Every spouse probably nags at least a little sometimes, but I had an experience this morning that changed my nagging game.
Our morning routine has changed drastically over the last year, and I now get up at stupid o’clock in the morning to spend time with my lovely husband–a fantastic marital decision on his part, I just wouldn’t mind if it was at a later, more reasonable, later, more amiable, LATER time of day.
There were days when we would both get up at whatever time suited us; obviously I came in second place in that division. So my husband would always make coffee first.
Now, I love my husband (and this is printed with his permission), and he is a lovely and perfect Georgia Peach with the looks of Brad Pitt. He’s my Peach Pitt.
After he left and I got up, I would go to make my coffee, and there in the Keurig mesh thingy you put your own grounds in without having to use a filter, were all the grounds from Peach Pitt’s cup of coffee. This annoyed the daylights out of me. I was so lazy I would sometimes just have tea instead.
But those other days I couldn’t just make coffee, I had to clean out HIS grounds out of that mesh nonsense. Those disgusting, cold coffee grounds were ruining my lovely French manicure I would have gotten if I were rich and had time and a babysitter.
So, obviously, I was miffed.
I wanted to say something, but, as a recovering nag-aholic, I decided against it. I allowed myself to be convicted by all the people around me who are better than me to bless those who persecute you. That may be written down somewhere.
Leftover coffee grounds may not seem like “persecution,” but for moms with littles who need their dose of caffeine, it certainly seems like it!
So instead, in the evening (since I go to bed after him), I emptied the mesh nonsense to make sure it was ready for him first thing in the morning. Sometimes the grounds were mine. Sometimes they weren’t.
I didn’t even know if he noticed, and I never said anything about it. It just became a part of my evening routine when I was closing up for the night.
Fast forward to today- my Peach Pitt helped me get out of bed at stupid o’clock. I mean he really helps me. It’s kind of pathetic and cute. He takes the covers off me gently. He puts my legs over the side of the bed. He takes my hands and pulls me up to sitting. He takes my arms and helps me to standing, and I fall forward into him. He hugs me for a minute (have I mentioned that I’m USELESS first thing in the morning?). Then he tells me he’s going to make me some coffee and gently pushes me in the direction of the bathroom.
He makes me coffee because he’s wonderful, and because our marriage is really important to him, and he wants me to get up and knows I can’t (or won’t) without him. But when I went to make myself my second cup of coffee, there, next to the sink, was a cleaned and ready-to-go mesh nonsense.
And those little things remind me why I married him, my handsome Peach Pitt. And they reinforce my determination not to nag.
See, nagging isn’t my true downfall. Criticism is.
All nagging is just poorly veiled criticism.
All nagging is just poorly veiled criticism.
You’re not helping your spouse in doing something right, you’re reminding him that he’s doing it wrong.
You’re not helping her learn better for next time, you’re reminding her she’s done it wrong in the past.
Nagging reinforces to your spouse that you don’t trust them, which is particularly condescending when it’s over little day-to-day things.
Sometimes, with a little love and patience those things will simply resolve themselves. Perhaps by your spouse learning in their own time and their own way to do it (nagging will not speed this process). Perhaps by you learning to deal with it and learning to love your spouse through it. Perhaps through you two learning to work together better as a team and resolving the issue when you address it head-on.
Let’s get real, though, it’s not all sunshine and espressos. We used to have chores divided differently, and Peach Pitt was in charge of laundry. But when all your clothes go into one single load with no separation required, it’s hard to remember and a hard habit to break that your wife has warm wash, cold wash, hand wash, delicates, lights, darks, and the microfiber that has to be washed all by itself!! I nagged for a while, telling myself I was trying to teach him for next time. Actually, I just undermined my marriage with my constant criticism of my husband, and my laundry was done incorrectly anyway. Imagine if I had just taken over the laundry that needed special attention to begin with?
Maybe I coulda saved us a fight or two.
Especially now that we’re in the holiday season, things are more stressful, and we really prefer things to go our OWN way, it’s good to remember the big picture:
- Nagging doesn’t help to teach.
- It doesn’t help to edify.
- It doesn’t build up, instruct, or improve anything.
- Nagging is useless and tears down marriage.
- It’s not our job to fix our spouses anyway; we’re to support each other.
And most of the time, we should probably just consider cleaning our own mesh nonsense.
It’s always good to be teaching ways to be kinder. Here’s a post about a particularly rough Kindness Lesson we had with my child!