“Why don’t you ever pick up your clothes? Could you please just listen to me once?”

How did you react to reading the statements above? Does it sound like nagging? Nagging is a relationship problem that could lead to more serious problems if it is not addressed. Nagging might be funny in sit coms, but not in real life because it is a negative communication pattern.  And it doesn’t work to make things better.

When talking about nagging, perspective is important. If something isn’t getting done exactly the way, or when, you want it, don’t focus on disappointment. Instead, think about why you appreciate your partner. This shift from disappointment to gratitude will stop the nagging pattern. Doing this will focus your brain on the positive and away from the negative.

Next, consider Scripture: In Matthew, we are told that we will be accountable for every careless word. Words are important. Avoid words that make a person feel belittled, incompetent, or not good enough. Negative words wear on a relationship. Be responsible for your words and don’t just let them fly out of your mouth in frustration. We are instructed to control our tongue due to the power of words.

To bring home the negativity of nagging, remember the familiar Bible story about Samson and Delilah. In Judges 16:16, we are told, “With such nagging, she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.” This Scripture is in reference to Delilah’s persistent nagging to find out the source of Samson’s strength. She pushed and pushed until he was willing to give up his secret. The badgering was intense. And we know the story didn’t end well! Thus, nagging may get a response, but at a cost. In Samson’s case it was his strength. In our relationships, we erode the intimacy bond through nagging.

The best spiritual help for nagging is to deal with your disappointment and practice forgiveness. When you are ignored or things are not getting done, talk about what happened and how you felt. Try to work out a plan or strategy for the future. Then let it go. Forgiveness keeps the heart soft and open to reconciliation. A relationship built on honesty, feedback, trust, love and yes, forgiveness, is one that will last. Consequently, replace the nagging with better communication and problem-solving. Most of all, be careful with your words.

Stop the nagging