How many times have you heard the stereotypes? “My wife is a nag.” “My husband is lazy and doesn’t listen to me.” Nagging can be annoying to both the person doing it and the person on the receiving end. But some say nagging can be as damaging to a marriage as adultery, and can cause couples to grow apart and divorce.

An important question to ask is: Why do people nag? According to the Wall Street Journal, a professor of psychology says people nag when they feel they are not getting what they want from a spouse and assume they need to keep asking in order to get it.

It can be a vicious cycle, however. If, say, the wife repeatedly makes a request and the husband repeatedly ignores it, both sides get agitated. Eventually the dispute can center around nagging itself, rather than the original subject at hand.

A lot of it has to do with personality. A person who suffers from anxiety or has obsessive tendencies may be prone to giving their spouse reminders. While they may think these reminders are helpful, the spouse who may be more laid back can come to resent it.

The Wall Street Journal article offers some tips to prevent nagging from sinking an otherwise healthy relationship. Here are a few of them. What do you think?

• Try to understand the other person’s perspective.

• Explain why a request you are making is important to you.

• Recognize the pattern of nagging and lay some ground rules.

• Set reasonable expectations and a timeframe for tasks that prompt nagging.

Source: Wall Street Journal, “Meet the marriage killer,” Elizabeth Bernstein, Jan. 25, 2012