Emma’s posted up 22 reasons she nags. Twenty two! She must suppress her urges a lot because that’s not how I experience things. But given that she might not be alone in harbouring such urges, and given that men are responsible for birthing and exacerbating many of those urges I thought I’d post 7 thoughts on how I relate to nagging.
You’ll think our marriage is locked into a thousand vicious cycles. It’s not. But we do know our flesh. And hopefully spotlighting the darkness can chase a bit away.
So. How I relate to nagging…
1. I create it
We really do need to think about scheduling our holidays, and booking the car in for a service and fixing the back gate, etc, etc. But I naturally flee responsibility. The needs build up. Something needs saying.
2. I invite it
On a very foolish level (one that I’ll later despise in myself), I’d like to be mothered. “You’re so much better with that detail stuff” is code for “I’d like to be kept as a little boy.”
3. I provoke it
Given my fear of responsibility, I will affect an exaggerated air of ease. I project an image of stoner-cool (occasionally backed by Scriptural “fear nots”) so that I can label every sense of urgency (legitimate or otherwise) as uncool and ungodly. It will be seriously tempting for Emma to burst this bubble with a good sharp nag.
4. I fear it
It’s not just that I’m being asked to engage with the thorns and thistles. It’s not just that I’d rather withdraw and serve myself. It’s that, deep down, I fear I don’t have what it takes to forge ahead in this world. When she says “Can you fix it?” I hear “Can you be a man?” She doesn’t realise it but, in the male imagination, her simple requests are loaded with the weight of a thousand gender insecurities.
5. I withdraw from it
I tune it out the way a teenager tunes out his mother (see 2). Of course this only provokes more (see 3).
6. I hate it.
It confirms my deep suspicion that I am a little boy. Yes, I know I wanted to be a little boy earlier. But that’s why it grates so much!
7. I silence it
Anger works best. Sometimes it just takes an exasperated sigh or a withering look. Anything that shifts the focus onto her and how she’s being unreasonable, uncool, ungodly. Other women aren’t like this. Have you read Proverbs recently?
Men have locked up women as hysterics for centuries. It’s happened throughout history, but it also happens in marriage. We’re good at despising women for their needs. Then they’re doubly good at despising themselves for them.
So she’ll slink off and maybe read another Christian paperback with a pink cover that tells her to “button it” and call it “submission”. Or she’ll just fume. Or she’ll deaden her hopes for the marriage, deaden her hopes at being heard, deaden her hopes that her man could ever lead. She might well do all of the above. But it’s only further fuel for the nagging urges.
The way out of the nagging cycle?
Both Ephesians 5 (v18) and Colossians 3 (v1-4) preface their marriage discussions with being filled with the Spirit! Having a spiritual buoyancy from Christ. My identity, status, honour, beloved-ness is NOT being threatened by my spouse. I’ve got it all. Laugh!
Now husbands, LOVE your wives and don’t be harsh.
Wives, trust your husbands and receive that love – the heart and soul of submission.
Any other advice gladly received!