Doctor Love: Moot Point

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Readers, email your question to [email protected] Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length.

Dear Doctor Love,
My husband nitpicks constantly. He has a better way to do everything and spends countless hours telling me how to go about the everyday things I have been doing for years. He is not mean about it, but a conversation starts out with him asking how I did something and finishes with him telling me how it should have been done. I hate to ask his help because he instructs rather than lending a hand. Seven years of marriage and he still tells me how to cook his eggs. He says if he doesn’t say, how will I know? Having to justify my way of doing things makes me defensive and often leads to an argument. Why can’t he just let little thing pass?
/s/ Moot Point

Dear Point,
The doctor is chuckling a little but feels your pain. No one responds positively to frequent nagging, and there are numerous things to nitpick in a marriage. From toilet seats up or down, or the cap left off the tooth paste, to the amount of salt in stew or the temperature of the room, people want their personal preferences catered to.
As tough as it might sound, don’t take it personally. His nagging is not so much a reflection of the rightness or wrongness of your behavior. It’s just that his perceptions are different from yours. Your husband wants to be happy and pointing out the little things that annoy him brings him one step closer to ultimate happiness. He probably doesn’t realize he is doing it. To him it’s just normal conversation and he’s very unlikely to change.
If you tell him that being criticized does not want to make you try harder, that it only makes you feel more discouraged, it’s not likely he will see your point. In his mind he is not criticizing, he simply cannot understand why you don’t do things the easy way, or his way. While you do not expect him to think like you do, he does not understand why you don’t think like him.
Don’t get defensive, hear him out and listen to the valid points and take the rest with a grain of salt. Stay calm and give your side. He may begin to see that his interference bugs you but if he doesn’t, chalk it up to one of his little quirks. It’s a small thing in the scheme of life. He could have worse offenses. Often, people who nag about the small stuff handle bigger issues, like money worries or children rearing problems with ease, so focus on the positive.

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