Women everywhere fear being labeled a “nag.” Maybe it’s because we’ve been painted into that stereotypical role in media and society at large—it’s always the woman telling the husband he needs to get up and get work done. The sad part is that sometimes, for some reason, our guys need the encouragement to be adults. Here are a few ways you can get him to get off the couch and help out, no nagging needed.
- Agree to a to-do list. Once it’s on the list, promise to not speak about it—so long as he’s proven that the list is a good method for him to use. Guys often need these things written out, and crossing tasks off will help with making him feel accomplished. Whenever you have a task or chore that needs to be done, one verbal mention is all you’ll need before putting it on a shared list. Consider getting an app like AnyList that’ll make this process a bit easier.
- When he completes a task, let him know you’ve noticed. Women don’t get patted on the shoulder every time we get stuff done, so you might read this and sigh to yourself. I get it. Nobody throws a parade when we manage to do two loads of dishes in one day, but by letting him know you appreciate the work he’s done, he’ll be more willing to take action without any nagging needed.
- Tell him how important these tasks are. To you, getting the grass mowed is a top priority. To your boyfriend, it can wait. Because he’s not prioritizing it the same way you are, he’ll probably be confused when you go nuclear when an hour has passed and he hasn’t gotten outside yet. So, when you tell him the first time, let him know how and when you envision the task being done. If something can wait, maybe ease off and trust he’ll get it done before it’s too late.
- Offer incentives. Again, if there’s a build-up of trash, he should see it and realize it needs to be taken out and changed. But perhaps he’ll notice even more if you create an incentive program. If he takes out the trash all week, he’s allowed to splurge on a purchase he’s had his eye out for. That, or maybe you can promise a romantic night together. The overall goal here is more about building habits as opposed to just reward for simple everyday tasks. But in order to build those habits, you have to start somewhere.
- Sit down and tell him how it makes you feel. Nobody likes paying bills or keeping the house clean, but it’s something we all need to do. Why does he always get a pass when you don’t? The thing is, he may not realize how stressed out you are about all of this, and if he actually cared about your feelings or mental load, he should be more willing to lend a hand. If your boyfriend fights you on it, consider finding someone who’s ready to grow up. Nagging a grown man isn’t part of your girlfriend responsibilities.
- Consider using touch when asking him about it. When you ask him to do something and slightly rub his back, that chore seems less like a demand. Instead, it seems like something you’re lovingly asking of him. It’ll also make him more tuned into you, so it’s less likely that the request will go in one ear and out the other.
- Set a time to really plan your week together. Carve out an hour every Sunday to talk about what needs to get done. Create the plan together and let him schedule when these things would work best for him. If you don’t live together just yet, he may wait a few days to come over and change lightbulbs for you—and, you need to be OK with that, as it’s not his property. If you respect his itinerary and don’t treat him like a personal maintenance worker, it’ll probably get done sooner rather than later.
- Make sure you pace your requests. When you demand six things at once, he’ll tune out. Be honest with yourself—you would too. If you’re asking for favors, try to figure out which one needs to be done ASAP. Guys can’t juggle a lot of thoughts as well as women can, so handling one thing at a time will be a little easier for him to handle than nagging.
- Be straight up with him about your frustrations. If you’re truly at wit’s end with having to get your boyfriend to actually start getting things done, be frank with him about it. Let him know that his failure to meet you halfway and pitch in on everyday tasks is frustrating and that you don’t want it to come between you. If he cares about you and how he handles himself as a grown man, he’ll start to make some changes.