There is a fine line between nagging and reminding. If you have been married for more than one month, chances are you have found yourself bumping into that line.

So which do you do? Today’s post will provide some information that husbands generally keep to themselves. But since I care about marriages I plan to share that knowledge. After all, a wise man once said, “Knowledge is power!” (Ok, maybe that was from School House Rock, but I’m only a bill… on capitol hill.)

Today’s post is definitely from the husband’s viewpoint. I’ll have to ask that you ladies use the comments to let us men know when we are nagging. But before I divulge my theory I thought I would provide a few comments so you can test your ability. Which of these are nagging and which are simply good reminders?

  • “Don’t forget today is trash day.”
  • “The speed limit here is 40 mph.”
  • “Are you going to fix the washer today?”
  • “Our anniversary is tomorrow.”

How did you do? Could you tell the nagging from the friendly reminders? I bet our answers differ based on our perceptions.

Since I’m a man I like to keep things in simple formula’s and charts. With that in mind, here is my formula for determining the difference. (Item number two is the secret information I promised.)

Nag Determination Formula:

  1. If the speaker is the wife, 90% of the time it is nagging. If the husband is speaking, we’re just offering gentle reminders.
  2. If the task is something I really want to do, it’s a reminder. Otherwise, it’s nagging.

That sounds easy, doesn’t it? The tricky part is that you cannot always predict with certainty which items we may want to do. Some are easy – e.g. “Don’t forget tonight is poker night with your friends.” Some may be less so. It’s safe to say that I don’t want to do the taxes, but if tomorrow is the tax deadline I really do want to get them done. “Don’t forget to do the taxes” is thus nagging in February but a great reminder in April.

But seriously: What we are thinking at a particular moment always affects how we interpret information from others. The use of the word nagging is a great example. It can be humorous in some cases but it can also cause a lot of friction in a marriage. So next time you feel as if you are being nagged stop and consider if the other person is just trying to be helpful. And if you are offering a lot of reminders, take a step back and consider how your spouse may be feeling. The most important thing is to show respect to each other.