Confessions of a Reformed Nag

How many times do I have to tell him? I mean, really! It’s pretty simple. All I wanted him to do is simply swing by the post office. But no, that was too much of a task to remember. Meanwhile, I am here, kids everywhere, and a house to manage. A clean house at that! Why is it clean? No thanks to him! I wash the dishes, clean ALL the clothes, make the meals, including his lunch when he comes home in the middle of the day. I get the kids down for naps, make sure they are clean, and I even teach them all about the love of Jesus. How else are they going to learn about love?! I got 12 days worth of stuff done today and all he could manage to do was come home. Now I have to get to the post office tomorrow when I have a slew of things to do. I should tell him what I think. Ya! That will make him see. That will teach him. I’m gonna say something…

This was a typical conversation that would go on inside my brain about five years ago.

Perhaps I am the only one with an inner dialogue filled with questions and responses, or maybe I am the only one to admit to such lunacy, but either way, my crazy is a real thing.
It seemed to always start with a small annoyance. But then it grew and grew until I allowed my anger and bitterness to come out into full-blown nag mode.
I realize that the term “nag” is not a very popular one given that it has been overused by husbands throughout generations. Plus, it’s harsh. But listen, I am fully allowed to use harsh words and truths when speaking about myself. And truth is what I am giving.
Let me paint a picture for you of my typical nag look. 
Hands placed firmly on hips.
Stance is wide legged and tall.
Eyes rolling into head.
Finger sometimes wagging.
Sound familiar?
(Note: Looks may vary. There is also sitting while tapping toe, sighing, speed walking through house while quickly bending and picking up clutter, and my personal favorite, the look of death. If you do not know this look, count yourself lucky.)
For years, I thought I was the opposite of what we deem a nag. I thought I bit my tongue way more than I really did. I assumed also, that if it wasn’t said, then I was doing OK. However, the seeds of annoyance were tenderly nourished and cared for in my heart. I would remember to feed them with frequent visits to history class in remembering all the things that were wrong with my husband. I would shine MY truth upon them as I replayed time and time again of hurts and wrong doings that were directed towards me, or at least, they felt directed. I loved my seedlings because they affirmed to me that I was in the right and he was in the wrong. I was the sacrificing wife and he was the loser who didn’t notice what I gave day in and day out.

Here’s the truth.

Nagging doesn’t always come in the form of constant verbal scolding. This is the picture we have in our head though. Nagging is really a heart issue that tends to be quiet for a while and then slowly and steadily seep out.
“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” ~Proverbs 27:15
That drip, drip, dripping that drives us crazy is the same one that cracks and breaks away the foundations of a marriage. It’s exhausting, really for both parties involved, and yet it’s the easiest of pits to fall into. I would often find myself displeased for one reason or another, but instead of waiting for the right time to bring up legit concerns and desires, I would tap away, like a chisel, over and over again trying to make some kind of desired sculpture. Instead, I was clobbering the man God gave me with words for my mallet.
Water in droplet form is not damaging, but you take multiple droplets and put them together, you get a puddle. This will muddy up your shoes. Then you add more drops and you have a pool. From there, when more are added, you find yourself in an ocean with no end in sight. Words are so much like these beads of water. Slowly growing into a bigger problem, little digs here and there, little corrections and nit-picks reshape the very thing that is before you.
It’s never my job to reshape my husband.
That’s God’s job. My job is to lift him up when he is down. To support him when the load is heavy. To cheer him on as he is conquering the very thing before him. As his wife, his partner, my task is never to recreate or change him through negative words and nagging.
The day my husband puts Proverbs 25:24 into practice is the day that I have utterly failed as a wife.
“It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.”
So the question is, what changed? Since this is the confessions of a reformed  nag, I guess I should tell you what happened.
It was one look he gave me.
We had just finished arguing over something so trivial. I mean down right stupid. I was on my normal rant and I barely stopped to breath when he looked up at me and simply looked defeated and tired. I thought that is what I wanted. I thought I wanted to win and feel like I was right. But it wasn’t at all what I really desired. To see the man I love look at me with such failure, well, it was all I could do but cry right then and there. How did I get to this point? Why did I feel it more necessary to be right than to help, support, and love?
It was from that moment on that I decided to only move forward and to become better.
I prayed to God to first do a change in me. My heart was oozing with pride and I knew there was only room for love or self. I needed to make a choice. I had to die to self. That’s what marriage is all about, really. Continually, daily deciding that they are more important than ourselves and giving it our all. Sounds impossible?
Ha. It sure is. Absolutely and utterly impossible without the Lord. Thankfully, with Him, all things can be done.
I suppose it’s time to be real honest here and rename the post to, “Confessions of a  Semi-Reformed Nag” because my real world is still with many moments of nagging. In fact, I just got a blow to my gut the other day, (which inspired this post) that I still need to shut my mouth way more than I do and get a better attitude. What can I say? I’m not perfect. But I strive to be better each and every day, fully taking into consideration my goals for marriage. And I assure you, chasing my husband up to the roof for some peace and quiet is NOT one of my goals.
So here’s to another day, another choice, or one hundred, to keep my mouth closed, my heart opened, and make the right decisions on what is more important, being right or doing right.
Posted December 1, 2016

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