No husband wants to live with a nagging wife. It is like torture to the brain. Husbands will do almost anything to stop the torment of nagging. Though there could be countless reasons a woman nags it is typically stemming from one main reason – Dissatisfaction. A wife who nags has lost a sense of control. She feels frustrated with life, with the kids, with the finances, with her husband, with her dreams, with her hopes, with herself and often even with God.
Women come into the marriage relationship with expectations of love, romance and fulfilled dreams. Much of the time these all fade into a lost memory. The young woman who was so full of joy, love and dreams has now turned into a woman of frustrations, anger and hopelessness. The plans she once had for a beautiful family life now seem to be just a passing allusion. Life happened. She often suppressed her desires so that she could help make ends meet. She died to her dreams so that the family could keep functioning.
Anytime a person dies to their dreams it is extremely painful. When we have hurt enough we become disillusioned. A disillusioned person often becomes bitter. A bitter woman expresses herself through the only way she now knows how – through nagging. She has lost her sense of expressing herself. Perhaps her voice was drowned out by children, or finances, a crisis, or a husband that never really listened. Somewhere along the line this woman lost her voice.
How can a husband once again find peace, healing and restoration in the relationship? One of the most powerful prayers a husband can pray is “Lord I can’t love my wife the way you want me to love her – I am just not capable. But I ask that you would love her through me.” Say this prayer all day long. Even when the relationship begins to heal continue to say it – why would you stop if it’s working?
The next thing a husband can do is really begin to listen to his wife. You might say “But I am listening!” You may be hearing her – but most likely you are not listening. When you have been nagged for so long it is such a habit to begin to tune her out. It feels like she is just saying the same thing over and over. Why should you listen now? She is saying the same thing over and over because there has been no change. The very next time she begins to nag put down what you are doing and give her your full attention – turn OFF the TV, turn off the cell phone, focus your eyes on hers and really listen. Then say to her “What do you need from me?”
When you wife hears these words it will surprise her. Those words means “I really do care enough to try to please you and make the changes necessary to help.” Say the same phrase each time she nags “What do you need from me?” Say it out loud right now. Say it again. Keep saying it until it becomes comfortable. Be prepared for your wife to respond. When she does respond you must be willing to put your money where your mouth is. You must be willing give up golf on some Saturdays. You must be willing to give up some nights with the guys. You must be willing to shut off the TV. You must be willing to take her on a date once a week.
At first your wife may not know how to respond. She has become so accustomed to being tuned out by you that she no longer believes there will ever be any change. Give it time. Remember, it is no longer you loving your wife – you are not big enough – it is God loving her through you. Which leads to the next point – daily begin to pray over your marriage. It doesn’t matter how bad it has gotten – in Christ there is always hope. Ask God to make you flexible, attentive, caring and responsive.
No matter what your wife says NEVER respond in anger, agitation or frustration. Just listen and say “Ok.” You may not have the answer right away. You may not yet know the solution but as you give her leeway to vent (perhaps for the first time in your marriage) you have told her “You are important enough to me that I will listen to you no matter what you say.”
Read and reread my post Why Women Commit Adultery. One line from this post is “Women have affairs when a husband keeps the back door open by not giving his wife the love, adoration, affection, time and energy that it takes to keep a marriage vibrant and healthy.”
An affair is not always about another man – oftentimes it us about her heart having left the relationship. This is often where we see wives becoming shopaholics, naggers, overeaters, drinking, drug use – anything to help cope with the dissatisfaction of life.
Stop and ask yourself – on a scale of 1-10 how much attention, adoration and affection do you give your wife on a daily basis? Perhaps you feel like you have nothing left to give. Perhaps the romance has died. Perhaps you are too tired of trying. Perhaps you feel like it is a hopeless situation. Regardless of what YOU think God still believes in your marriage and He longs to see it healed.
A woman who nags longs to be heard. If I were to ask you what 3 dreams your wife has what you would tell me? Do you even know? Perhaps it’s a vacation or a new car or to visit her Mother in Florida. Every woman has dreams – but woman who nag have often lost their dreams – so they nag. I want you to find out what your wife’s dreams are and write them down. Then each day you are going to pray over them and ask the Lord to help you bring them to pass for her. Perhaps some of her dreams are unrealistic – perhaps she longs to finish college but you just cannot afford it right now. Don’t let her die to her dreams – let her take one course a year if that is all you can afford. You may not be able to do everything – but you can do something.
Don’t fear the anger. Once your wife knows that you are sincerely interested in her thoughts, dreams and desires and that it is safe for her to truly vent her feelings – she may begin to spew with pent-up anger. This won’t last forever. It may feel like it but it won’t. She needs time to allow all the pain, hurt, misunderstandings and frustrations to be allowed out. When she is healed the anger will stop.
Finally, you need to be willing to humble yourself. You may feel so worn out from trying to make things better that you no longer have the energy to give any more. In Christ, there is always more we can give. It won’t be you giving – it will be Him giving through you. When you humble yourself and ask your wife to share her dreams, her desires, her wishes – you are making yourself vulnerable. What if she asks me to give up my weekend time? What if she asks me to stop fishing? Yes, these are all possibilities but I am not asking you to relinquish your “boundaries” – just be flexible enough to give her more of what she desires so that her heart no longer feels empty but fulfilled in your love.
Humble yourself by asking for forgiveness. Perhaps you feel that you have done no wrong. Humble yourself and ask her forgiveness for making her so frustrated, so angry, so annoyed. Ask her forgiveness for not being all the husband that you could have been. Read my post How to Say I am Sorry and 3 Better Words than I Love You. When you truly humble yourself your wife will see your sincerity and know that you truly are willing to do whatever it takes to make the marriage work.
Purchase the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. Read the entire book and underline every area that applies to your situation. Oftentimes individuals have lost their sense of who they are, what they need and how to have their boundaries respected. We all need to be reminded of how we should ask others to respect us, listen to us and not take advantage of us – even in a marriage relationship.
Husband, your wife nags because she is unhappy. You know this. You once made a vow to God to love your wife “For better or for worse.” That vow cannot be broken. This could have eternal consequences. You are not big enough to handle this alone. You need the supernatural help of the Lord Jesus to show you just how your wife needs to be loved, admired, encouraged and filled with a true sense of value. When this begins to happen – healing follows. Your wife is speaking – it’s just not the way you want to hear it.
“Dear Lord, I pray for my brother. Remind him that he really doesn’t know how to love his wife the way she needs to be loved. I ask that you would love her through him. Let him humble himself and begin to ask her ‘What do you need from me?’ Give my brother the wisdom, understanding and fortitude to see this thing through. Give him the patience of Job to bear the pain his wife is feeling. Help him to be sensitive and gentle with her no matter what her response may be. Help my brother to keep his vows to honor his wife. I pray that this marriage would once again glorify you.” In Jesus name I pray. amen