call I never made. Eventually I decided to stop making another phone call: The one to her.
In retrospect, this was no way to handle the issue.
This is not a call to action for men to start paying better attention to women. As am I writing this, there is a woman hitting me up on gchat and I am ignoring everything she’s writing.
But, when I get done with the article, I will see what she typed and if she asks me to do something, I will either do it or I will tell her when I can do it and be sure to do it at the appointed time I gave her. This is not because I want her to know I care, it’s because her voice is annoying, and there is only two ways to deal with a woman who has an annoying voice:
A) Break up with her and find a woman who makes every request sound like she’s saying, “Take off your clothes.”
B) Just do what she says and watch her go quiet.
Chances are option A is a little too drastic, so go with B then listen. Do you hear that? What’s that sound like? It sounds like peace.
But the other reason some of us men should do a better job at doing what our women ask of us is because we’re not boys, we’re men, and we know for a fact, nothing matters to us more than women treating us like the men we are.
The less political-correct, more sexist term for nagging is mothering. Remeber what Bernstein writes (emphasis mine) “Nagging can make him feel like a little boy being scolded by his mother.” Well, I always say, before a man accuses a woman of mothering, he should make sure he’s not boying — a term I just made up to describe how we as men can at times act like boys because we have to be asked repeatedly to do something.
If a woman is a nag, we might be part of her problem, but who knows? I could be wrong. The only way to find out is if I do what she asks or I communicate with her clearly when I plan on getting the task done and I do it not a moment after.
I don’t mean to get on a high horse like I’m above making the mistake I just mentioned. I count myself amongst the men who don’t do what their woman tells them to do after they ask the first time. I also count myself amongst the men who might lose their hearing prematurely as a result of the former act.
Men, please understand. There is a war going on out there between the sexes. Women and their mouths are crashing the beaches of our minds like it’s the Battle of Normandy. They are taking over our thoughts, stressing us out, invading our sandwiches with Post-It notes about the most menial tasks. We must defend ourselves against them, but we do not attack back, and fight their fire with our own fire. Instead, let us plant mines of doing exactly what they say, then hide and wait for them to step on it.
WOMEN: Baby, did you do what I asked you to do?
MEN: Sure did.
WOMEN: Okay, can you do one more thing?
MEN: What’s that?
WOMEN: Take off your clothes.