To Nag or not to Nag – the Dripping Faucet Question

dripping faucetThe irritating dripping faucet

The elderly man lay awake at night, unable to sleep. He couldn’t get the sound of that dripping faucet out of his ears. He meant to replace the washer, but had forgotten. Those things happen when you’re older; the things you planned to do don’t get done as quickly as they did when you were young. So he lay there all night, listening to the sound of the drip . . . drip . . . drip in the bathroom sink.

The next day my friend stopped in to visit the elderly couple. The old man asked the younger man if he could take care of the faucet for him so he could sleep that night. The young man changed the washer, and the seal was tight.

That night, the old man slept peacefully and woke refreshed – all because the faucet quit dripping into the sink during the night. The irritating noise was gone, and in its place, quiet and sleep.

dripping faucetProverbs and a dripping faucet

Proverbs talks about a dripping faucet; it compares a nagging wife to a dripping faucet. Someone who continually nags just does-not-stop-nagging. There is a constant undertone of complaint or reminder about something, which actually insinuates that the person is irresponsible, slow, or does not care.

A nagger constantly harasses, or worries persistently. It’s a strain on any relationship. Listening to a nagger wears a person out. Proverbs does not speak favorably of someone who nags. We shouldn’t, either. Nor should we be naggers.

Whether it’s with our spouse, a child, a friend, or a co-worker, nagging is offensive. It is also wrong.

Proverbs gives us examples of things better than living with a quarrelsome wife. It is better to live on the corner of a housetop or in a desert land than to live with a nagging wife! A nagging wife is like a continual dripping of rain. The kind of dripping where we say, “Will it just STOP?!” Only, the nagging wife does not usually stop.

When a faucet drips continually, it’s because the washer is worn or poorly made. When a wife nags continually, it’s because her mind is out of sorts – and so is her heart.

Checking the washer for the cause of the drip

How can a wife get her husband to do something she’d like to have him do without nagging? Is there a way she can persuade him to understand what she feels is important without becoming like a dripping faucet? How does she “change the washer” so the drips stop?

I’m so glad you asked.

For starters, let’s set some ground rules. Recognize what makes you want to nag.

  1. It is wrong to defend or support a spouse when he is wrong, because that’s living a lie. Nagging sometimes happens because what we have supported in public, we want to be different in private.
  2. It is wrong to bash a spouse in front of others. Nagging sometimes occurs because bashing in public has not gotten us what we want.
  3. A woman worth her weight in gold will not manipulate, badger, or bargain with her spouse. Manipulation, badgering, and bargaining is nagging.
  4. It is unfair to not express your needs or desires to your spouse. There is a time and a way to do it, and there are ways it should not be done which, of course, includes nagging..

Ways we become a dripping faucet

I can think of specific ways women nag. I know, because I’ve seen it.

  • telling him how to dress or what to wear – he ends up acquiescing because it’s not worth the hassle to fight you
  • giving instructions on how to drive or which way to go when he already knows – there’s something in us that makes us think we have to help him when he does not need any help
  • telling him how to act around your friends – the part where we don’t want to be embarrassed, so we try to prep and coach him
  • continually telling him what needs to be done at the house until he’s tired of hearing about it – you know, the continual grating and grinding until he has no schedule or mind of his own
  • telling him how to run his business, his class at church, or any other area of his life where we are not responsible – because we think we want to help – but in reality we are watching our own reputation based on his reputation

Stopping the continual drip

A faucet does no good if it does not produce water when it is needed. A faucet that “refuses” to produce is contrary. But a dripping faucet is a constant irritation. Both are wrong.

The line between the two can sometimes be hard to find – and even harder to do. I’ve been there, and so have you.

Truth or dare

As wives, we must be honest and truthful. That means we share our hearts and our opinions without demanding results. A wife should never be satisfied to have her spouse not know her needs. Nor should she hide her true heart and desires by implying, “Whatever you say, dear.”

In decisions where the final outcome must to be decided and we are not in agreement, there are days I tell my hubby, “I know this is your decision, but I want you to know how I feel about this, and why.” Then I elaborate. I recognize that I am not responsible for the choices he makes (even though I might suffer the consequences.) He knows how I feel and can’t get away from my intuition. Yet, the faucet does not keep drip, drip, dripping because I do not badger or harass him about it. Rarely has he made a decision about which I did not feel good because usually he respects my viewpoint. Most times, I saw his wisdom later. In the rare times he regrets his  decision, I do not say “I told you so.” That’s the same as a dripping faucet.

When he needs to make a decision that affects his schedule (and indirectly affects mine), I speak truthfully. To not speak is the same as a faucet refusing to give clean water. Using “you/me” words helps diffuse anger and frustration. “When you want to go ahead with this, it makes me feel that you are not listening to my concern . . .” is one example.

Cool, refreshing water instead of a dripping faucet

There’s something in us that makes us want to be in charge, especially if we think we know what is best. We want things to get accomplished when it works for us, when it suits our schedule, and when we’ve set the deadline. So often we fail to consider any other viewpoint or reason our spouse might have for not following our suggestion. Releasing our spouse to be the leader gives freedom to both of us. When we’ve done that, we’ll know it because the faucet will give clear water when it is needed without any constant dripping.

At night, instead of the reminder of a continual drip-drip-drip from a nagging wife, his sleep will be sweet. And so will yours.

Pinterest Dripping Faucet

Photo credits: pixabay.com

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