Nagging – Is It A Precursor To Divorce? (Part 1)

nagging is the “killer of love” and the “enemy of marriage” says a relationship expert.


Google ‘nagging’ and take a look at the images. There are countless funny (and not so funny) quotes about nagging. “Some people call it nagging, I just call it do what you’re told to do the first time!”, “Nagging means she cares, silence means she’s plotting your death!” and “I’m not a nag, I’m a motivational speaker.” are just a tiny sampling of the choices. But while quotes about nagging may be humorous, the reality isn’t quite so pretty.


In an article written by Howard J. Markman PhD, he talks about dangers of nagging, and discusses why it can be so damaging to a marriage. Nagging can be damaging to a marriage, you wonder? We all know that nagging often leads to fights, and can sometimes result in resentment. But can it really be the cause of a failed marriage? According to Markman, it can!


“Nagging is like being in a falling rock zone where rocks frequently tumble onto your relationship and chip away at love, where as deciding to have an affair is like triggering an avalanche.” In other words, cheating on your spouse is a major issue that is likely to trigger a divorce if you get caught. Nagging on the other hand, is a slower process. It is just as likely to ruin a marriage, but the process is considerably slower.


According to Markman, in the nagger/naggee relationship, both sides often have valid points, but neither can see the situation from the other one’s perspective. This leads to anger, frustration, resentment, and finally divorce. For example:


What she says: You need to take care of the garbage now! I have asked you repeatedly for days and you keep forgetting. It’s really frustrating that I have to ask you so many times to do such a simple thing!


What she thinks: If you really loved me and cared about what was important to me, you would take of this right when I asked you to, and wouldn’t force me to remind you over and over. You’re so lazy and selfish!


What he says: I said I’ll get to it and I’ll get to it! Calm down! I’ve had a really demanding day and I need a little time to wind down and decompress.


What he thinks: I wish you would just shut up about the garbage already! I mean to do it and I’m sorry I forgot but stop badgering me all the time. I have a hard day at work and then I’ve got to come home to this endless whining. Ugh, just leave me alone!


As Markman says in his article, “When such nagging patterns persist, they can get very destructive to a relationship and put the relationship at risk for unhappiness and at times even divorce… Nagging can be a “marriage killer” and an “enemy” of love.”


Nagging, he explains is harmful because of the way it erodes the love in a relationship. Every time one partner asks the other one to do something and that request isn’t complied with, it results in a small resentment being added to the inner pile. That pile grows and grows until it becomes so big that it fuels an outburst of angry accusations. This in turn, makes the other partner defensive and angry. Put this pattern on repeat and you can see how it would damage a relationship over time.


Join us next time, as we wrap up this discussion on the issue of nagging, and the impact it can have on a marriage. Until then, if your marriage is beyond repair and you don’t believe that it can be saved, call The Kronzek Firm and speak to one of our experienced family law attorneys at 517 866 1000. We can explain all of your options for the future, and help you make the right choice.