The Nagging wife
In the midst of sharing what may seem like a prison cell to some (quarantine life), I realized the type of wife I don't want to be and have somewhat surprised myself as to the type of wife I didn't even realize I have the potential to become.
But let me back track a bit. This revelation really came a few weeks before the whole pandemic started.
It was the first thing in the morning as I was getting ready to head out for work, when I felt the need to remind my husband about "his" responsibilities. I know now that my choice in timing was probably the biggest issue since this took place before his feet had even hit the floor, and only seconds after I had turned the light on that woke him up for the day.
His response was not the joyous one I had expected, thanking me for the reminder.
Rather he greeted me with annoyance and told me to stop nagging him before he's even awake.
That didn't settle well with me.
On my way to work I pondered this and started feeling bad. The "3" I am on the enneagram chart told me that this was not a good characteristic for the awesome wife I strive to be. So I began repenting and asked God to help me not be a nagging wife, but be the helper I'm called to be. Well God speaks to me in two ways. 1 through scripture and 2 Literally.
So of course, He did both.
I instantly was reminded of the scripture in Proverbs 27:15 that says, "A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day."
What happened next... I walked into work to find that due to the excessive rain that morning we had a leak in the hallway not far from my office door. As i sat down at my desk, all I heard was drip drip drip drip.....
Ok God, I hear you. Real funny.
I instantly sent my husband a txt apologizing for being a nag.
That's not the kind of wife I want to be what so ever nor do the rest of you married people or women desiring to be wives I imagine.
I have high goals for the kind of wife I'd like to be and am constantly a work in progress making errors daily, sometimes only noticing at the acknowledgement of my husband (why aren't there any scripture about them being nags...just saying....jk jk)
Though there is some humor behind that question, I think we can all be a little honest and say we've kind of wondered that. I think part of the answer is in Genesis 3 where God says,
"and to the women....Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you."
I don't know about you, but my pre-saved self has a tantrum at the sight of a verse like this. She wants to belt out Lil' Boosie, I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T what you know about me, or some 2001 Destiny's child, or 2003 Kelly Clarkson or something that reminds me I'm the boss.
But then my saved self says, Hey, you better pump the dang brakes over there and respect that husband you spent years praying for and specifically asked God to make him a leader."
Ok then geesh, we see who won that fight.
So since the Bible is clear on the role of a wife, and we don't want to have to nag them to get something done, what can we do?
A friend of mine loaned me a book a few years ago called, The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. When I got the book from her, I wasn't actually married yet, so I didn't feel a sense of urgency to read it. But Once I got married, I realized what I was doing was just not working. I randomly found that book again in my book collection one day at just the right moment. When I saw it, I thought Yes! God is about to give me the tools to "fix" my husband through prayer. Little did i know the first chapter is all about praying for changes in ourselves first.
Now I am by far no marriage expert what so ever and have poorly navigated plenty of rough waters thus far. However, I have learned that the more I push, the more he pushes back and nothing is resolved. I have had to learn to turn to God in prayer during fights or even annoyances when I've wanted to lash out. But in the moments I've gone to God and asked him to show me my own faults in the situation first, I'm always surprised by His gentle response.
What if we handled situations in that way as well. Whether it be a giant issue or something as simple as honey please stop using the kitchen table as a catch all space.
Proverbs 15:1 tells us that "A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare." Aint that the dang truth. It sure is in my home anyways.
I read a verse recently that really wrecked me in how I speak to my husband. It was Proverbs 11:12 which says, "It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet." If it says that about a neighbor, then why would it be different for a spouse. They may not be next door, but they are often right next to you when you want to speak your mind and nag at them about an offense you've taken. But a sensible person, knows when to keep quiet. Often when we tell our husbands what they should or shouldn't be doing, it comes off as belittling or disrespect. Especially if not said with kind words or for the use of edification (Eph 4:29).
As wives (or future wives), we could spend a lot of time studying Ephesians 4 and learn about being tenderhearted, humble and gentle. But we could also do some real good to focus on the parts that say we should forgive one another as Christ forgave us and make allowance for each other's faults out of love. It's not our jobs to change, fix or micromanage our husbands, rather we have to learn to accept them the way God made them and focus on encouraging them in the areas God has made them strong.
I recently watched a marriage series by Anne and Dave Wilson called Vertical marriage (highly recommend it) where they did a demonstration with a plant. She brought out a very leafy plant and showed how we use our words and nagging to cut down our husbands and when we have spent years doing so we look at them as a lifeless over trimmed plant and wonder why they look so rundown, dead and useless. That' s what happens to our husbands when we are constantly nagging at them.
One of the top 5 needs of a man is affirmation. This is a need not a want. If we desire to meet our husbands needs, this is a really good starting point. And nagging him, as I've learned is super counter productive in this area.
A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:20-22
I don't find the order of the scriptures above to be a coincidence. When we speak kind words to our spouse, it satisfies him. But there's so much power in our words and we can beat him down if we are not careful, thus killing our marriages. A wife is supposed to be a good thing, but if we are not careful, we can quickly become the thing that destroys our husbands self esteem and joy leaving us to question why our marriages are the way they are.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!" Deuteronomy 30:19
Just like this verse we have the choice to what kind of wife we want to be, a blessing or a curse.
When we were on the Love Like you Mean it cruise hosted by Family Life radio, we met a couple who did some marriage counseling. While we were speaking to them, they told us a story that will forever change my perspective. He said that during a counseling session a wife kept telling him that when she gets mad at her husband she can't help but lash out and yell at him, saying absurdly angry things. He said, "why don't you choose not to do that." To which she replied, "I can't help it, that's just the way I am." His response floored me. He said, "I don't think that's true at all, I believe you are making the choice to act that way, I know this because I'm sure you get mad at your boss sometimes and don't respond that way to them." "Well of course not, I would get fired." "But the point is that you make the choice not to because of the repercussions therefore it's not just the way you are."
Wow! I can't think of how many times I've said or thought, "Well that's just how God made me, so deal with it." But that's not the reality. Our husbands often get the blunt end of our bad attitudes and nitpicking, and that's a choice whether we want to admit it or not.
In the end of the day our choices in how we speak to our husbands affect us just the same as it affects them.
Proverbs 11:17 says, "Your kindness will reward you, your cruelty will destroy you." and Proverbs 16:24 says, "Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."
I don't know what your quarantine time has been like, but I have been pleasantly surprised. I can honestly say Luis and I didn't fight the entire time. That may be cause God pressed in to me this issue just weeks before. I think He was preparing me for what was to come. I bit my tongue more than once and was glad I did in the end. I focused on how I could be the best helper to him during this time as he worked full time from home and God granted me a new perspective on what his work day looks like. Which I'm sure, will minimize my nagging questions as to why he didn't respond more urgently to my txt during the days to come.
I hope you will take some time to reflect on your own character as a wife and know that I will be praying over each of your marriages and future marriages as often as I can.