If nagging was a professional sport, many women would excel at it. It's okay, I'm a woman, I can say that. Maybe it's a part of the female DNA. We love to be right. Have you ever seen those his and hers coffee mugs that say "Mr. Right and Mrs. Always Right?" Yep, even the coffee mug companies know what I'm talking about. The problem is that trying to prove you're right only results in further conflict. While it's a cute saying on a piece of ceramic, it's not so cute lived out. There's probably a number of reasons why a woman nags her boyfriend or husband, but are we addressing those reasons? The surface level response is, "I nag because he doesn't follow through on what he says he will do." While that may be true, there's something deeper going on. Let's back it all the way up to before the two of you started dating. When you considered a relationship with him, were there characteristics about him that you made excuses for? Was he a trustworthy friend? Did he keep his word? Some of us are contentious because we put ourselves in situations to act that way. We chose wrong from the beginning, and instead of breaking things off when we recognize ungodliness, we hope for change and stay in the relationship. Then when his lazy tendencies creep in, for example, we nag him for it, even though we knew this is how he acted before dating. I know that's harsh, but we can't sweep these kind of topics under the rug. Being argumentative is not a characteristic of a godly woman. In fact, the Bible instructs men to stay clear of that type of woman. "It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman" (Proverbs 21:19 ESV). So basically it's better to live in a climate desolate of life-giving elements such as water. Yikes. I think it got the point across, contention sucks the life out of relationships. Maybe you're thinking, what about the men? Don't worry, the Bible has plenty of correction for them too. "A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute" (Psalm 15:18 ESV). Many times the anger in a man stirs up contention in a woman, and the contention in a woman stirs up anger in a man. The combo is awful. I would say most of us have witnessed a relationship like that, and some have been in one. We must remember that "the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:20 ESV). I didn't realize I acted contentious until I had chosen a relationship that fed that in me. Yet as much as we are responsible for our own actions, "bad company corrupts good character" (1 Corinthians 15:33 NLT).
If we're called to bear the image of God, we have to hold ourselves accountable to how we handle conflict.
Okay so back to the root. A man with anger issues will not help you to be less contentious, let's just be honest. Stop making excuses for him, he is responsible for his own conduct. Do not continue in a relationship or let alone start a relationship with a man who cannot control his temper. A man who puts himself first before serving you will continue to act the same way in a relationship. A man who lies and is not transparent about himself or what he does is not someone who deserves your trust. Now you're thinking, is the perfect man even out there? No, but there are godly men. Let's talk about what to look for - a man who is submitted to God. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts, not you. A man who confesses to God, desires to change, and applies that conviction to his life is the kind of man you're looking for. Truthfully, that will carry the rest of his character. Anyone can apologize for their words or actions, but it takes a man of character to do a 180 and repent of his ungodliness. That means he must have the Holy Spirit living inside of him. A true child of God is disciplined by God. Remember, that still doesn't mean he is perfect. He may not follow through on something. Instead of responding by nagging, you can rely on your trusty friend the Holy Spirit to do the work in him that's needed for growth and maturity. It's also your job to hold your tongue, especially when the thrill of being right starts welling up inside of you. Certainly keep an eye out for patterns, then a conversation needs to be had in a gentle, non-confrontational way (something I really need to work on). My husband and I believe that passivity does not resolve conflict. So, there's no "Mr. Right" and "Mrs. Always Right" in our household. Our his and hers mugs say "Hubby" and "Wifey," a sweet wedding gift from a friend. Though I tend to place mine on the right side of the cabinet for some reason. Hm, I wonder why that is?