Have you ever asked your husband to do something and been met with a silent stare? “Can you help cook? Can you help clean? Can you help with the kids? Remember to take out the trash.” Do this. Do that. The list goes on. I think I am being perfectly reasonable asking my husband to help out or do things a certain way. But sometimes, instead of having my requests be returned with an enthusiastic reply, I receive an attitude or response that implies I’m being a nagging wife.
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Characteristics of a Nagging Wife
The dictionary defines nagging as “continually finding fault or complaining.” (Dictionary.com)
That seems a little extreme, right?!
But between you and me, I do nag…a lot! This is not something I intentionally do but it is the projection of stress or desire for appreciation and help with the seemingly unending list of little things that need to get done. So I constantly ask my husband to help but occasionally not in a kind, loving way. I command or demand, instead of taking time to converse and request or even consider what he may already have going on or how he may be feeling.
When you first get married, your different life experiences and methods of communication come to light. The differences can be quite large and you don’t always see eye to eye. The stress of life gets in the way and busyness surrounds. Your views are often different and need a lot of work to be able to see where the other person is coming from.
And sometimes the slow drip of feeling misunderstood and unappreciated wields power to tear down your marriage. You may start to nag without even knowing it. Constant nagging is exhausting, for both parties. It hardens our hearts towards our husbands and we begin to resent them. Walls go up and intimacy is affected. The distance between you will grow and grow.
Bible Verses about The Nagging Wife
As you work on yourself and building better communication with your husband, it is important to do it with biblical wisdom.
The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands, the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1
Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. Proverbs 21:9
A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping
of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; Proverbs 27:15
Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 1 Peter 3:1-2
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
How To Stop Nagging Being a Nagging Wife
Ultimately it comes down to the underlying issues of why you feel you need to nag. It may start as just a desire for help with all the things going on in life that overwhelm. But more deeply you may be seeking respect, understanding, acknowledgment or love from your husband if you constantly nag. “If he just does this one thing once, I know he truly loves and respects me. Show me that I am good enough to pay attention to.” We want to establish and be a priority in our husband’s life.
Don’t get me wrong, our husbands are called to serve and love us with unconditional love. If they aren’t partnering with us and serving their wife or family, then there are deeper issues that need to be worked through together. But if we nag them, they are less likely to want to serve and help, just like we would shut down if we were being nagged by our husbands. Jesus is the only one who can help change a heart or an attitude. Nagging our husbands won’t change their heart or actions, only God will.
Regardless of our husband’s attitude, we should be in control of our own attitude and realize that they are not our source of ultimate satisfaction. Jesus is! If you find yourself constantly nagging or having a poor attitude toward your spouse, take time to look at what the scripture says on this topic. And ask God to help you understand what feelings are going on internally inside you that may be keeping you from loving your husband the way you should. God will begin to reveal your own heart and possibly convict you of things you need to change yourself.
Nagging your husband does not show him that you trust, appreciate and love him, which are generally the very things you are seeking yourself when asking him to do something. Nagging is exhausting and not fun for either party. When you stop nagging your husband, you will feel so much freedom from anger, resentment, frustration and hurt. Your relationship will be open to so much more joy. But how do we go about making this change?Nagging your husband does not show him that you trust, appreciate and love him, which are generally the very things you are seeking yourself when asking him to do something. Click To Tweet
Pray for a Changed Heart
The number one thing that has helped me to stop being as much of a nagging wife is to pray for God to change my heart. Only God has the power to transform hearts. He has the power to change even the hardest of hearts. He knows us and our husbands. He wants to hear what we are struggling with and allow us to repent.
Dear Lord. I love my husband and I know our marriage is because of you. We were brought together for a great purpose – to glorify You. Sometimes I try to seek validation and love from him in hurtful ways. I pray that you would change my heart to learn how to be satisfied in you and how to love like you. I also pray for my husband and his heart, that He would seek after you and continue to learn how to love like you. Change both of our hearts to ones of self sacrifice that focus more on serving than being served. I pray that you give us the same grace in our marriage that you gave us through your Son on the cross. We are not perfect but, with you, our hearts can be transformed. Lord, make a clean heart in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Appreciate Your Husband
Your husband probably does a lot for your family. For example, my husband works hard to provide a roof over our head, put food on the table, walk our puppy every morning, and does all the yard work. But it can be so easy for me to forget these things in the moment when I feel stressed or overwhelmed or underappreciated and want him to do something and I can let my mind think “I do all the work, he doesn’t do anything, why can’t he just do this one thing for me?”. Even though I know those thoughts aren’t true, I forget to appreciate him and focus on things he DOES do for our family.
To help me combat these lies I can let myself believe, I try to focus on the positive things and become more grateful for the ways he does serve me and our family. When I do this, the things that seemed so important and frustrating quickly fade away and help us to build each other up in appreciation and affirmation instead of tearing us down with negativity and blame.
Take some time to write down a list of all of the things you appreciate about your husband and make it a point to try to acknowledge those to him. My husband loves words of affirmation so I try to show him daily that I love and appreciate him through my words by affirming what he does to love and support our family. After all, love and marriage are a choice not a feeling. We must choose to love our husbands even when they are hard to like. Choose to speak with truth and love. Choose to encourage instead of tear down. Choose to speak words that lead to the Gospel.
Ask Once and Don’t Repeat
I had an “aha” moment about three years into our marriage. (Yes, it took that long to make this realization.) As a kid, I would get in trouble if I didn’t immediately hop on a task that my parents told me to do, whatever it may be – make my bed, take out the trash, clean up after the dog. It had to be exactly at that time and in the way they wanted or I would be sent to my room.
So my realization was that even though I absolutely hated this way of being treated, I was doing this exact thing to my husband. If he didn’t do something on my time, I would get so angry and hold it against him. This was nothing he did wrong, it was my own past experiences that had seeped into our marriage.
Asking over and over again will not get your husband to do anything. The more I nag my husband the more resistant he becomes. It will not motivate anyone to hop on the task. So ask once and don’t repeat what your husband says he is going to do. Trust that he will do it in his time – even if that isn’t your time. Most importantly, do not get that disappointed look when you come home and he is sitting on the couch watching a movie.
In my case, if he says he will do it, he always does it, just not always in the order or timing I would have done it. And I’m learning to understand that is ok. We are different people, with different perspectives, different needs, and different prioritization. And instead of nagging him to do something, I’ve found that we can learn and mature in our understanding of each other if I calmly take a minute to explain why I am feeling frustrated if I think something is urgent but he doesn’t seem to be doing it.
A Nagging Wife Doesn’t Make for a Happy Marriage!
Marriage is beautiful. It is a testimony to God’s greatest love. As with any marriage, it is a work in progress, filled with God’s unending grace. Let us focus on asking God to develop our hearts into one that seeks to serve our families, especially our husbands. Let us pray for our husbands and trust that God will work on their hearts to grow them into the men God created them to be. True freedom and joy lie when we seek God first.
Are you a nagging wife? What things do you find yourself constantly nagging at your husband about? How can you better communicate what you need from him? What things can you simply let go because peace is so much better (for both of you)?
Be sure to also read 11 Ways the Enemy Attacks Women (marriage is one of them!)