I admit, I nag. It is a hard habit to break. I am working on it though. The best way to change a habit is to keep it top of mind, find ways to change or alter that behavior, and stick to the plan of change. Here are some tips I am using to becoming a less nagging wife. It is actually one of my resolutions for the New Year.
- Recognize nagging. I didn’t think I was a nagging wife until I read Love and Respect. It is a great book I recommend for all who are married. You can’t alter or stop a behavior unless you know you know that you are doing such behaviors. I am working on nagging this year by first and foremost paying attention to when and how it starts.
- Focus of the positive attributes of my spouse. Rather than look at what he is not doing or doing “wrong” in my eyes, I am trying to focus on all the good things that he does. I truly am blessed with a wonderful, loving, hard working husband. I feel bad that I ever give him a hard time or nag. Instead of nagging, I am trying to take more notice of the positive and voice the positive that I see in his every day actions. It is easy to come down on our spouses and see the bad. We can play the blame game, but that does not benefit the relationship. Instead of tearing down, I am working to build up my husband. Words are powerful. We need to use them wisely, especially to our spouses as they are the person we love the most in this world!
- Treat him and talk to him as I want to be treated. I don’t like to be yelled at, nagged at, or put down, so I shouldn’t do it to my husband. Every time I nag I try to stop myself in my tracks and reflect inwardly by asking “would I like to be talked to in this manner?”.
- Show respect. Having respect is a man’s desire in his heart of hearts. Nagging is not respectful. Would I ever nag a boss, pastor, or someone I hold in high regard? No, it would not be respectful. A wife’s respect toward her husband is commanded by God. Ephesians 5:22-33 is a great, clear message from the bible that commands wives to respect their husbands and for husbands to love their wives. This does not mean a wife is a doormat or does what her husband asks if it is against God’s wishes. Respect and love go hand in hand. As does submission. I will discuss submission in a future postings. Here is the scripture from the bible. Keep in mind, I didn’t write the bible, these are God’s words to us. If you don’t agree with it, then your issue is with God, not with me. Ephesians 5:22-33:22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
- Think before speaking. In my natural type A personality I tend to be in a hurry. My words also become rushed and come out of my mouth too quickly from time to time. I am trying to make the conscious effort to take more time to think about my tone and intent before saying something to my husband. Especially when I can feel my blood pressure going up and I am getting worked up about something, as that IS EXACTLY the time when I need to pause before I speak. If I am all worked up, it is easy for the nagging to begin and take over. Its like word vomit. Instead, I try to regain my composure, think about the message I am trying to get across and whether it actually even needs to be said. If it doesn’t or it can wait, then I move on. If it is something that needs to be discussed I do #5.
- Ask for a sit down. I let him know we need a few minutes to talk about something. I don’t say it in a way that makes him avoid me though, or the conversation may never happen. I try to wait until the desire to nag has passed and I say something like “when you have a few minutes can I talk to you about….”. I wait to have the conversation until things have cooled and I have a level head. If you truly want change in something within the relationship the only way it can happen is if the other person understands and wants that change as well. Yelling or nagging them into doing something is not a consensual decision. In fact, more often than not, it makes the other person resentful. I don’t want my husband to resent me, so I don’t want to nag him into doing something I want done.
- Don’t say the same thing five time in five different ways. When nagging the tone tends to stay the same. When we want something done we often say it several times using the same or even different words/phrasing. Stop hitting your head against the proverbial wall. If the message isn’t getting through they are either a) tuning you out because of your tone or b) you need to do #5 if it is that important and they are choosing not to do what is so very important to you.
- Throw PERFECT out the window. Life is not perfect. Our children will not be perfect. Our home will not be perfect. Our Husbands will most certainkly NOT be perfect. There was one perfect man and he was crucified. From time to time I have gotten sucked into perfectionism. I expect a great deal out of my husband. But guess what? He is a human being. He gets tired. He feels overworked. He needs down time to relax and decompress. I need to give him a break and cut him some slack. When our expectations of our husbands come down a bit do you know what happens? The nagging diminishes and guess what? He will more than likely step up to do more things willingly because you are being a nicer wife. How do I know this? Personal experience. Like I mentioned when I started…I am still a work in progress every day of my life.