Ditching 1 Bad Habit Has Made a World of Difference in My Marriage

Ditching 1 Bad Habit Has Made a World of Difference in My Marriage

One woman decides to stop nagging her husband and something amazing happens.


By Nicole Fabian-Weber

As soon as I made my way down the basement stairs, I came face to face with them. I could feel my blood pressure rising, my body tensing, my eyes closing in exasperation. I let out an audible sigh -- or, perhaps, more accurately, a groan. It was a pair of my husband's socks. His dirty socks. They were staring me in the face at the bottom of the stairs next to the work pants he had just taken off (with the belt still in them!). I'd asked him hundreds of times not to do this, as it's uncouth, and, well, just gross, but it seemed to slip his mind. Again.

"Babe!" I rudely yelled. "Please put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket! I've asked you a million times!"

"Sorry," he said halfheartedly. From his voice I could tell that he was tired and probably had a long and obnoxious day at work. I put his clothes in the laundry basket -- which was 10 feet away, mind you -- and decided to drop the issue. I, too, had had a long day, and quite frankly the thought of being curt and snappy with each other throughout dinner was exhausting. I decided to let it go.

And then something happened.

We had a pleasant meal together. A really pleasant meal – a meal as if there were no dirty socks on the floor a few minutes prior. We were laughing, talking, and generally having a good time. It was a perfectly relaxing end to our busy days, and far better than the alternative: an emotionally draining, tension-filled dinner. It was right then and there that I decided to stop nagging. (You know, most of the time.)

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Here's how I've come to think of it: Being annoyed is easy. It's smiling in the face of your partner's irritating idiosyncrasies (everyone has them) that's hard. And I want to take that hard route, because not only does it make for a much more pleasant home life, but ... my husband does a lot. He walks our dog, takes out the trash, and does our bills and our grocery shopping. I rarely compliment him for that. Why should I nitpick at him for the things he isn't doing "right"? Why are we often quick to point out our spouse's flaws and slow to praise them? Not cool. I definitely don't want to be that way.

I know I have my share of things that annoy my husband -- he's let them be known, as well (albeit, far less rudely). He hates that I don't break down the cereal boxes before putting them in the recycling bin. He isn't a fan of all the paper towels I use (nor am I). And he really doesn't like when I say I'm taking a "five-minute shower" before dinner (since it's really more like 15 minutes). But, he handles these things better than I do. If I'm being honest, much better. Yes, he'll sigh or make a comment here and there, but I definitely wouldn't call him a nag. And I don't want him to call me a nag either. I don't want to call myself a nag.

That sock incident was a month or so ago -- well, the sock incident where I decided not to say anything. There have been plenty of sock incidents since -- and I can wholeheartedly say that life is much more pleasant in our home, and the relationship between my husband and I seems ... lighter, for lack of a better word. We've always had what I would consider a good relationship, but there's always room for improvement -- and choosing to focus on the positive as opposed to the negative is a big improvement in my mind.

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I'm not sure if this was a conscious decision or it's just a result of the general vibe in our house being sunnier, but I've noticed that my husband actually seems to get less irritated with my annoying habits, as well. I like to think that it's harder to get annoyed with someone when they've just thanked you for walking the dog or taking out the trash. Who knows, though? Whatever the reason, I'll take it.

I wish I could say that I'll never nag again, but I can't. That's crazy talk. I could definitely see myself inadvertently snapping from time to time when I'm tired or stressed out. But. I can say that I'll continue to make an effort to notice the good about my husband -- those 6 a.m. dog walks in frigid weather, the fact that he's a wonderful father -- more than the bad.

And as long we're both doing that, I think we're in really good shape.

What habit are you trying to kick that you know will make a difference in your marriage?


Nicole Fabian-Weber is the mama to a sweet toddler girl and a baby boy. She lives outside of NYC and writes for The Stir and numerous other online publications. Right now, she’s probably fantasizing about sleep.

Image ©iStock.com/alexeys


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great, changing habits will always help! thanks for sharing

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