Proverbs 27:15-16 (The Message) 15-16 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.
I’ve read this verse before, but never thought too much about it until the other day.
The other day I was getting ready to start preparing dinner. Earlier that day I had set out some chicken to thaw but when I went to start preparing to cook it I noticed it was still pretty frozen.
I quickly remembered back to a cooking segment I had seen on the food network that was talking about how to thaw meat quickly.
In this segment they said the fastest way to thaw frozen meat is to set it under a slow constant drip.
So I gave it a try. I took my frozen chicken in the bowl, in the sink and turned my faucet on to just a slow constant flow.
While it was dripping I went ahead and started preparing the rest of the dinner. I was cutting up vegetables, measuring out ingredients and doing all the things us wives do when were getting dinner ready for our family. There was only one problem… The drip was really bothering me. It seemed to be getting louder and louder until it was the only thing I could hear.
The good news for me was, I was in control and could turn it off before it drove me crazy.
Proverbs 27:15 says a nagging wife is like a dripping faucet that you CAN’T turn off.
In ancient times dripping water was so awful that it was used as a form of torture. The first record of it was back in the 16th century.
Victims were strapped down so that they could not move, and cold water was then dripped slowly on to a small area of the body. The forehead was found to be the most suitable point for this form of torture: prisoners could see each drop coming, and were gradually driven frantic.
Nagging is likened to dripping water. And just like it tortured prisoners it can torture our husbands and create a riff in our marriages.
So today I want to bring a few things to your attention and give you ways to build your husband with words instead of tear him down.
1. Be Polite
There is a difference between asking your husband to do something and nagging him to do something. Nagging is defined as to complain, to be a persistent source of annoyance or distraction, to irritate by constant scolding or urging.
When we need to ask our husbands for help, talk to them about something they do that bothers us, or address them about whatever it may be, we need to do it politely. You can’t be polite and a nag at the same time. Use words that you make your children say like, please and thank you.
Speak in a nice tone. The tone you use can really make a difference in the way you come across. Talk to your spouse like you would talk to your boss or a friend. Talk to them with respect. Your husband will respond better if you do these things.
2. Pick your battles
Some of you may be thinking. Well I try to ask nicely, but he won’t do what I ask. We’ve all been there, but ask yourself this question: is what I am asking him to do detrimental to our lives? If it is, then you need to keep asking him in a nice way and pray that God will turn his heart around, but most of the time the things we want our husbands to do that they won’t do is stuff that isn’t that big of a deal.
For instance, my husband drinks a lot of bottled water. Every night he takes a bath and then gets two bottles of water and drinks them and then leaves the empty bottles on his nightstand or on the floor. And he’ll do the same thing the next night until there are 8 or 9 empty bottles cluttering up his side of the room.
I’ve asked him a few times to throw away the empty bottles before he gets a new one. He’ll do pretty good for a while and then it’s back to the bottles piling up. It’s something that would really get on my nerves. I would be the one to have to collect them all and throw them away and it was just annoying.
But one day it hit me. This is such a tiny, unimportant thing to get so put out by. Is this worth getting mad at him for? No, it’s not. Sure, I would like it if he picked them up every night, but he has a hard time remembering to do it, so just let it go.
There is no use in nagging and nagging about it. When I would get the most frustrated is when I would go in and pick them all up for him. I would start thinking. I’m a busy person; I don’t have time to pick up these bottles every day.
So now, I just don’t pick them up. He gets around to it eventually and it saves me from getting frustrated. So pick your battles.
Is it worth your time to nag about it? Is it worth the tension it will cause if you do nag about it? What does it matter in the grand scheme of things? Is it hurting anyone? We could save ourselves a lot of stress if we would learn to just let things go sometimes.
3. Give them the benefit of the doubt
That’s an expression we hear a lot, but don’t really think about the actual meaning. A benefit is a gift. And doubt is unbelief. So when you give someone the benefit of the doubt you are giving them the gift of not believing.
You are saying I believe you didn’t do that or you didn’t know to do that.
Sometimes we expect our husbands to just automatically know what we want or need them to do, and when they don’t we start to nag.
But if we go into the situation thinking, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. He probably didn’t know I needed him to do that then it helps take the edge off and you can ask him without nagging.
Most of the time if you ask your husband nicely to help you with something, he’ll do it.
But don’t expect him to do it without you asking. He doesn’t always know what you have on your plate and what you need done. Instead of hoping he’ll figure it out and getting frustrated if he doesn’t, which will then turn into nagging. Just ask.
In closing let me bring up one more point. Why is it that sometimes we girls start to nagging? What’s the root source of the problem?
I did a little research because I wanted to find out what causes a faucet to drip. Some of you handier people out there probably know the answer to that question but I had no idea. It made no sense to me why a perfectly good faucet would suddenly begin to drip.
To begin, faucets are built upon the physics of water pressure. Water pressure is what causes the water to flow through your pipes and out of your faucet. That said, when you turn your faucet off, you aren’t turning off the water pressure but simply blocking it. By moving the faucet into the off position, you seal off the water flow with a washer.
Now the reason that faucets sometimes drip is that the washer can get damaged or worn down by all the pressure of the water flowing past it. If the washer sustains some wear and tear, it can’t make a perfect seal. As a result, water is able to seep through, thereby causing a leaky faucet. The only way to fix it is to replace the washer with one that will properly seal the pipe.
So what does this have to do with nagging? Well as I reflected on my own life and my personal patterns of nagging, I noticed a common denominator… my time with the Lord. If I am slacking on my time with God, not making time for the Word or for prayer, not beginning each day centered on Him, that’s when the nagging flares up.
There is a direct correlation between my spiritual health and the degree to which I am bugging my husband. Like the faucet washer that allows water to drip through when it gets worn down, I essentially do the same. If I’m not taking care of myself and I get worn down, then the nagging increases. Like a constant drip.
This is a perfect example of the reality that the way you treat your husband, and other people, is usually a reflection of your relationship with God. Those who rest in Him have no reason to nag or control others because God is their peace.