By Tammy Skipper, Contributing Writer
Have you ever finished speaking to your spouse and had the sudden realization…
that you were nagging?After nineteen years of marriage, I would be lying if I said I hadn’t done it myself. I wish I’d learned even earlier in our relationship how to recognize it and how to communicate in a more effective manner. Nagging is simply the adult version of a whining toddler. It often surfaces when we are tired and frustrated. Ever put one of those whiny toddlers in time out? The strategy works well for us as well.
Take 5: How to stop nagging your spouse
Sometimes the most effective strategy to end nagging is to just. stop. talking. Do you give your little one the toy they want in the store with a willing spirit because they pitched a huge fit in the middle of the superstore? Don’t give your spouse a reason to feel that way towards you.
Deep breathing is effective in bringing calm and focus during childbirth, which is much more painful than a disagreement with your spouse. Reap the same benefits when you find yourself harping. Take a slow, deep breath by inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
Ask God to give you perspective and change your own heart if needed. This is the hardest one for me because if I’m nagging, I usually think I’m “right.” That means the last thing I want to do is consider that I might be “wrong.” The problem with this thinking is that someone has to lose, and that someone would be your spouse. Consider the following verses.
Matthew 19:5 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
1 Peter 3:1 “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives”
Matthew 20:28 “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Nagging often happens when I want my spouse to do something. It might even be something he truly intended to complete. If I am the one who thinks the task needs to be done and I am able, doing so is much better for my marriage than inviting a disagreement.
The difference between explaining and nagging can be a fine line, especially for someone like me! I find it usually comes down to the amount of words I use. If I make a request using more than three sentences with my husband, he’s already stopped listening. Nagging. If I tell him in one sentence why something is important to me, he almost always acts on my request. It might not get done my way or in my timing, but we are communicating.
What strategies have you found helpful to change your words from the negative tone of nagging to one of love?