If you want your husband to listen to you, sometimes you just have to nag and give him a hard time. We ask Singapore psychologist Daniel Koh on how to do it nicely and effectively.

Marriage and relationships: How to be an effective nag
Tips on what you should do or say, to get your husband to
do what is needed. Image: Getty Images.

1. Give encouragement

Give your husband extra incentive to do what you need him to. Say something like: “You look really sexy when you (insert chore) around the house.” Psychologist Daniel Koh from Insights Mind Centre in Singapore says you have to tailor this to your man’s personality and work out beforehand whether he will buy into it or not. And if you’re a negative nagger, don’t change your tone overnight or you’ll just come across as insincere. You can even add a kiss to the mix.

2. Show interest and care
Let him have his say by asking him if he understood you when you asked him to do something the first time, and see if there is a better way for you to approach the issue. This strategy, says Daniel, will make your man feel wanted and loved, and make him more willing to connect with you. Use positive words and statements, such as “It’ll help me greatly” and “I have confidence in you”.

1. Use negative statements

Words like “You never”, “Please don’t” and ‘Why can’t you” have negative implications. They are confrontational and make your man feel that you don’t care about him, that you’ve given up on him, or that he is hopeless.

2. Use reverse psychology
You might think this is a smart way to get your man to do what you want, but it’s actually manipulative – not to mention – selfish, says Daniel. “It’ll end up being like a game to see who can do better,” he says.

3. Make him believe that the thing you want him to do is his idea
Don’t sacrifice your self-worth to fuel an already-inflated ego (your husband’s), Daniel offers. “I advise using open and honest communication where both sides are willing to accept what was said, and listening attentively while responding in a positive manner. However, before this can happen, there must be a strong foundation and a close relationship filled with unconditional love, understanding, trust, respect and acceptance.”

Women in Singapore share their nagging style:

“I e-mail him because he doesn’t have the patience to listen to me nag about something. And when I really need to complain, I write my feelings out in a journal and leave it on the kitchen table for him to read.”
– Jean Lee, 41, stay-at-home mum

“I don’t nag constantly. If I want to get the message through, I find that revisiting the issue on different occasions works every time.”
– KS Goh, 28, quality manager

“I drop hints if I want him to do something, but once in a blue moon, my request slips his mind. When this happens, I pretend to start on the task myself, and then he comes running over and tries to take over.”
– Jean Pallones Paixao, 23, childcare educator

“I first get his attention with my ‘nag call’, where I drag out the end of his name. He immediately knows he’s in trouble and then I start my nagging! Of course, like most men, he hates being nagged at, so he does whatever I say doubly quick.”
– Julie Anthony, 37, teacher

This article was originally published in SimplyHer November 2011.