The last couple of weeks I’ve been reflecting a lot on Proverbs 19:13 which says, “A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.” Before getting married my husband and I used to joke about these “bad wife” proverbs and how I hoped to avoid becoming a “constant dripping.” (I also hope I never make him want to “hide in the corner of the attic,” Prov. 21:9)
Well now that I’m married, I’m not really laughing anymore. I think I may have become one.
No woman ever gets married with the intention of becoming a nag. In fact that’s really the last thing a woman wants to be. But it somehow manages to creep in ever so subtly! Like a slowly dripping faucet, you don’t even notice it at first. That is, until you get your water bill. That’s when you realize that that tiny little drip that didn’t seem like much has actually cost you quite a bit. And while a constant dripping costs you money, constant nagging can cost you a healthy marriage.
In just 5 and a half short months of marriage I’ve seen this happen to us. What began as the occasional “question of concern” gradually morphed into full blown nagging. And I didn’t realize it until one day when I noticed the look on my husband’s face. I’d ask him an “innocent” question about why he chose to drive a certain route or why he left a light on in the apartment, and he’d get this prisoner of war look on his face, like a hostage in an unfriendly territory from which he can’t escape. That’s when I knew.
But how did I get to this point? How did I turn into a nag?
Well in order to answer this question I decided to do a little bit of research into Proverbs 19:13. More specifically, I wanted to find out what causes a faucet to drip. Some of you handier people out there probably know the answer to that question but I had no idea. It made no sense to me why a perfectly good faucet would suddenly begin to drip.
So if you’re like me and you don’t know anything about the principles of faucets, let me fill you in. Consider this “Leaky Faucets for Dummies.”
To begin, faucets are built upon the physics of water pressure. Water pressure is what causes the water to flow through your pipes and out of your faucet. That said, when you turn your faucet off, you aren’t turning off the water pressure but simply blocking it. By moving the faucet into the off position, you seal off the water flow with a washer.
Now the reason that faucets sometimes drip is that the washer can get damaged or worn down by all the pressure of the water flowing past it. If the washer sustains some wear and tear, it can’t make a perfect seal. As a result, water is able to seep through, thereby causing a leaky faucet. The only way to fix it is to replace the washer with one that will properly seal the pipe.
So what does this have to do with nagging? Well as I reflected on my own life and my personal patterns of nagging, I noticed a common denominator–my time with the Lord. If I am slacking on my time with God, not making time for the Word or for prayer, not beginning each day centered on Him, that’s when the nagging flares up. There is a direct correlation between my spiritual health and the degree to which I am bugging my husband. Like the faucet washer that allows water to drip through when it gets worn down, I essentially do the same. If I’m not taking care of myself and I get worn down, then the nagging increases. Like a constant drip.
This is a perfect example of the reality that the way you treat your husband, and other people, is usually a reflection of your relationship with God. Those who rest in Him have no reason to nag or control others because God is their peace and He is in control. While a seemingly innocent question about why he’s wearing that outfit or why he left the toilet seat up might seem small at the time, the constant nagging can really add up to a difficult married life.