Nagging Emasculation

There are few things more emasculating than an incessantly nagging wife. It sends him the message (over and over and over and over…) that he is not good enough, he’s a failure, he’s an idiot, and he’s completely incapable of being the husband she wants. Living under these circumstances for any length of time a man starts to give up; he can’t do anything right anyways.

I don’t bring it up to say I have conquered this problem. Part of me wonders if nagging is a gene inherent to wives, but I know the truth. Nagging is inherent to my fleshly nature and desire to have my own way when I want it, how I want it, and any cost to my husband’s self-esteem.

“A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day.” (Prov. 27:15) In other words, a nagging wife is tantamount to ancient Chinese versions of water torture. Ouch. The last thing I want is to torture my hard-working husband with my words. Shaunti Feldhahn notes this principle in her book For Women Only, as she interviews thousands of men to find out what they really think about these issues.

“Instead of affirming, a wife reinforces her husband’s feelings of inadequacy, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, if we focus our attention on what he is doing wrong in the relationship, we can unwittingly undermine what we most want–for him to do what is right–I discovered a dismaying fact. Of the men I surveyed, only one man in four felt actively appreciated by his family.  And 44 percent of men felt unappreciated at home. More pointedly, men in their prime years of responsibility for home, children, and work–men between the ages of thirty-six and fifty-five–felt even less appreciated. ” (p. 68)

Ladies, what’s going on!? Surely we can do better than that! Biblical standards don’t change based on our circumstances (working or staying-at-home). A glance at Proverbs 31 easily testifies to this. The virtuous woman not only works, but “watches over the affairs of her household” (vs. 27) receiving the praise of her husband and children. I didn’t see anything in that chapter about nagging her husband to take out the trash, pick up his clothes, fix the garage door, or close the toilet seat.

After nearly nine years I have finally given up the battle to change my husband. Instead, I am replacing the nagging tendencies with those of praise and support. God is allowing me to recognize my husband’s deep seated insecurities and giving me opportunities to combat them with supportive attitudes and actions.

I can take out the trash myself, or tear down my husband the second he steps in the doorway because he didn’t do it.

I can keep the house clean so when he comes home he’s not tripping over toys, or I can allow my daughter to do whatever she wants while I’m busy plucking away on my computer, telling my husband I’m too busy to care what he thinks of the house.

I can scoop the dog poop myself, or I can spend an hour complaining to my husband about how disgusting the yard is, scheduling work for him to do on his next day off.

I can pick up his dirty socks from every place but the hamper, or I can send him an angry text message explaining how once again, I cleaned up after him and he needs to grow up.

Simply put, I can keep my mouth shut. Turn off the faucet. Stop the incessant dripping.

I can ask God to replace the nagging words with those of praise and affirmation. I can spend all day cleaning up my husband’s messes, and still choose to tell him how much I appreciate his hard work, refusing to bring attention to his short-comings.

“Men need a place where they can make their mistakes in peace.” For Women Only (p. 71)

I want to treat my husband how I’d like him to treat me. I want to show him–with my actions more than my words–the love of Jesus. I want to actively refuse to point out his faults and choose to let God expose my own. I can forgive his down-falls like Jesus has forgven mine. I can show mercy like I’m given mercy by my righteous Savior. By God’s grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit alone, I can turn emasculation into affirmation by simply seeking God’s desire for me as a wife.

“Your beauty…should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”(1 Pet. 3:4)

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is a redeemed prodigal, set free from over a decade of mental illness, eating disorders, addiction, and more. She now enjoys sharing her story of freedom and transformation with a lost and hurting world, as well as teaching about spiritual warfare and the importance of understanding our identity in Christ.

Rebecca is also an author and freelance writer, having written devotionals and teaching articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and daughter, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by following her on twitter and facebook.

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Who Are YOU?

Who are you?

Are you a parent? Are you spouse? Are you a musician?  Are you a lawyer? Are you a teacher? Are you a business man (or woman)?

Are you in recovery? Do you suffer with a chronic illness? Have you been abused? Are you a victim? Are you a survivor?

Who are you? How would you answer that question?

Most of us have identified ourselves through our circumstances, but there is a better way to live.

6 months ago if you had asked me that question I may have answered, “I am a recovering addict” or “I’ve survived a terrible illness” or even “I am a pianist”. Today, though, I would not answer that way.

Today I am a child of God, I am free, I am washed, I am clean, I am sanctified, I am pure, and I am righteous in His eyes. In other words, I am united with Christ, I am complete in Him, and He is my identity. I am a not a survivor; I am a Jesus follower who was brought through a painful illness. I am not a recovering addict; I am a redeemed sinner delivered from the bondage of chemicals. I am not a musician; I am a friend of God who enjoys worship through the expression of music.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in what we experience and use that as our identity. We put labels on ourselves and spew them out naturally in our conversations. We’ve been tricked into thinking what we do is who we are. We are not what we do, we are not what we’ve done, we are not our hobbies, we are not our passions, we are not our illnesses, we are not our failures; that is not who we are if we have placed our trust in Jesus.

We are disciples of Jesus who are in a process. We are saved by grace and being sanctified daily. We are loved, cherished, bought for, sought after, ravished with blessings, and free from condemnation. That friends, is who we are. We experience any number of difficult things in our lifetime, but we were never meant to use those experiences as our identity.

Am I a mom? Yes. I am a mother and a wife, but that is not my identity. My identity is solely enveloped in the person of Jesus and I am merely a vessel available for his use in various aspects of living. No doubt, he gives me numerous opportunities to rely on Him.

 “I was [those things] but now I am washed, I am sanctified, I am justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of my God.” (1 Cor. 6:11)

Personalizing Scripture is an excellent way to retrain your mind in understanding your identity. Turning “you” into “I” and “me” helps the brain make a connection from God’s word into daily living. Eventually it will be natural to claim your identity for what it really is. You’ll be less tempted to sulk in self-pity as a victim of your circumstances, but will be able to boldly proclaim the truth.

So, once again I ask, who are you?