Often the most important change you can make is changing yourself in relation to whatever it is that’s bothering you.
Take this morning, for instance:
Monica: Did you know you left my lunch out on the counter?
Ben’s fragile, defensive ego: Who cares? Just put it in the freaking fridge, you crazy, it’s not that hard!
Ben’s real response: <Laughs> “No, I didn’t realize it. That doesn’t surprise me…”
When I needed my marriage, I would have reacted out of my ego. Then, I would have gone to work grumbling in my head about how my wife is a nag and is so critical.
When I want my marriage, I am not fragile-ego-driven, so instead of feeling threatened and in need of a defensive strategy to protect my honor, I take a pause and then respond to it as a curiously posed question. “Sounds like something I’d do!” I’ll respond, because I really do stuff like this all the time.
Am I just ignoring reality? What if she really is being critical or contemptuous? What if I’ve married a nag?
Those could all be true, but I would still say the same thing. You’ll be surprised how “nagging” behaviors seem to go away when you stop reacting defensively. Tip: Ignoring it won’t make it go away, it will make it worse. Don’t relate to the behavior as nagging and see if things don’t change! My day certainly went a lot differently.
Change your relation to the problem, person, or situation, and you will have a much better life and marriage!