Nobody likes to be nagged, but there could be benefits to it, found a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study showed that cancer patients who are nagged by a partner may fare better.

In fact, research revealed that married people are 53 percent more likely to get the recommended or appropriate treatment for their cancer. Spouses often push patients to be treated aggressively rather than take a “watch-and-wait” approach.

With this evidence that nagging is beneficial, should couples nag each other more often?

“Absolutely not. Nagging should only be a last resort when one partner needs to communicate an important issue and wants to make sure they are being heard, such as financial or health concerns. Men oftentimes put things off when they shouldn’t, while women help men to realize that it’s not okay to ignore their health,” said Mindy Fox,  a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Santa Monica and member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. “It’s important to know when to stop nagging or it will become destructive to the relationship. When the outcome is achieved, stop nagging.”

Do men also nag their partners? “You bet they do,” added Mindy. “Whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s important to deliver your message with love and still show you care while you’re nagging.”

She offers these tips for nagging with love:

1.            Maintain mutual Respect:  it’s ok to express yourself with a strong emmphasis and assertiveness. Remind your partner why you are repeating yourself and be clear on your intention. Help your partner understand that you’re repeating yourself because you love him/her and want what is best, or you need something because it helps you feel valued and appreciated.

2.            Absolutely no name calling like, “you are a lazy slug” or “you are a controlling witch.”  Keep your nagging in the first person and on the point you want to convey such as “I get so frustrated when you won’t take care of yourself, please make that appointment,” or “I wish you would lower your voice so I can better understand what you want.”

3.            Nagging can mean you care enough to risk upset. The results of nagging are felt long afterword. Partners get to know each other and will anticipate being nagged, so they’ll adjust behavior to avoid nagging and keep the peace.

4.            Nagging also means you have a level of expecation in the relationship, are willing to make yourself clear and insist on follow through. Make sure the issue you are nagging about is worth it and that your partner understands how important it is to you. Don’t nag over little things.

5.            Stop the nagging when you have repeated yourself twice. It won’t sound any better the third time. Ask for either a time frame to accomplish the task or put your partner on notice that you will be bringing this up again soon if it is not completed.

6.            If you are receiving the nagging, you have a choice of how you react. Remind yourself this person loves you and get to the bottom line with your response, “I get what you are saying and how important it is to you, it isn’t that important to me, but you are, so I’ll take care of it.” Or, respond with “You’ve already told me this and I still don’t agree, please let it go.”

Be sure to ask Mindy about Neurofeedback, EMDR, and Somatic Experiencing.