Nagging vs. Communication

I love to be organized. Give me a binder with color-coded tabs and I can organize like nobody’s business. I make lists for everything. Early in our marriage, I made “honey-do” lists for my husband. I thought he would appreciate that I could “help” him get organized.

Here’s what actually happened: He couldn’t complete the items fast enough for my standards. I would get annoyed. He would get irritated and felt controlled. A fight would erupt.

I haven’t written a list for my husband in over ten years. And, guess what, we’re still pretty organized! Even if we weren’t … my marriage is far more important. We communicate now, I demand less. I can honestly tell you, if I had continued down my path of “honey-do” lists, I don’t know where we would be. I know it would’ve driven a wedge between us.

I’m not saying “honey-do” lists are bad for every marriage. If it works for you, that’s great! But, is there something else that may be causing division? Are you constantly finding faults in your spouse? Do you talk or listen more? Are you tearing him down or building him up?

Nag. Oh, I despise that word. We never use it, Matt knows it rubs me the wrong way. I prefer “strong-willed” or “persistent” – those sound so much more acceptable. The definition of nag is even less appealing: “to annoy by persistent faultfinding, complaints, or demands.” The Bible also weighs in on this topic in Proverbs 27:15:

A nagging spouse is like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet; You can’t turn it off, and you can’t get away from it.

Ouch! Can you imagine how a spouse feels when they are constantly being nagged? You don’t make enough money. You don’t do this right. You don’t _____.  The spouse starts feeling trapped in an annoying marriage, the Bible says, “you can’t get away from it.”

Nagging is one-way, but communication is a two-way conversation. Before, my approach was to make a list without his input. I expected a fast response, it was all about me. I was a nag.

Now, we communicate. I say, “There are a few things I need to ask of you, whenever you have time.” When he is ready, we discuss. I seek his input and advice. He is my partner, not a robot burdened with my controlling demands and high standards. We finally have no more leaky faucets!

Build up your spouse. Encourage him. Seek his advice. Respect him. Communicate with each other. Enjoy the peace and quiet of no more nagging!