Do Not Nag

Do Not NagHow well do you remember the story of Samson and Delilah? If you’re like me, you have childhood, Sunday school memories. Or maybe you remember Samson and Delilah the video (starring Charlton Heston).

This year, my wife and I are reading through the Bible, so we reread Samson’s story recently. Even though I’ve read it many times since childhood, I was surprised anew by one element of the story. I was surprised at how stupid Samson was!

Delilah fools Samson not once, not twice, not three times! Four times Samson trusts Delilah, telling her how she can steal away his strength. Only once does he tell her the truth, but why did he stay with her after the first three? Surely good sense would dictate that you dump a girl who’s trying to kill you.

Do Not Nag

Do you know why Samson kept giving in? Why he kept trusting Delilah? The Bible gives us the answer: she kept nagging!

And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death.
– Judges 16:16, ESV

Vexed to death!

Proverbs twice describes a quarrelsome wife as a constant dripping. If you’ve ever had a broken faucet, you know how obnoxious the dripping noise can be when you’re trying to sleep. At first it doesn’t bother you, but with time — eventually you want to scream!

Later, Proverbs says that it would be better to live on your own roof than to sleep inside the house with a quarrelsome wife.

Ladies, don’t nag your husbands. No matter how immature he’s acting. No matter how intractable he seems. Even if he seems to forget the same thing every day. Even if he never takes out the trash.

I don’t mean to say that your husband is right. Or that you must accept a quiet life of eternal suffering. But to put it simply: the Bible is clear that nagging is a sinful response to your husband’s imperfections.

Instead, remind yourself of a few things: first, that you are also a sinner, always in need of God’s forgiveness. Then, ask God to give you patience. Finally, once the anger has subsided, think of how you can approach your husband in a gentle spirit, without nagging.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
– Ephesians 4:29, NASB

A Note to the Men

First, men, this does not mean that you have freedom to act like a brute in your marriage. Even though your wife should not nag, you should not drive her to frustration. The Bible also condemns laziness and decrees that he who does not work should not eat. That applies at home just as much as at work. So take out the trash. Offer to do the dishes. Give your wife a night off, when you take care of the kids.

Second, always look first to your own sin. You are not an optometrist. It is not your job to remove the speck in your wife’s eye, unless you have first confronted, confessed, and repented of the log in your own. This means it is not your job to criticize her if she nags.

Third, remember that the Bible specifically points out many sins you, as a man, are prone to fall into. Particularly, remember that you should be your wife’s biggest fan, not a source of strife or sarcasm. The same verse from Ephesians is apt:

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
– Ephesians 4:29, NASB

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  • Tejas

    Great post. I honestly think that if everyone follows Ephesians 5, wife lovingly respecting and submitting and husbands duly leading and loving, marriages would be way better. Amen?

  • Josh

    Amen. So long as we also remember that chapter contains a command to submit to one another in marriage, so the husband is not leading selfishly. So long as he’s also submitting to his wife, largely meaning that he’s considering her needs and best interests, then yes, amen.

  • Kim Shay

    Good words.  I have often told my husband that most women don’t actually like nagging.  We end up reacting from frustration, and that is where we need to check ourselves.  My husband is very, very forgetful, and I have to remind him regularly about things.  When it becomes nagging is when I start to condemn with every reminder.  If I patiently remind him, he reacts much better.

  • Josh

    Thank you, Kim. As another exceedingly forgetful husband, I am also grateful that my wife reminds me patiently instead of nagging. It is a great blessing.