Are You a Dripping Faucet? 5 Ways to Turn Nagging into Encouragement

Marci Turner is a bright and capable woman. She has her BBA from the University of Texas and an MBA and MA from Southern Methodist University. She has worked as the CFO for a real estate management firm with over 350 employees across ten states. She has lived as an American expat in the Arabian Gulf. And she has owned a working cattle ranch.

She has also been, according to her own testimony, a nagging wife.

When my husband failed to lead our family in the early years of our marriage, I nagged him to death, thinking that would change his heart. I forgot that only Jesus could.

My constant reproach further damaged our relationship. Of course, I never took the Bible's admonition to correct my own behavior; my husband was the one sinning, and I needed to tell him about it.

I was young and quite full of myself, and my quarreling served as a way to be heard. Not that my husband never asked my opinion, but I was terrified of the possibility that he wouldn't. So I was quick to dish out my thoughts and drown him in my opinions.

Marci was familiar with Proverbs 27:15–16 that describes a quarrelsome wife like a constant, irritating, dripping noise.

Many dislike Solomon's comparison of women to dripping water. Some think it too demeaning, too sexist. In fact, one translation even changes the wording for "wife" to "spouse" to soften the blow. The wording once offended me, and here's why: when you're unrepentant, the truth stings.

Marci says that as she has grown in her knowledge and understanding of Jesus, and as she is being transformed by the liberating truth of the gospel in her life, the Holy Spirit is at work in her, changing her.


So, Marci has worked to cultivate these five habits as she seeks to do battle with her own fleshly tendencies to nag.

1. Watch what you say and how you say it. "In sin, I say words I shouldn't. I choose harsh words, destructive words. I speak before I think, and my mouth reveals my heart.

"If you struggle with word choice or tone when speaking to your husband, ask Jesus to sanctify your mouth and take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5). If your mindset leans toward critique, think on the good things about your husband and your life in Christ" (Phil. 4:8).

2. Remember "Two Stars and a Wish." "One of my daughter's teachers coached her kids during a writers' workshop to give "two stars and a wish" in response to another's work—two things they liked and one suggestion for improvement. When my husband asks me to evaluate his decisions or even edit his writing, I give two stars for every wish.

"We know our husbands in ways no other person ever will, and we have great influence over them. My husband and I each want to make the other better."

3. Ask a question. "When I need to remind him of an appointment or commitment, I ask my husband a question. ‘Will you be able to pick up the kids from soccer tonight?' comes across better than ‘Don't forget to . . .'"

4. Say it with a smile. "My dear friend often offers opinions contrary to her husband's with a smile and a chipper tone. I've realized that even if I have to force a smile and upbeat attitude, it helps. And my husband sees right through it, because he knows that's not my way. ‘You're sounding like her,' he'll laughingly say. And he appreciates my awkward effort."

5. Bide your time. "There's a time to offer advice and a time to wait. In the early years of our marriage, I didn't know this, and I would say the right things at the wrong time—with either no effect or disastrous effect. How do you know when is the right time? What is work like for him right now? What pressures does he face? Look in his eyes and read his mental and emotional state. You will know if it's not the right time.

"This much I know is true: the right time to offer advice or critique is never during the heat of the battle. Your role at that moment is to stand by him in unity. Your husband needs to know that in the thick of the fight you are fighting with him, not against him. The time for analysis and constructive comments will come days, weeks, or months later when the crisis is behind him."

Proverbs 14:1 says, "A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."

Whether you are a husband or a wife, or a single person engaged in relationships with others, your tongue gives you a look at what is in your heart. The Bible says, "Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Do you need to ask Jesus to help you guard your tongue—and to help you purify your heart—today?


Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Bob Lepine

Bob Lepine

Bob Lepine has been married to Mary Ann since 1979. Together, they have five children. Bob is the Vice President of Content, Chief Creative Officer, and co-host of FamilyLife Today. He's the author of numerous articles and books, serves on the Advisory Board for Revive Our Hearts, and emcees the True Woman Conferences.

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