How to Quit Fussing With Your Husband

by Elise Wile

An anonymous wit once said, "Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right and the other is the husband." Unfortunately, your husband fails to recognize this. He not only fails to respond to your requests for him to clean up his act, but he fusses back at you. As a result, your marriage is starting to feel more like an elementary school playground than a loving relationship. Take steps to eliminate your own part in this unappealing pattern, and you'll see the conflict in your relationship decrease.

Recognize the cycle you're both trapped in. When you fuss at your husband to fix the garage door, he is going to resist being controlled. This holds even more true if you use a demanding voice, writes psychologist Molly Howes in a December 2012 article for Psychology Today. Even if he had planned on fixing the door later that day, he will likely put it off so that he doesn't feel like you are the one calling all the shots. His lack of response then makes you want to nag him even more. You both end up feeling resentful, and nothing is accomplished.

Allow your husband to set his own timetable for the things he wants to get done. Then take a step back. While this is difficult, says Howes, it will help break the cycle of nagging. If he promises that he will fill the car with gas before the weekend, trust that he will do it. If he doesn't, and you are late to an event because you've had to stop and fill up the tank, don't say a word. Your silence will be far more convicting than any words you could say.

Change your words. If your husband eats artery-clogging triple-cheeseburgers and you're worried about him, say something like, "Sweetie, I love you so much. I hope we grow old together" instead of a more confrontational "Fred, if you don't quit eating that junk, you're going to drop dead!" You're expressing the same sentiment, but in a way that makes conflict much less likely. If he tends to fuss at you in the same manner, he'll see your new approach and may decide to change his as well.

Accept that your husband is always going to have annoying character traits, as does every other person occupying the planet. If he always forgets to pick up the dry cleaning, stop fussing at him to do so and pick it up yourself. If he never wears a coat when going out to warm up the car on cold winter days, bring it to him with a smile and help him put it on.

Appreciate the good things your husband does, recommends psychotherapist and relationship expert Tammy Nelson in a February 2012 article in the Huffington Post. For example, perhaps he never fails to give you a kiss in the morning before leaving for work or always asks before he changes the channel. When you focus on the positive, you'll be less tempted to fuss at him when he neglects to put his dirty clothes in the hamper.

Respond calmly when your husband fusses at you. If he tells you that you've spent too much money eating out this month, instead of countering with, "Well, I've only spent half of what you've spent on green fees and golf balls," say, "Maybe we need to sit down and take a look at our budget." It takes two people to argue, and if you opt out, the fussing will end.

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About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

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