Don’t forget about Not Your Average Mommy’s two year anniversary give-a-way. Win a $15 Gift card to Borders!
Now, time for another Marriage Moment…Here is the fourth out of five questions and answers about marriage. See the first one on a wife’s God given role here, and the second and third ones on submission here (if you haven’t read them yet). These posts are part of a series that is contributed to Marriage Mondays over at Julie’s lovely blog, Come Have A Peace.
This week’s question is a good one. I know it can be very challenging to find a way for husbands and wives to speak their mind, present requests, and challenge each other without sounding like a nag, or too bossy, or condescending or just down right mean.
4. How can a wife remind, correct, and advise her husband without being bossy or nagging?
My answer…Very rarely. Ha ha.
“It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” Prov 25:24 :)
I’ve found that my input is readily listened to and absolutely appreciated when it is asked for but not usually the other way around. You know what is kind of funny though? My advice and input is asked for all the time! Maybe this is because I don’t give it endlessly, but wait to be asked.
Here’s a rule of thumb. Ask yourself, would you want to be reminded, corrected, or advised about _________________? Personally, my answer is usually NO WAY! I bristle up if someone tells me what to do…and isn’t it so human to just want to do the opposite because someone told you to do something???
I think it is also helpful to think about the fact that you have only so many requests before you become a nag…so use those requests well ;) Remember that the to-do list (wash the dog, take out the trash, paint the house) is never more important than a healthy relationship. Make sure your priorities are straight.
All of the above is directed more toward the nitty gritty, every day, meaningless things that come up. Here’s my thoughts on the really deep, important issues that come up that might need to be addressed as a couple.
Pray, pray, pray and wait. Usually the issue comes up on it’s own, by the Holy Spirit’s prompting and not yours. Don’t forget that God is ultimately the one who must remind, correct, and advise your husband in the Lord’s perfect timing. If you feel like you need to bring up an issue that you have prayed about first. Do it gently. Be sensitive to the fact that your husband might not be ready to talk about it yet. Avoid categorical statements, “You always”, “You never”… Instead say, “I feel”… Be patient with each other. Love your husband where he is now, not as you would want him to be later.
(Note: I would say all the same things to the husband as well. A husband can just as easily become bossy or demanding if he is too quick to remind, correct, and advise his wife.)
Let me also add that timing, and tone matter.
Think about where your spouse is at. Is it the end of long trying day and one more thing might just seem too much to bare? Are they in a hurry to get out the door in the morning? Are they physically or emotionally drained? Are they trying to prepare dinner or pay bills? All those times may not be the best for adding your two cents about an issue. Wait for the Lord’s prompting, pray for a time of peace and quiet where the two of you can talk without distraction. On the other hand, let me just give a warning to some of you who might tend to avoid any kind of confrontation…don’t delay a serious conversation with your spouse just because you don’t want to “deal” with something. Timing can go the other direction, don’t put off a conversation with your spouse, don’t let too much time go by. You owe it to them and to the health of your marriage to deal with the tough issues no matter how much you dislike confrontation.
It is all in how you say it. Choose your words wisely, and say them with love. “Speak the truth in love…” (Eph 4:15). At the foundation of the whole conversation should be your love for your spouse and a desire for what is best for them. You communicate this by the way in which you talk to them. Your tone must be sweet, humble, gentle, and self-controlled. Remember the tongue is compared to a spark that can set a whole forest on fire (James 3:5). Guard your tongue! Be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:10).
A reminder, a correction, or a piece of advice that is given at the right time, in humility and love can be accepted in humility and love by your spouse. Work hard at this! Don’t give up! Keep the communication pathways open, and always, always pray!
Any other thoughts on this topic? Feel free to jump in!