The Little Thing that Makes a BIG Difference in Your Marriage
This post is painful for me to write. I have actually intended to write it several times, but my pride has gotten in the way each time. However, I know that this realization has been so wonderful for me and for my marriage, and it’s time to share it. Isn’t that what being a better blessing is? Taking something bad and using it for good?
Well, in this case, my “bad” has been nagging. Yes, I’m a wife who nags. (Ouch. There, I said it.) Now I’d like to think that my nagging isn’t too bad. I mean there are some women who nag all day about everything, and in a very condescending way, I might add. But then there are those who are craftier in their nagging, (me), who slip it in subtly and only occasionally.
Here’s what I mean . . .
Crazy Nagger: When are you going to clean out the garage? I can’t park in there! I’m so tired of getting soaked every time it rains because you have all of your tools everywhere.
Crazy Nagger (1 hour later): So I guess you’re not going to do anything about the garage, huh?
Crazy Nagger (the next day): I wish you would get your stuff out of the middle of the garage. It’s ridiculous that I have to park in the driveway when there is a perfectly good garage right here.
Then there is me . . .
Me: Babe, if you have time this weekend, would you mind cleaning out the garage? I think it’s supposed to rain in a couple of days and I’d love to be able to park the car in there before it does.
Me (one week later): Babe, do you think you’ll have a chance to clean out the garage this week? Just enough that my car will fit in there?
Me (a couple of weeks later): Do you think you could clean the garage out before the weather starts getting cold? It’s not so bad right now, but it will be in a couple of months.
So yes, nagging is nagging, whether it sounds rude and occurs frequently or not. The thing is, I didn’t even realize I had a problem. Until I noticed one day that I was so annoyed that my husband had not mowed the lawn yet and God stopped me in my tracks.
Kristi, is the length of your grass really affecting your life profoundly? If it were shorter, would you then be happy? Don’t you recognize why it bothers you so much? It’s because you are being prideful and selfish. You don’t care about the grass; you care about what your neighbors think. And is that really more important than your relationship with your husband? Important enough that you would jeopardize the health of your marriage?
Gosh, it was like walking around without paying attention to my surroundings and smacking headfirst into a giant mirror. And when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t love what I saw. I was a nagging wife. Ouch.
So I asked God to forgive me and to help me change. And then I made a deal with myself. I will not say a single word about the lawn this year. Not one single time. And I vowed that whether the grass looked perfect or whether it was a foot tall all summer long, I would not mention it and I would not let it bother me.
(Side note: Yes, I am aware that I could just mow the lawn myself. But I’m terrible at it, I can’t always get our old lawn mower started, and when we first got married, my hubs said that he didn’t want me to ever worry about the lawn - that it would be his job and he didn’t mind. So, you see, it’s even more ridiculous that I nagged about this, isn’t it? Because that right there makes him an awesome husband.)
I’m sure you have guessed the next part of this little story. Our lawn has never looked better. Ever. I have not said a single word about it, except for “Wow, babe, the yard looks great!” after he mows. He mows it every single week and it just looks so great!
Part of the difference, of course, is that my husband hates to be nagged. (Don’t all husbands?) He can be stubborn when necessary and the more I nag, the less likely he is to do something. I think it’s just a man’s way of pushing back at an ungrateful wife. I don’t blame him. I’m sure I would react the same way! Keep pushing and just see how far that gets you. You want me to do the laundry? Then keep whining about how you don’t have clean clothes. Ugh. So ungrateful for everything I do around here! I can’t do everything at once! Right? Haven’t you ever had a thought like that? (We can talk about working on our thought lives later - because goodness knows, that’s something I’m working on too!)
But I know that a big part of the change this summer is just God’s blessing. He has shown me that pushing and fighting for control is always counterproductive. That nagging is just plain ridiculous and poisonous to a healthy marriage.
I’m not saying I am a perfect, non-nagging wife now. But I would call myself a “reformed nagger.” It takes practice. Each time I find myself feeling annoyed about something I wish my husband would do, (or not do), I have to recognize the thought and replace it with something else. I have to catch it while it’s still a thought and before it becomes nagging. I have to view whatever it is that is bothering me through the lens of gratitude.
“I wish he would mow the lawn,” turns into “I’m so glad he doesn’t expect me to mow the lawn.”
“I wish he would clean out the garage,” turns into “I’m so grateful that he is so handy and can build things for our home.”
“I wish he would change my windshield wipers,” turns into “Wow! I had not idea this was so easy to do! Thank goodness for YouTube!”
So I give you this challenge: Stop nagging your man. Catch the thought while it’s still in your head and replace it. Ask yourself these questions:
Does this really matter?
Is this something I could do myself?
Can this wait?
Is this worth causing harm to my marriage?
Why is this so important to me anyway?
I know it can be hard to change, and trust me, I’m still working on this every day and probably always will be. But let’s do this together! And as we are becoming reformed, let’s read this verse every morning, shall we?