Monday, December 5, 2016

Stop Nagging!

a Guest Post

by Lauren C. Moye

“Better to live on a roof,” my husband quipped.
My mind filled in the rest of Proverbs 21:9, “...than to live with a nagging wife.

Don’t Nag Your Husband to the Roof

My lifestyle changed back in August when my husband took a new job that paid the same amount as both of our former jobs. The trade-off? We were no longer able to trade work days around to keep our infant daughter in a regular routine at home. I made the decision to become a stay-at-home mom.
This also meant that I took complete control of household chores. Since we married as working undergrad students, we had always divided chores equally between us. I quickly realized that, after three and half years of marriage, I still had no idea how my husband folded his laundry. In my defense, we rarely had time to fold laundry with our previous chaotic lifestyle.
It turns out my husband had a very unique organizational method. All button-up shirts hung. Everything else was left up to whatever category he placed it in. There was a line between t-shirts that were supposed to hang and t-shirts that were supposed to be folded. In my eyes, they were all t-shirts. I struggled to learn what he saw in them to make the difference.
Things didn’t get easier for me when I attempted to figure out his system for jeans. “Oh,” he said, “Don’t bother with those. Some of them need to be given away.”
It took me two weeks to tame the massive laundry monster that had been lurking in our room. During those two weeks, I gave him almost daily status updates on where he could find the clothes that needed to be sorted through. My organization methods changed anytime I touched the clothes, so I wanted to keep him aware. Which brings us back to the incident we started with.
“Okay, I’ve really done everything that I can do without your help,” I said. “So maybe if you have some time this weekend, you can sort through the clothes so I can finish the process?” It was an honest suggestion. We both knew he was busy as both a full-time employee and a full-time grad student.
“Better to live on a roof,” he quipped.
Even when I knew he was joking, I still felt irritated. Call it a guilty conscience if you want. You see, I never thought of myself as a nagger until I got married. After all, nagging is intentionally pestering somebody to get your way, right? That’s different than giving friendly reminders. But after marriage, I quickly realized one very simple truth about myself:
I had a propensity to nag.
You see, I never noticed it in my previous teamwork settings. The projects were either too short-lived for people to procrastinate or people just accepted my direction without complaint. Marriage was a twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and fifty-two weeks a year teamwork environment. In addition, I had a very strong-willed partner. Strong-willed men make their own decisions, including when and how they do something.
It was then, when my will conflicted with his, that I realized that I could be the woman in Proverbs 21:9. 
During our first married year, we both learned valuable lessons: 
·      It’s easier to approach things from a humble attitude instead of commanding; “I’m feeling really stressed out. Do you think you can take over the dishes for me so I can work on blank?” instead of “Please wash the dishes.”
·      Strong-willed men have little grace for nagging. This includes reminders on tasks that are not time sensitive, even if he really did forget about it. In fact, it’s better just to write the task down on a marker board and let the board do the reminding.
·      If I told him to do something for me in the kitchen, it was because I was in the middle of a cooking emergency. Procrastinating assistance could very well mean a burnt supper.
You think I would have remembered those early lessons on how to cooperate peacefully with each other. Instead, I toyed with the idea of truly nagging him. I became even more irritated when I discovered that all the clothes I had sorted out were now mixed in with a freshly laundered load. “If he’s going to undo all of my hard work and call me a nagger, then I’m going to show him what nagging is really like,” I thought.
When he came home from work, I gave him a hug. Then I said, “I pulled the clothes back out that you need to sort. It would be great if you could do that.” The next day when he came home, I reminded him again.
The day after that, his eyes flashed with anger. But all he said in reply was, “I know about the clothes.”
There was a brief pain of regret in my chest. I shook it away. My once-a-day reminders continued for another few nights. It was when he turned his body away from me that I felt the full force of my actions. No matter my original motivation - whether it was right or wrong, to prove a point, or a horrible way of expressing my own hurt - I had truly become the woman in the proverb. I was driving him up the metaphorical wall and to the roof as I squandered our little bit of time on a foolish pile of clothes.

As I reflected on my actions, I came to the conclusion that there was no way on earth that he would truly forget the clothes at this point. And, since we had lived for an entire year with the clothes piled up, we could last a little bit longer with a much smaller pile in the way. I dropped the nagging.
In its place, I looked for ways to help him relax and unwind between work and schoolwork. We settled into a peaceful routine. We’ve spent that little bit of free time together as a family, playing with our daughter or reading the Bible together. There’s no sleeping bag on our roof and – although it took a few months – there’s no longer a pile of his clothes to sort through!

Biography: Lauren C. Moye is a stay-at-home mom, but in another life, she majored in Communications. She writes at, where she is dedicated to helping busy Christian Moms manage life. For more relationship advice written by Lauren, see her post on “The Simple Way to Stop Fights from Defining Your Relationship.”

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