Are you becoming the nagging wife you never wanted to be?

Ashley Thrift

“Just stop hollering!” my husband would say to me. “I can’t stand all the nagging!” 

“Then just STOP and LISTEN to me!” I would say (loudly). 

Every woman has heard tales of nagging wives, but none of us intend to become one. 

Even when my husband and I weren’t initially fussing, disagreements would turn into a fuss because of my tendency to be loud and nag. I felt the only way to get my point across or to be heard was to be loud, to force him to hear my side by demeaning him with my body language, words, and tone. When this obviously didn’t work, I would get louder out of frustration, causing him to shut down completely. 

I was trying to help him understand, and it turned into nagging because I was only trying to get my point across.

Why Nagging Doesn’t Work

Nagging hinders communication. It may have taken me years to learn the hard way, but nagging does not get a husband’s attention or build him up. Nagging is a much better way to push a man away than to make him understand your point of view. 

The Bible says, “a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day” (Proverbs 27:15), and “it is better to live on the corner of the rooftop than to share a house with a nagging wife” (Proverbs 25:25). 

To be quarrelsome is to be argumentative and confrontational. When we fill our spouse’s ears with a steady stream of unwanted advice it’s like the pitter-patter of rain on a window sill. At first, it’s all you can hear. And over time, you get so used to the noise, you stop paying attention to it. 

To nag is to constantly harass, annoy, or irritate. Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, says living on the roof would be better than having to deal with that every day. 

We don’t need to fight to have influence. We need to fight to use it well. 

Both of these Proverbs are a powerful description of the strong influence a wife a can have on her husband. We don’t need to fight to have influence. We need to fight to use it well. 

Satan is the father of lies. He doesn’t want us to be happy with our spouse, so he convinces us of the worst. He tells wives we have to be loud to be heard. He tells us we have no influence over our man and that we are inferior to him. He makes us believe our husbands do not value who we are or our opinions. These lies convince us that we have to holler, nag, and put our men down to get our point across. 

The more we believe those lies, the more our influence erodes. Our words become like noise in the background and the quiet rooftop looks more and more enticing. 

This is not how Jesus intended for a husband and wife to communicate. When both spouses are serving and submitting to the other, marriage no longer feels like a power struggle. Instead, it becomes a safe haven from the rest of the world — a place where both spouses are cared for and encouraged, where we put down our swords and serve one another (Ephesians 5:22-33). 

How to Quit Nagging

Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears her down.” 

You can be an Ivy-league educated CEO and still be a foolish wife. Foolishness in the Bible isn’t a state of intelligence, but a posture of the heart. A foolish wife is closed off to God’s instruction, but the wise one trusts God’s promises and builds her husband up. 

It’s not for us as wives to change our men — that’s the Holy Spirit’s job. Our calling is to love and respect, to trust God to finish what He started in their lives. 

We can overcome our tendency to nag when we realize the influence God has given us and use it to build up the people in our house.

1 Peter 3:1-2 says, “Wives, respect your husbands, so that if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the reverence of your lives.” Respecting our husbands through our actions, behavior, and words — even when we disagree with him — is the best demonstration of our own trust in God. 

We can overcome our tendency to nag when we realize the power of influence God has given us and use it to build up the people in our house. When we respect our men, they listen and (most of the time) respond in kind. But no man changes his ways as a result of hollering, nagging, or being put down. 

The next time you feel like he doesn’t hear you, examine your motive. Is it that he doesn’t hear you or that he doesn’t agree with you?

Instead of getting louder, surprise him with your patience and love. Respect from a wife toward her husband is a game changer for the married life. Be blessed in your marriage, not stressed. 

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