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!

Am I too busy?

It had been a stressful day. Up at six o’clock, pack lunches and take my oldest to school. Rush back to the house to prepare for a leadership meeting at church (which lasted more than three hours). Grab lunch, then to the grocery to pick-up items for a school party. Organize the party and pick-up my daughter. Home for dinner and finish her school project, then back to church for kids’ activities. During it all, I’m also juggling my part-time job, fielding phone calls and trying to spend “quality time” with my youngest son.


When we finally got home, I said to my husband, “I’ve had a bad day. I’m going to bed.” No sincere interest about him or his day, just … all about me.

All the “busyness” I had created in my life was good. I mean, we were at church for over five hours, right? And, I was volunteering at my daughter’s school. In all my chaos, though, I didn’t have time for the ones I love most – Jesus and my family.

That was two years ago. I fulfilled all my commitments to the best of my ability, but I made a promise to myself – never again would I become so busy that I didn’t have time for those who mattered most. And, yet, here I am again. Beginning of a new school year and I’m planning to sign-up for everything. I had to remember my promise.

I’m not saying volunteering is bad. Absolutely not! I used to recruit volunteers so I know how important they are. But, everything is a balance. I would rather be an effective, committed volunteer versus the chaotic, frazzled woman I was a few years ago. I don’t want to be so busy that I miss Jesus throughout my day. I’m asking myself, where does God want to use me? That will be the best use of my time.

In the Bible, we learn about two sisters preparing for Jesus’ visit. Martha was running around, preparing dinner and was busy trying to make everything perfect. Her sister, Mary, was not helping. She was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to Him.

I will admit, by nature, I am definitely like Martha. Could you tell from the crazy introduction? I thrive on busyness, I love feeling “productive”. And, when my husband or others don’t help, I get irritated. Well, so did Martha.

In Luke 10:40, Martha says, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” It’s all about Martha just like my busyness is … all about me.

Jesus replied, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Make time for Jesus. He will show you how to spend your time, He will prioritize your life. God will direct your path.