Three Little Things – A Solution To Stop Nagging

Most of us have been stuck at home for months now. Our routines have completely turned upside down. There is little separation between our home and work lives. Plus, we can’t exactly vent to our family about our “new co-workers” and frustrations are mounting.woman pulling her hair

I don’t know about you, but having my husband work from home has led to an increase in my nagging. I hate to be a nag and don’t usually consider myself to be one. I hate that women have a horrible reputation of being nags.  

But how do we stop?? We ask for simple things from our spouses and kids yet requests go in one ear and out the other. No one listens to us! So we repeat and repeat ourselves until we blow up. Then we’re labeled as crazy or dramatic. We’re not crazy, we just want our simple requests carried out! Listening is the sign of respect women desperately want to be shown.

For example, 

I have asked my husband on numerous occasions over the years to please not put dirty dishes in the right-hand side of the sink. Yet on a weekly basis, I find disgusting dishes soaking there which I then have to move so I can rinse dishes and have clear access to the garbage disposal. It’s just something that really grosses me out. I know my husband doesn’t soak dishes to bother me on purpose. He’s not like that. But how many times do I have to ask before he will stop this annoying behavior?

Since both of us have been home 24/7 my irritability has increased. I can feel the nag coming out in me. With every eye roll and every passive-aggressive comment I make, the urge to nag gets stronger and stronger. 

I need to shut it down!

Let me be clear  I’m fully aware that I am aggravating him much more than usual as well. He’s not used to working from home while I attempt to parent our two toddlers throughout the day. Furthermore, my husband truly doesn’t have many annoying behaviors, it’s just the unique circumstances of our current situation (he made me add this sentence).

So I came up with a solution called Three Little Things. It’s a friendly competition that takes petty annoyances and makes them obsolete.  

How it works; 

  1. Each person picks three small annoyances that the spouse (or significant other) does on a semi-regular basis. Write them down on a tally sheet to post in a visible common area.
  2. Whenever you catch the person doing, or having done, the irritating behavior you get a point. No cheating, no nagging. Take pictures if you want the proof.
  3. At the end of the two weeks whoever accumulates the most points wins!

*The behaviors have to be small, specific, and measurable for this to remain fun.  


This – Put the car keys in the key basket after each time you use them.  

Not – Be a cleaner person.

This – Stop tapping your fingers when you are on a phone call. 

Not – Stop irritating me while I’m working.

Now instead of becoming annoyed when you catch your spouse repeating a behavior that bothers you, you can get a little excited that you get a point. Both of you are reducing aggravating behaviors and there will be less nagging and passive-aggressiveness.

You can customize Three Little Things to best suit your situation. Maybe each of you only picks one thing to focus on at a time. Maybe you make the competition last one week or an entire month. Plus, the prize is totally up to you! You can each have the same prize or it can be different for each person. Just make sure it is motivating!  

If I win (which I will), I want a full body massage. I’m talking no distractions, soft music, and at least 30 minutes long. If my husband wins, he wants a full guilt-free weekend day to go fishing without the kids. If we tie then a week is added on to the competition. If we both score zero (by completely eliminating our annoying behaviors) then it is a win-win situation and our marriage is better off for it. 

Could this work with children? Mine are too young but at a certain age, I think this could totally work with kids. Many, I’m sure, would love to try and catch their parents doing something they’re not supposed to. But you need to ask yourself these questions – Do you want to know what little behaviors of yours bother them and are you willing to change? Also, are you prepared to lose?

Best of luck! Let me know who wins.

Mehgan recently moved back to Wisconsin and is taking advantage of all Madison has to offer! She graduated from UW-Madison in Family and Consumer Science Education and taught high school for five years before becoming a bridal store manager/wedding planner. Currently mom to her extremely active toddler Cora (March 2017), sweet baby Autumn (September 2018), and large Goldendoodle Benny (January 2010), Mehgan is relishing the opportunity to stay at home for the moment. Reading and blogging on her personal blog ( takes up any spare moments she can steal during naptime. Mehgan can't wait for summer when camping, zoo outings, and trips to Door County will be on the agenda.


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