Do I need a better reason that that? If it's better for my husband to live on our roof than with me when I'm nagging, there's no doubt in my mind nagging is bad. We live in Scotland people - it's cold. I took this on as a personal conviction early in our marriage, and really make an effort to follow it. My husband is a busy man - he works very hard at his job, has plenty responsibilities at church and of course has a pregnant wife and toddler to look after. So understandably, things fall through the cracks. Below are my tips for encouraging your husband when these things happen.
#1. Does he need to do it?
If I was reading this blog, this is the tip I would resent most of all. Fellow mamas, we work hard. We go from sun-up to sun-down and beyond - we clean, we cook, we nurture, we train. Here's something I often forget though - so does my husband. And even more than that, he gets home from work and gets handed a tantrum-throwing toddler because I just need 30 minutes to myself. When does he get his 30 minutes?
Now there are some jobs in my house that are without a doubt my Mr K's (number one job would be taking out the rubbish). I need him to do those things, but what about the other little things? What about one-off things that really, I can do myself? These are especially true when they're things I'm better at. I'd like him to arrange a date and all that goes along with it, but I know I'm better at coordinating schedules, communicating with babysitters and arranging the details, so I should do it. What goes along with this is letting little things go. I've asked him to put dirty laundry in the right basket, and he does almost every time. So why would it help that one-off time for me to nag him about it? It wouldn't, and it would belittle the efforts he had been making up until that point. Let it go and do it for him.
#2. Find HIS way to remind him
When things are forgotten about in house, I know it's exactly that - they're simply forgotten about. It's not a ploy to get out of things and have a lazy night, it's too much to remember. Now I remember things by writing them down - my wonderful whiteboard runs my schedule, along with my diary. I've tried to use these methods to encourage my husband to remember, but that's just not his way. However I've learned that if I send him an email at work, he'll put it right into his work diary and will be reminded of it later. It's not my place to tell him how he should remember things, but to help him in the way that actually aids him the most.
#3. Gentle encouragement
I try to always ask Mr K to do things in a nice way. How much nicer is it to hear "Honey would you mind taking the bins out tonight?" than "as I've already told you, take the bins out". If I need to ask him a second time to do something, I'll always start with "just a gentle reminder...". And it should be noted that when I forget to do things (a frequent occurrence), he reminds me gently as well - in fact it's from him that I learned this.
#4. Tell him what you need
I have a habit of getting more and more upset about something (that Mr K inevitably doesn't even know I'm upset about), until I boil over and yell. Although I feel better that I've gotten my frustration out, when I've calmed down I feel worse and I know he does too. It really is true that husbands are not mind-readers. They don't notice things in the same obsessive way we do (or at least I know I do). So, come up with a plan WITH him. Sit down, tell him the areas you're struggling with. A recent example was the desperate need for sleep when I became pregnant with frog #2. Instead of nagging at him about how tired I was and (quietly) resenting how much sleep he was getting, I told him I needed more help (which he gave without complaint). It saved us a lot of potential issues.
Our husbands are not our children, and we are not in charge of them. Yes they should do the things they say they'll do, but we are not their parents whose job it is to punish and reward. We are their wives, whose job it is to encourage. We are called to "do him good, and not harm, all the days of (our) life" (Proverbs 31). We are called to submit to and respect our husbands (Colossians 3:18, Ephesians 5:33). I want my husband to have full confidence in me, I want him to call me blessed; and praise me (Proverbs 31). And one way I have chosen to do those things is by not nagging him.